Read All about It!: The Corporate Takeover of America's Newspapers

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Read All About It! is a searing indictment of how the corporate owners of American newspapers have sacrificed the ideals of the free press at the altar of profit and how democracy has suffered as a result. Jim Squires comes to this subject with unimpeachable credentials: from 1981 to 1989 he was the editor of the Chicago Tribune, where he saw firsthand how the shortsightedness of corporate managers can divert a newspaper's journalistic mission and imperil its long-term economic health. With passion, style, and ...
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Overview

Read All About It! is a searing indictment of how the corporate owners of American newspapers have sacrificed the ideals of the free press at the altar of profit and how democracy has suffered as a result. Jim Squires comes to this subject with unimpeachable credentials: from 1981 to 1989 he was the editor of the Chicago Tribune, where he saw firsthand how the shortsightedness of corporate managers can divert a newspaper's journalistic mission and imperil its long-term economic health. With passion, style, and vivid stories, Squires makes his case by deftly and humorously interweaving his own experiences with the larger economic trends in the industry. When he first became a reporter in 1962, the old newspaper families who ran the nation's press still saw their business as a public trust. Each newspaper had a distinctive voice, and press barons like Hearst and Pulitzer influenced the world around them, even as they promoted their own politics, ideals, and personalities. In their diversity and passion lay the strength of the free press in America. But those days are gone, writes Squires, and the news business now combines the culture of television with the conscience of Wall Street. Newspaper journalism today is largely the province of large corporations which care more about private profit than public debate. Most of the old newspaper families have given up the fight - and even those that remain have become corporatized themselves. The result is an American press that is more concerned with selling its readers something than challenging or informing them. Squires reserves his harshest criticism for the "bean counters" who now manage most of the nation's great newspapers and who view these once-powerful voices of democracy as cash cows to be milked in the corporate financial interest. He pulls no punches in his excoriating rebuke of the executive class, laying bare their hypocrisies and their contempt for the traditional values of journalism. Unleashed and undom

A 30-year journalism veteran--eight as editor of the Chicago Tribune--castigates corporate newspaper owners for sacrificing the ideals of a free press at the altar of profit, and laments the passing of an age when owners treated newspapers as a public trust.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Squires got his start in journalism as a reporter at the Nashville Tennessean in 1962, idealistic and convinced that the press had a unique mission of providing enlightenment and thereby improving democracy. He rose in his profession, serving as the editor of the Chicago Tribune from 1981 to 1989. In this lively, if sobering, memoir, he examines what he considers the steady decline in the quality of American print journalism in the past 30 years, attributing this to the growth of the ``ethically bankrupt'' concept that public service must be subsumed to cost control, return on assets and the courting of customers for advertisers. The situation, according to Squires, could worsen, but he sees some hope that the success of CNN in attracting large audiences and advertisers will have an impact on newspaper publishers and in the various charitable trusts set up by journalistic tycoons of the past. Media people should read this significant book. Author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Squires was the media spokesman for the first part of Ross Perot's bid for the presidency. But for nearly 30 years until late 1989, he was on the other side of the fence, including editorships of the Chicago Tribune and the Orlando Sentinel. Ultimately, this is the story of why he's no longer an editor, despite his enviable accomplishments. Using his career as a framework, Squires chronicles the transformation of newspapers in the corporate world. He rattles off advertising, circulation, and profit numbers and sketches several candid and unflattering portraits of newspaper executives, mainly colleagues at the Tribune Company. You will learn why that corporation's purchase of the Chicago Cubs caused an uproar in the newsroom and just what is the ``dirty little secret'' of the newspaper business. A worthy companion to Ben Bagdikian's The Media Monopoly (Beacon, 1990. 3d ed.; a fourth edition is scheduled for 1993), this is recommended for journalism and media collections.-- Bruce Rosenstein, ``USA Today'' Lib., Arlington, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812923018
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/26/1994
  • Edition description: 1st pbk. ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.73 (d)

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