Academic journal article Journalism History

Just the Facts: How Objectivity Came to Define American Jounalism

Academic journal article Journalism History

Just the Facts: How Objectivity Came to Define American Jounalism

Article excerpt

Mindich, David. Just the Facts: How Objectivity Came to Define American Journalism. New York: New York University Press, 1998. 208 pp. $24.95.

Just the Facts is an examination of objectivity throughout the history of journalism. Actually, it is more than that-the book attempts to define objectivity through historical illustration.

David Mindich selectively illustrates events as covered by newspapers to reach for an interpretative definition of objectivity. Although Mindich does not defend his selection or offer any formula for his selection of events, the list is intriguing, and virtually every summary is engaging.

Many of the events he summarizes and critiques are well-known historically, such as Jackson's election as president and the events surrounding the Civil War. Other events are lesser-known except to astute students of history, such as the cholera epidemics of New York and the Cilley-Graves duel. It is the treatment of these lesser-known historical incidents which is a real credit to this book. Mindich could have selected popular historical events, but he chose to view those which received extensive newspaper coverage for the time. …

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