When MBAs Rule the Newsroom

Overview

This in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the modern newsroom reveals the ways in which the customer-driven approach to news and the "USA Todayization" of newspapers threaten the values that have guided generations of American journalists. Underwood takes readers on a tour of the large corporations that dominate today's media, uncovering how demands for high-profit, "reader-friendly" journalism are handcuffing journalists and turning the news into just another product in the great American sellathon. His lucid ...
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Overview

This in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the modern newsroom reveals the ways in which the customer-driven approach to news and the "USA Todayization" of newspapers threaten the values that have guided generations of American journalists. Underwood takes readers on a tour of the large corporations that dominate today's media, uncovering how demands for high-profit, "reader-friendly" journalism are handcuffing journalists and turning the news into just another product in the great American sellathon. His lucid discussion draws from more than one hundred interviews with newspaper editors, reporters, and consultants, as well as from a three-year management policy survey administered to 429 newsroom employees at twelve daily newspapers. Writing with anger but with a deep affection for the trade, he examines the growing economic pressures within the industry, the roots of the managerial revolution, and the impact of marketplace journalism on the operation of the newsroom and employee morale.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
An impressive exploration of the impact of market-oriented, reader-driven journalism on the newsroom, the daily newspaper, and the attitudes of newspaper journalists. Underwood shows how planning, packaging, and profitability are replacing the basic traditions of newspapers, with an excessive emphasis since the 1970s on marketing, managerialism, and the bottom line. Entertainment, fantasy, and salesmanship have been substituted for ideas and information. . . . Other chapters cover how USA Today and the Gannett Company have revamped industry attitudes toward color and design and includes surveys of 429 newsroom employees at 12 daily newspapers in the West. Four chapters discuss pressures on newsworkers, advances in technology, and the future of the printed word. . . . Twelve pages of charts and extensive notes.
Booknews
Drawing on his 13-year history in the newspaper business, Underwood provides a tour of the corporations that dominate today's print news media, and demonstrate how marketing programs and the management systems that support them are handcuffing journalists. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231080484
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 7/29/1993
  • Pages: 259
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug Underwood is Professor of Communication at the University of Washington at Seattle.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 The Party Is Over - Where Are the Readers? 3
2 The Marketers and Managers Move In 14
3 Inside the Managed Newsroom 26
4 The Historical Roots of the Marketing and Management Revolution 38
5 Imitations of the Tube 55
6 Managers and the Mind of the Computor 71
7 The Think Tanks Spread the Word 83
8 The Cult of Colorful Tidbits 95
9 What Newspapers - and Newspaper Researchers - Don't Tell Us About Newspapers 109
10 The "New" Daily Newspaper Newsroom - and What Our Research Tells Us About It 117
11 How Much News Is News? 129
12 Fear and the Future of Newspapers 148
13 Fighting the Good Fight Within 161
14 The Future of the Word 173
Afterword 183
Appendix of Tables 187
Notes 199
Selected Bibliography 237
Index 243
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