Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy

Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy

by Alex S. Jones
     
 

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In Losing the News, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones offers a probing look at the epochal changes sweeping the media, changes which are eroding the core news that has been the essential food supply of our democracy.

Overview

In Losing the News, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones offers a probing look at the epochal changes sweeping the media, changes which are eroding the core news that has been the essential food supply of our democracy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thoughtful."—New York Times Book Review

"An impassioned call to action to preserve the best of traditional newspaper journalism."—The San Francisco Chronicle

"Penetrating analysis of an industry in turmoil."—The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"In a style both compellingly personal and fully professional, Jones provides a concise social history of news, ethics and First Amendment issues. He then grapples with some fundamental questions. Is news, as presented by professional journalists, as essential to democracy as we tell ourselves? Can it survive on its own in a marketplace where the advertising subsidy is waning and the accompanying entertainment segments are being unbundled and peddled separately?" —American Journalism Review

"Alex Jones's Losing the News is an important book. It is insightful and highly readable, at a level only a great journalist and master storyteller such as Jones could achieve with this subject. This isn't a book for or about just journalists and their profession. It's must reading for all Americans who care about our country's present and future. Analysis, commentary, scholarship and excellent writing, with a strong, easy-to-follow narrative about why you should care, makes this a candidate for one of the best books of the year."—Dan Rather

"No one knows more about journalism than Alex Jones. No one watches it more scrupulously. No one cares more deeply for its future. Losing the News also proves that no one writes of the subject more persuasively or more beautifully. Journalism could have no surer champion."—Roger Rosenblatt

"Drawing on his unique experiences as a prize-winning reporter, director of the major center on politics and the press, and fourth generation of a newspaper-owning family, Alex Jones provides an authoritative account of why journalism is vital, how it has lost its bearings, and which can be done to reinvigorate this essential foundation of a democratic society."—Howard Gardner, Harvard University

"Losing the News reviews the role of news media in a democracy to set the stage for chapters assessing particular aspects. These include discussion of the fragile First Amendment, objectivity's last stand, media ethics, the curious story of news, the crumbling role of traditional newspapers, the newer media, and what can - and should - happen." —Communication Booknotes Quarterly

Harold Evans
Amid the hubbub about how we will get the news if newspapers keep drowning in the wrong color of ink, Alex offers a passionate but lucid analysis of where we are and where we might be going.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer Prize journalist Jones (coauthor of The Patriarch) argues that the demise of the newspaper industry is corroding the "iron core of information that is at the center of a functioning democracy." Increasingly, he contends, what is passed off as news is actually entertainment; puff pieces have replaced the investigative reporting that allows citizens to make informed decisions. "We seem poised to be a nation overfed but undernourished, a culture of people waddling around, swollen with media exposure, and headed toward an epidemic of social diabetes," he writes. Sifting through a history of the media that touches on such technological improvements as the Gutenberg press and the telegraph, Jones focuses on the Internet and the damage he believes it has wrought on print newspapers. Weaving in the story of his own family's small newspaper in Tennessee, Jones presents an insider's look at an industry in turmoil, calling plaintively for a serious examination of what a nation loses when its newspapers fold. Unfortunately, he offers few answers for saving print journalism, but his compelling narrative will incite some readers to drum up solutions of their own. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
With newspapers and other print news media struggling with declining profits, shrinking advertising revenue, dropping circulation, and staff layoffs, the future of print journalism is uncertain. Jones (director, Shorenstein Ctr. on the Press, Harvard), who covered the press for the New York Times, examines what it would mean if news reporting disappeared. Jones argues that the news has an "iron core" central to a functioning democracy. Investigative reporting is a key component of this core, which includes coverage of international affairs, politics, public affairs and government policies at all levels, and business; the resulting news serves as the basis for a range of other journalistic activities, including opinion writing, blogging, and entertainment. Jones draws on his family's experience as owners of the Greeneville (TN) Sun to illustrate what he calls the public-service mission that distinguishes print journalism from other businesses. If this mission is replaced by profit, he sees little hope for or value in saving newspapers. VERDICT The changing media landscape is a hot topic, and this book adds to that conversation, although it does not offer concrete solutions. Worthwhile reading for anyone interested in the fate of print journalism.—Judy Solberg, Seattle Univ. Lib.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199754144
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/21/2011
Series:
Institutions of American Democracy Series
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
769,995
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Alex S. Jones is one of the nation's most frequently cited authorities on media issues. He covered the press for The New York Times from 1983 to 1992 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. For the past eight years he has been Director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and is the Laurence M. Lombard Lecturer in the Press and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is co-author with Susan E. Tifft of The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty and The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times , which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. He has been host of National Public Radio's On The Media, and host and executive editor of PBS's Media Matters .

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