Conglomerates and the Media

Conglomerates and the Media

by Erik Barnouw, Thomas Schatz, David Lieberman, Patricia Aufderheide
     
 

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What are the effects of increasing conglomerate ownership on the creation and dissemination of news and culture? Available for the first time in paperback, these nine essays by leading media insiders and critics take probing, critical looks at the dramatic changes of recent years.

Opening with a fascinating overview of radio and television history by Erik Barnouw,

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Overview

What are the effects of increasing conglomerate ownership on the creation and dissemination of news and culture? Available for the first time in paperback, these nine essays by leading media insiders and critics take probing, critical looks at the dramatic changes of recent years.

Opening with a fascinating overview of radio and television history by Erik Barnouw, the "dean of American media critics", the first part of the book features longtime media insiders such as Richard M. Cohen (former CBS Evening News senior producer) and Gene Roberts (managing editor of the New York Times), writing candidly on the effects of increasing profit expectations in the newsroom.

In the second part of the book, prominent media analysts, such as Mark Crispin Miller (author of Boxed In), Thomas Schatz (author of The Genius of the System), David Lieberman (USA Today), and Patricia Aufderheide (In These Times), discuss the dumbing-down of the publishing industry, the transformation of Hollywood the increasing importance of merchandising and foreign rights in all media, and the false promise of the digital age. Finally, Thomas Frank (The Baffler) examines advertising and the possibility of resistance to conglomerate control of the media.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Media properties are big business, no matter their form. So a movie studio making a blockbuster film about dinosaurs would be well-advised to buy up a publishing house to spew out books based on the movie's saurian antics, or a magazine to print fawning profiles on the actors involved. Whether any of this -- the movie, the book or the magazine -- is any good is not important. Profits are. As companies like Time Warner, The News Corporation. and Gannett cut swaths through their particular industries, money piles high, but quality remains low, if it exists at all.

Mark Crispin Miller delivers a horrifying invective against a publishing industry currently devoted to self-help kitsch and celebrity dreck (his word). The New York Times's Gene Roberts excoriates the newspaper world.

But what this collection of essays lacks is the point of view of the businessman. Yes, the cultural landscape has been dumbed down considerably, thanks to the rise of conglomerates. That thought is scary enough, but the pressure to make money is so intense that few are willing to risk their necks for quality -- not the moviemakers, not the editors and, regretfully, not many of the writers at small-town newspapers. This book is frightening, though the inclusion of points of view from the moguls themselves and the so-called 'little people' they rule at the bottom would have made it even more so.

Booknews
A witty overview of radio and television history is followed with essays by longtime media insiders -- such as Richard M. Cohen (former 'CBS Evening News' senior producer) and Gene Roberts (managing editor of the New York Times -- on the decline of journalistic integrity and the effects of increasing profit expectations in the newsroom. In Part Two, media analysts discuss the dumbing-down of the publishing industry, the transformation of Hollywood, the increasing importance of merchandising and foreign rights of all media, the false promise of the digital age, and advertising and the possibility of resistance to conglomerate control of the media.
From the Publisher

"Miller's essay on the degeneration of the publishing industry is a model of modulated analysis and curl-your-hair passion." —The Boston Globe

"Provocative critiques, gracefully expressed." —Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565843868
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
10/01/1997
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 8.47(h) x 0.71(d)

What People are saying about this

Thomas Schatz
In a global media culture unified by rituals of entertainment and patterns of consumption, those who cannot afford to consume are likely to be factored out of the cultural and political equation. And those social and political issues which cannot be rendered in sufficiently 'entertaining' terms are likely to be either ignored or relegateed tot he far reaches of the 500-channel universe. -- Author of The Return of the Hollywood Studio System
Richard M. Cohen
Broadcasting has lived through almost two decades of diminished seriousness and clout, as news managers dabble in entertainment values and the irrelevant, instead of solid news values and what is important, to sell their product. And it is only getting worse. -- Author of The Corporate Takeover of News

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