The Troubles of Journalism: A Critical Look at What's Right and Wrong with the Press

Synopsis

USE FIRST AND LAST PARAGRAPHS ONLY FOR GENERAL CATALOGS... This book takes a critical look at both the strengths and weaknesses of American journalism at a time of societal flux and change. The U. S. news media -- arguably the best in the world -- find themselves in a strange dilemma. At a time of great technological innovation, the print and broadcast media do a better job of gathering and reporting -- with greater expertise -- larger amounts of compelling news on many more topics and interests than ever before. Vast amounts of serious news or "public knowledge" are available for those who seek it.

On the other hand, journalism has been severely and widely criticized. It's been charged that too much news has been trivialized and corrupted by the intermixing of news with entertainment, scandal, and sensation; political journalism has been debased by cynicism and "gotcha" reporting methods; the public perceives journalists as arrogant, biased, overpaid, and in some cases, self-seeking television celebrities, no longer concerned about providing the public with disinterested information. The fire wall between serious news and "tabloid trash" has been severely breached. Increasingly, news seems less important -- the public, especially young people, read fewer newspapers and watch less news on television. Newspaper circulations drop and TV news ratings decline.

In the continuing consolidation of news media into giant popular-culture conglomerates, journalism seems overwhelmed by the entertainment orientation and profit concerns of their corporate owners. Diversity of viewpoints as well as a reluctance to aggressively support press freedom both seem to be on the wane. Many working journalists themselves share these concerns and are outspokenly critical of their craft and its owners.
The author draws on his experience as a former newspaperman and journalism educator to provide an incisive and yet balanced analysis of the perceived "crisis" of journalism today. By looking at U. S. journalism in its international, historical, legal, and economic contexts, the reader gains some understanding of why journalism today is the way it is. Unlike much press criticism, this book strives to show both the strengths and weaknesses in contemporary journalism.

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Pliny The Elder
  • Peter H. Lewis
  • Alexis De Tocqueville
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Mahwah, NJ
Publication year:
  • 1998

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