Power Of News / Edition 1

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Overview

Some say it's simply information, mirroring the world. Others believe it's propaganda, promoting a partisan view. But news, Michael Schudson tells us, is really both and neither; it is a form of culture, complete with its own literary and social conventions and powerful in ways far more subtle and complex than its many critics might suspect. A penetrating look into this culture, The Power of News offers a compelling view of the news media's emergence as a central institution of modern society, a key repository of common knowledge and cultural authority.

One of our foremost writers on journalism and mass communication, Schudson shows us the news evolving in concert with American democracy and industry, subject to the social forces that shape the culture at large. He excavates the origins of contemporary journalistic practices, including the interview, the summary lead, the preoccupation with the presidency, and the ironic and detached stance of the reporter toward the political world. His book explodes certain myths perpetuated by both journalists and critics. The press, for instance, did not bring about the Spanish-American War or bring down Richard Nixon; TV did not decide the Kennedy-Nixon debates or turn the public against the Vietnam War.

Then what does the news do? True to their calling, the media mediate, as Schudson demonstrates. He analyzes how the news, by making knowledge public, actually changes the character of knowledge and allows people to act on that knowledge in new and significant ways. He brings to bear a wealth of historical scholarship and a keen sense for the apt questions about the production, meaning, and reception of news today.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement

Schudson is at his best when he is examining widely accepted truths, or myths as he calls them, as for instance that the press forced the resignation of Nixon, or that Reagan was a Great Communicator, or that it was television coverage of the Vietnam War that caused the American public to turn against it.
— Michael Davie

Political Science Quarterly<br>
[Schudson's book] presents a fine collection of his essays and research articles...He captures the cultural climate of past ages by describing colorful people and incidents, by citing the wisdom of well known historical figures, and by sensitive philosophizing about what it all means.
— Doris A. Graber
American Studies in Europe
This is a carefully reasoned, well-researched study that will be valuable for readers wishing to understand contemporary media practices and their relationship to the current condition of democracy in America.
— James Guimond
Political Science Quarterly

[Schudson's book] presents a fine collection of his essays and research articles...He captures the cultural climate of past ages by describing colorful people and incidents, by citing the wisdom of well known historical figures, and by sensitive philosophizing about what it all means.
— Doris A. Graber

American Studies in Europe

This is a carefully reasoned, well-researched study that will be valuable for readers wishing to understand contemporary media practices and their relationship to the current condition of democracy in America.
— James Guimond

Herbert J. Gans
The Power of News includes some of Schudson's best writing on the media and the democratic process. This book should be required reading in America's newsrooms--and everywhere else.
Times Literary Supplement - Michael Davie
Schudson is at his best when he is examining widely accepted truths, or myths as he calls them, as for instance that the press forced the resignation of Nixon, or that Reagan was a Great Communicator, or that it was television coverage of the Vietnam War that caused the American public to turn against it.
Political Science Quarterly - Doris A. Graber
[Schudson's book] presents a fine collection of his essays and research articles...He captures the cultural climate of past ages by describing colorful people and incidents, by citing the wisdom of well known historical figures, and by sensitive philosophizing about what it all means.
American Studies in Europe - James Guimond
This is a carefully reasoned, well-researched study that will be valuable for readers wishing to understand contemporary media practices and their relationship to the current condition of democracy in America.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674695870
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 0.63 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Schudson is Professor of Communication and Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of several books, including Advertising: The Uneasy Persuasion and Watergate in American Memory., Michael Schudson is Professor of Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: News as Public Knowledge

PART I: The News in Historical Perspective

1. Three Hundred Years of the American Newspaper

2. The Politics of Narrative Form

3. Question Authority: A History of the News Interview

4. What Is a Reporter?

PART II: Myths of Media Power

5. Trout or Hamburger: Politics and Telemythology

6. The Illusion of Ronald Reagan's Popularity with Elliot King

7. Watergate and the Press

PART III: Citizenship and Its Discontents

8. National News Culture and the Informational Citizen

9. Was There Ever a Public Sphere?

10. The News Media and the Democratic Process

Notes

Credits

Index

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