After Broadcast News: Media Regimes, Democracy, and the New Information Environment

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Overview

The new media environment has challenged the role of professional journalists as the primary source of politically relevant information. After Broadcast News puts this challenge into historical context, arguing that it is the latest of several critical moments, driven by economic, political, cultural, and technological changes, in which the relationship among citizens, political elites, and the media has been contested. Out of these past moments, distinct “media regimes” eventually emerged, each with its own seemingly natural rules and norms, and each the result of political struggle with clear winners and losers. The media regime in place for the latter half of the twentieth century has been dismantled, but a new regime has yet to emerge. Assuring this regime is a democratic one requires serious consideration of what was most beneficial and most problematic about past regimes and what is potentially most beneficial and most problematic about today's new information environment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"After Broadcast News does more than any book I know to explain why the old distinctions between news, opinion, and entertainment are breaking down and why these changes are not a catastrophe! Williams and Delli Carpini provide a powerful, critical revisionist history of journalism's so-called golden era, trimming it down to size as simply the latest - and not necessarily the greatest - 'media regime' since the dawn of American democracy. As economic, cultural, and technological forces create the conditions for a new order, the authors present ample evidence of talk show hosts, filmmakers and actors, comedians, musicians, bloggers, and engaged citizens making creative use of media for democratically-useful ends. Journalism will continue to have an important role to play. At the end of the day, though, what's really important is not who produces politically-relevant discourse, but simply that it is created and disseminated as widely as possible. This book will change the way you see the world. It's a compelling call to arms to stop fighting the last era's media battles in order to better direct the changes to come."
- Rodney Benson, New York University

"An insightful, well written and thoroughly researched analysis of what the rise of entertainment, the internet and digital media mean for the quality of journalism and democracy. While being firmly anchored to the US experience, it is highly relevant for Europe, Asia and elsewhere since we are all engulfed in a similar process of change."
- James Curran, Goldsmiths, University of London

"Political communication took place for most of the late twentieth century in a media environment dominated by professional journalistic gatekeepers, dedicated to norms of social responsibility, largely insulated from commercial pressures, and at the same time closely tied to established politcal elites. Over the past couple of decades, this 'media regime,' as Williams and Delli Carpini put it, has broken down, and a multitude of hybrid genres and competing gatekeepers with divergent motivations and ideologies have replaced the bounded, unified system of the previous era. We are still sorting out how to understand political communication in this new era, and Williams and Delli Carpini make a sophisticated, lively contribution to accomplishing this. It makes a big difference that they bring to this task a good sense of history, and put the most recent transformation of American political communication in the context of along and complex history of contention over the rules of the game for determining who gets to speak about politics and how."
- Daniel Hallin, University of California, San Diego

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521279833
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2011
  • Series: Communication, Society and Politics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 1,090,267
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce A. Williams teaches in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota and has taught at the Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois and the London School of Economics. He has published four books and more than forty scholarly journal articles and book chapters. His book Democracy, Dialogue, and Environmental Disputes: The Contested Languages of Social Regulation (with Albert Matheny) won the Caldwell Prize as best book for 1996 from the Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics section of the American Political Science Association. His textbook, The Play of Power: An Introduction to American Politics (with James Eisenstein, Mark Kessler and Jacqueline Switzer), was selected by the Women's Caucus of the American Political Science Association in 1997 as the political science text that best deals with women's issues and diversity. His most recent book is The New Media Environment: An Introduction (with Andrea L. Press). Also with Andrea Press, he is the editor of The Communication Review. Over the last five years, he has been active in a number of initiatives in the area of media policy and ethics.

Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania (1975) and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1980). Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in July 2003, Professor Delli Carpini was Director of the Public Policy program of the Pew Charitable Trusts (1999–2003) and a member of the Political Science Department at Barnard College and the graduate faculty of Columbia University (1987–2002), serving as chair of the Barnard department from 1995 to 1999. Delli Carpini began his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Rutgers University (1980–1987). His research explores the role of the citizen in American politics, with particular emphasis on the impact of the mass media on public opinion, political knowledge and political participation. He is author of Stability and Change in American Politics: The Coming of Age of the Generation of the 1960s; What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters (winner of the 2008 American Association of Public Opinion Researchers Book Award); A New Engagement? Political Participation, Civic Life and the Changing American Citizen; and Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America. He has also authored or edited numerous articles, essays and edited volumes on political communications, public opinion and political socialization. Professor Delli Carpini was awarded the 2008 Murray Edelman Distinguished Career Award from the Political Communication Division of the American Political Science Association.

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Table of Contents

1. Is there a difference between Tina Fey and Katie Couric?: policing the boundaries between news and entertainment; 2. Media regimes and American democracy; 3. And that's the way it (was): the rise and fall of the age of broadcast news; 4. Political reality, political power and political relevance in the changing media environment; 5. Politics in the emerging new media age: hyperreality, multiaxiality, and 'the Clinton scandals'; 6. When the media really matter: coverage of the environment in a changing media environment; 7. 9/11 and its aftermath: constructing a political spectacle in the new media environment; 8. Shaping a new media regime.

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