Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done To Fix It

Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done To Fix It


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Essays by Thomas Frank, Clay Shirky, David Simon, and others: “Anyone concerned about the state of journalism should read this book.” —Library Journal
The sudden meltdown of the news media has sparked one of the liveliest debates in recent memory, with an outpouring of opinion and analysis crackling across journals, the blogosphere, and academic publications. Yet, until now, we have lacked a comprehensive and accessible introduction to this new and shifting terrain.
In Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights, celebrated media analysts Robert W. McChesney and Victor Pickard have assembled thirty-two illuminating pieces on the crisis in journalism, revised and updated for this volume. Featuring some of today’s most incisive and influential commentators, this comprehensive collection contextualizes the predicament faced by the news media industry through a concise history of modern journalism, a hard-hitting analysis of the structural and financial causes of news media’s sudden collapse, and deeply informed proposals for how the vital role of journalism might be rescued from impending disaster.
Sure to become the essential guide to the journalism crisis, Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights is both a primer on the news media today and a chronicle of a key historical moment in the transformation of the press.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595585486
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of several books on the media, including the award-winning Rich Media, Poor Democracy, and a co-editor (with Ben Scott) of Our Unfree Press: 100 Years of Radical Media Criticism (both available from The New Press). He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

Victor Pickard is an assistant professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. His research on the politics and history of media has been published widely in anthologies and scholarly journals. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Part I The Crisis Unfolds 1

1 "Out of Print: The Death and Life of the American Newspaper" Eric Alterman 3

2 "Goodbye to the Age of Newspapers (Hello to a New Era of Corruption): Why American Politics and Society Are About to Be Changed for the Worse" Paul Starr 18

3 "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable" Clay Shirky 38

4 "Build the Wall" David Simon 45

5 "The Reconstruction of American Journalism" Leonard Downie Jr. Michael Schudson 55

6 "A Surfeit of Crises: Circulation, Revenue, Attention, Authority, and Deference" Todd Gitlin 91

7 "Down the News Hole" Robert W. McChesney John Nichols 103

8 "Bright Frenetic Mills" Thomas Frank 113

9 "The Money and Media Election Complex" John Nichols Robert W. McChesney 119

10 "Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, Congress of the United States, A New Age for Newspapers, Diversity of Voices, Competition, and the Internet" C. Edwin Baker 128

Part II The American Traditions 131

11 "The Washington-Madison Solution" Geoffrey Cowan David Westphal 133

12 "U.S. International Broadcasting: An Untapped Resource for Domestic and Ethnic News Organizations" Shawn Powers 138

13 "That Was Now and This Is Then: Walter Lippmann and the Crisis of Journalism" Robert W. McChesney 151

14 "Simply a Piece of Stupid Despotism: How Socialists Saved the First Amendment" John Nichols 162

15 "Revisiting the Road Not Taken: A Social Democratic Vision of the Press" Victor Pickard 174

16 "News for All: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media" Juan González Joseph Torres 185

17 "The Wall Street-Based Absentee Ownership Model of Our News Is Broken" Frank Blethen Ryan Blethen 194

18 "A Better Future for Journalism Requires a Clear-Eyed View of Its Present" Janine Jackson 202

19 "The Disease of Objectivity" Chris Hedges 209

20 "When Losers Write History" Matt Welch 214

Part III The Way Forward 223

21 "Giving the Networked Public Sphere Time to Develop" Yochai Benkler 225

22 "How Journalists Must Operate in a New Networked Media Environment" Jessica Clark Tracy Van Slyke 238

23 "The Future of Journalism Diversity" Pamela Newkirk 249

24 "The Rise of the Right: Conservatives Are Wading into Investigative Reporting. Can Their Journalism Survive Their Politics?" Laura McGann 257

25 "Professional Journalists, Hands Off! Citizen Journalism as Civic Responsibility" Nikki Usher 264

26 "What's the Incentive to Save Journalism?" James T. Hamilton 277

27 "What About the News? An Interest in the Public" Commissioner Michael J. Copps 289

28 "One Click Away: The Case for the Internet News Voucher" Bruce Ackerman 299

29 "The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in a Changing Information Environment: Should 'Fake News' Be Held to Real Standards?" Bruce A. Williams Michael X. Delli Carpini 306

30 "Public Funding and Journalistic Independence: What Does Research Tell Us?" Rodney Benson 314

31 "The Future of Journalism: Addressing Pervasive Market Failure with Public Policy" Mark Cooper 320

32 "Public Media to the Rescue?" Craig Aaron 340

Notes and References 351

About the Contributors 367

Permissions 372

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