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Rebuilding the News

Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age

C. W. Anderson

Publication Year: 2013

Breaking down the walls of the traditional newsroom, Rebuilding the News traces the evolution of news reporting as it moves from print to online. As the business models of newspapers have collapsed, author C. W. Anderson chronicles how bloggers, citizen journalists, and social networks are implicated in the massive changes confronting journalism.

Through a combination of local newsroom fieldwork, social-network analysis, and online archival research, Rebuilding the News places the current shifts in news production in socio-historical context. Focusing on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia  Daily News, Anderson presents a gripping case study of how these papers have struggled to adapt to emerging economic, social, and technological realities.

As he explores the organizational, networked culture of journalism, Anderson lays bare questions about the future of news-oriented media and its evolving relationship with “the public” in the digital age.

Published by: Temple University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Rebuilding the News is a bridge between two academic lifetimes: the first as a doctoral student in communications at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and the second as an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island (City University of New York). Consequently, during the writing of this book, I have accumulated a large number of debts. ...

Timeline of Digital News: Developments in Philadelphia and Nationally

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pp. xiii-xvi

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Introduction - Local Journalism on the Brink

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pp. 1-12

In August of 2000, a hoary political institution—the Republican National Convention, assembling in Philadelphia—confronted a new kind of media network. As the national Republican Party descended on the city in the summer of 2000, its delegates were met by hundreds of convention protesters carrying cell phones, videocameras, and old-fashioned pencils and paper notebooks, ...

Part I. How Local Journalism Went Online

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1. Philadelphia’s Newspapers Go Online (1997–2008)

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pp. 15-33

In 1997, Jennifer Musser-Metz, a web producer at Philly.com, sat at her desk turning piles of raw interview tape into RealAudio files, preparing them for uploading to the World Wide Web. The interviews were by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s foreign correspondent Mark Bowden, and the subject was the American military adventure in Somalia of 1993, ...

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2. Alternate Paths in the Transition to Online Journalism (2000–2008)

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pp. 34-52

The Philadelphia branch of the Independent Media Center (IMC) movement, a network of more than 150 participatory media projects around the world, opened its doors in 2000 to cover protests at the Republican National Convention. One irony of the Philly IMC’s early journalistic success is that the organization was originally conceived as a limited, “tactical” media intervention ...

Part II. Local Newswork in the Digital Age

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3. A Day in the Life of Twenty-First-Century Journalism (July 16, 2008)

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pp. 55-82

On Wednesday, July 16, 2008, an early-morning news story broke inside the Philadelphia Inquirer newsroom. It was not a dramatic tale; nor did it shape city politics and culture for years or even days to come. Indeed, it some ways it was the kind of story that even journalists themselves shudder to admit they take seriously: ...

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4. How News Circulates Online: The Short, Happy News Life of the Francisville Four (June 2008)

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pp. 83-100

This chapter broadens Chapter 3’s ethnographic analysis of newswork, focusing on how a single news story—the wrongful arrest of four area home owners on trumped-up charges—diffused across the entire Philadelphia news ecosystem. Chapter 3 looked at newswork practices from the vantage point of the traditional newsrooms; ...

Part III. Building News Networks

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5. What We Have Here Is a Failure to Collaborate (2005–2009)

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pp. 103-132

At approximately 10:00 a.m. on an ordinary Monday at the offices of the Philadelphia Daily News on 400 North Broad Street, a well-sourced columnist took a surprising phone call: Anne d’Harnoncourt, longtime director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a leading member of the city’s cultural elite, had passed away suddenly the previous night. ...

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6. Dark Days and Green Shoots (2009–2011)

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pp. 133-158

As the first decade of the twenty-first century drew to a close, the Philadelphia media ecosystem seemed to be perched a knife’s edge between rebirth and collapse. While earlier parts of this book alluded to the various pressures affecting the professional status and occupational stability of journalists and journalistic organizations, ...

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Conclusion - Reporting and the Public in the Digital Age

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pp. 159-166

In the dead of night on November 30, 2011, protesters affiliated with Occupy Philadelphia—the ideological grandchildren, perhaps, of the anti-globalization activists who stormed the Republican National Convention in 2000 with their protest banners and digital cameras—were evicted from Dilworth Plaza. ...

Appendix: Methodology

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pp. 167-176


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pp. 177-194

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 195-210


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pp. 211-217

E-ISBN-13: 9781439909355
E-ISBN-10: 1439909350
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439909348
Print-ISBN-10: 1439909342

Page Count: 236
Publication Year: 2013