Covering Congress / Edition 1

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Overview

Observers of media-government relations most often think first of conflicts with the executive branch, yet interactions between Congress and the media have been extensive and varied since the first Washington "correspondents" began sending dispatches from the sessions of Congress. In recent years the relationship between Congress and the news media has grown more complex. Coverage of Congress by the print and electronic media is extensive. At the same tune, Congress has increasing power to make communications policy that will have an important impact on the ability of the media to conduct their affairs, both economically and politically. Covering Congress explores those aspects of the relationship between the media and Congress that shape the news that reaches an information-seeking public.

The contributors consider Congress as the source of much news as well as a great deal of self-promotion. They note there is neither a broad nor deep understanding of our national legislature in the United States. Contributors try to remedy this shortcoming by looking at the overall picture, the media scene on Capitol Hill, the messages that reach beyond Washington, and the history of relations between the Congress and the press. They discuss such issues as: the relationship Newt Gingrich has forged between his office and the media, perhaps at his own peril; the importance of speed over substance when reporting from Capitol Hill; the unflattering image of Congress as depicted in political cartoons; and the unparalleled power wielded by Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn when he dealt with the national media.

Congress depends on the media to reach the public but also has considerable muscle to shape its media relations when it has strong leadership and a coherent plan. It usually lacks these, but Congress does much to try to project a friendly face to the public through the media, facilitating interviews hi Capitol Hill radio and television studios. Regardless of what happens in any particular election, it is clear that Congress is fully alert to the modern communications age and that the consequences of this encounter are likely to be accentuated in the years ahead. Covering Congress is a necessary addition to the libraries of communications scholars, media specialists, political scientists, historians, and sociologists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560009467
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Series: Media Studies
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 170
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.09 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Everette E. Dennis is Felix E. Larkin Distinguished Professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business, where he serves as chair of the Communication and Media Management Department and as director of the Center for Communications. Some of his books include Beyond the Cold War, Justice Black and the First Amendment, and Radio—The Forgotten Medium. Robert W. Snyder is managing editor of the Media Studies Journal, a historian, and co-author of Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York. He has taught at Princeton University and New York University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Congressional Index 3
1 Congress - Boom Box and Black Box 7
2 Evolution and Revolution 19
3 Getting Out the Message 27
4 Speed Over Substance 29
5 Getting on the Radar Screen 33
6 Toward Civic-minded Media 43
7 Making News, Making Law 45
8 Behind the Noise on the Floor 55
9 Big Picture and Local Angle 57
10 New Media, Old Messages 65
11 Getting the Whole Truth 75
12 Showtime for Democracy 81
13 Hollywood Goes to Congress 89
14 Coverage - The Void at Home 99
15 Kingmakers, Kingbreakers 105
16 Not a Pretty Picture 113
17 Unexpected Consequences - New Media and Congress 125
18 Race, Rules and Reporting 131
19 Rayburn, the Workhorse 139
20 Many Questions, Few Answers 149
For Further Reading 161
Index 163
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