Losing the news: the future of the news that feeds democracy
Oxford University Press, 2009 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 234 pages
What is wrong with the news?
To answer this dismaying question, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones explores how the epochal changes sweeping the media have eroded the core news that has been the essential food supply of our democracy.
At a time of dazzling technological innovation, Jones says that what stands to be lost is the fact-based reporting that serves as a watchdog over government, holds the powerful accountable, and gives citizens what they need. In a tumultuous new media era, with cutthroat competition and panic over profits, the commitment of the traditional news media to serious news is fading. Should we lose a critical mass of this news, our democracy will weaken--and possibly even begin to fail.
The breathtaking possibilities that the web offers are undeniable, but at what cost? The shattering of the old economic model is taking a toll on journalistic values and standards. Journalistic objectivity and ethics are under assault, as is the bastion of the First Amendment. Pundits and talk show hosts have persuaded Americans that the crisis in news is bias and partisanship. Not so, says Jones. The real crisis is the erosion of the iron core of "accountability" news, a loss that hurts Republicans and Democrats alike.
Losing the News is a vivid depiction of the dangers facing fact-based, reported news, but it is also a call to arms. Despite the current crisis, there are many hopeful signs, and Jones closes by looking over the horizon and exploring ways the iron core can be preserved.
"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
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
Review: Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds DemocracyUser Review - Dale - Goodreads
"the nation's traditional news organizations are being transformed into tabloid news organizations..." (p. 51) Alex S. Jones is a journalist who has just about seen it all: he has owned and managed a ... Read full review
Review: Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds DemocracyUser Review - DT - Goodreads
I really enjoyed this book. It's very short (~150 pages). Its thesis is about how important it is to have 'core news' (which is not entertainment news, or health news), but on investigative and ... Read full review