Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy

Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy

Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy

Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy

Synopsis

In Losing the News, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones offers a probing look at the epochal changes sweeping the media, changes which are eroding the core news that has been the essential food supply of our democracy.
At a time of dazzling technological innovation, Jones says that what stands to be lost is the fact-based reporting that serves as a watchdog over government, holds the powerful accountable, and gives citizens what they need. In a tumultuous new media era, with cutthroat competition and panic over profits, the commitment of the traditional news media to serious news is fading. Indeed, as digital technology shatters the old economic model, the news media is making a painful passage that is taking a toll on journalistic values and standards. Journalistic objectivity and ethics are under assault, as is the bastion of the First Amendment. Jones characterizes himself not as a pessimist about news, but a realist. The breathtaking possibilities that the web offers are undeniable, but at what cost? Pundits and talk show hosts have persuaded Americans that the crisis in news is bias and partisanship. Not so, says Jones. The real crisis is the erosion of the iron core of news, something that hurts Republicans and Democrats alike.
Losing the Newsdepicts an unsettling situation in which the American birthright of fact-based, reported news is in danger. But it is also a call to arms to fight to keep the core of news intact.

Praise for the hardcover:

"Thoughtful."
--New York Times Book Review

"An impassioned call to action to preserve the best of traditional newspaper journalism."
--The San Francisco Chronicle

"Must reading for all Americans who care about our country's present and future. Analysis, commentary, scholarship and excellent writing, with a strong, easy-to-follow narrative about why you should care, makes this a candidate for one of the best books of the year."
--Dan Rather

Excerpt

My best moment as a journalist took place in January 1986, around 3 A.M. in a hotel room that reeked of cigarette smoke and was littered with half-eaten sandwiches and abandoned glasses of watery iced tea. I was in the Hyatt Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, and for five days had been working on a story about why the Binghams, the town’s most famous family, had abruptly decided to sell the newspapers that had made them Kentucky’s first citizens. Family strife had prompted the sudden announcement of the sale of the Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times, and I had immediately caught a plane to Louisville to cover the story for the New York Times. My beat was the press itself.

The collapse of the Bingham empire was big news because the Courier-Journal was regarded as perhaps the nation’s finest and most honored regional paper. It was also a catastrophe to the nation’s dwindling number of newspaper-owning families, who had looked at the Binghams as a model of success and determination to remain independent of chain ownership.

From my perspective, it was also a great story, and, after writing two fast articles, I’d fought with my editor in New York for the chance to stay in Louisville to report and write a longer, more penetrating account of what had happened to this family. My editor was reluctant because I had been at the Times for only two years. He had a far more seasoned person in mind for the job, but I fought for it and managed to persuade him to give me my . . .

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