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In Defence of Press Freedom in Africa: An Essay

Tatah Mentan

When Africa stumbled into independence in the 1960s, the blossoming of newspapers of nearly every political persuasion was widely hailed as a critical stepping stone toward true multiparty democracy. However, rather than marking a clean break with an authoritarian past, the era of multiparty politics in Africa has been a time of increased hardship and repression for journalists who dare criticize powerful incumbents. Media repression continues to rise. After decades of retreat, authoritarian regimes are using social media and other sophisticated systems in a new era of repression to thwart democracy and trample human rights. For consecutive decades, the state of freedom has declined � more people in more places face more repression. While systemic torture in war-torn Somalia and the return of a military dictatorship in Egypt captured headlines, there is also widespread, insidious and 21st-century style surveillance elsewhere with abuse or imprisonment or both of political activists. For the media to play its role as priests of democracy, Tatah Mentan maintains that media freedom must be rigorously defended as integral to the democratic way of life.

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Incisive Journalism in Cameroon

The Best of Cameroon Report' (1978 - 1986)

Working for Cameroon state-owned Radio in the 1970s and ë80s meant toeing the official line and learning not to sing out of tune. While the rather scanty private press that existed at the time was subject to prior censorship, a different kind of censorship ñ self-censorship prevailed at the Radio where topics for commentaries were vetted by the Minister of Information or his delegate. But for Anglophones working in a predominantly francophone environment, once topics were approved, the authorities could not be sure which direction commentaries were going to take as the journalists applied the tactics of ëbite and blowí, sometimes giving full expression of their Anglo-Saxon spirit of debate and critical analysis as evidenced in this selection of commentaries from the Sunday morning commentary programme, ìCameroon Reportî (now ìCameroon Callingî) of the late 1970ís up till 1986. It is a showcase of the irrepressible seed of freedom of expression that Anglophone journalists were imbued with and demonstrated at a time when subjects related to coups díÈtat, human rights and governance were considered taboo. It was and shall remain the indelible input of the Anglophone character that has had a positive influence on Cameroonís media landscape.

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Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 1

Ken Wachsberger

This enlightening book offers a collection of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam Era as written and told by key staff members of the time. Their stories (as well as those to be included in Part 2, forthcoming) represent a wide range of publications: counterculture, gay, lesbian, feminist, Puerto Rican, Native American, Black, socialist, Southern consciousness, prisoner's rights, New Age, rank-and-file, military, and more. The edition includes forewords by former Chicago Seed editor Abe Peck, radical attorney William M. Kunstler, and Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, along with an introductory essay by Ken Wachsberger.
     Wachsberger notes that the underground press not only produce a few well-known papers but also was truly national and diverse in scope. His goal is to capture the essence of "the countercultural community."
     A fundamental resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of a dramatic era in U.S. history.

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Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 2

Ken Wachsberger

This enlightening book offers a collection of histories of underground papers from the Vietnam Era as written and told by key staff members of the time. Their stories, building on those presented in Part 1, represent a wide range of publications: countercultural, gay, lesbian, feminist, Puerto Rican, Native American, Black, socialist, Southern consciousness, prisoners’ rights, New Age, rank-and-file, military, and more. Wachsberger notes that the underground press not only produced a few well-known papers but also was truly national and diverse in scope. His goal is to capture the essence of “the countercultural community.” This book will be a fundamental resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of a dramatic era in U.S. history, as well as offering a younger readership a glimpse into a generation of idealists who rose up to challenge and improve government and society.

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Interactive Journalism

Hackers, Data, and Code

Interactive journalism has transformed the newsroom. Emerging out of changes in technology, culture, and economics, this new specialty uses a visual presentation of storytelling that allows users to interact with the reporting of information. Today it stands at a nexus: part of the traditional newsroom, yet still novel enough to contribute innovative practices and thinking to the industry. Nikki Usher brings together a comprehensive portrait of nothing less than a new journalistic identity. Usher provides a comprehensive history of the impact of digital technology on reporting, photojournalism, graphics, and other disciplines that define interactive journalism. Her eyewitness study of the field's evolution and accomplishments ranges from the interactive creation of Al Jazeera English to the celebrated data desk at the Guardian to the New York Times' Pulitzer-endowed efforts in the new field. What emerges is an illuminating, richly reported portrait of the people coding a revolution that may reverse the decline and fall of traditional journalism.

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Intertextuality and the 24-Hour News Cycle

A Day in the Rhetorical Life of Colin Powell's U.N. Address

On a cold Wednesday morning in February 2003 Colin Powell argued before the United Nations Security Council that Iraq harbored weapons of mass destruction. Before the speech, nearly 90 percent of Americans reported that Powell’s speech would help them determine their view about invading Iraq. In the days after the speech, a strong majority of Americans reported that they found Powell’s evidence convincing enough to justify war. But most American adults did not watch Powell’s speech. Instead, they learned about it from journalists—and to a large extent formed their opinions about war with Iraq based on news coverage of his address. In Intertextuality and the 24-Hour News Cycle John Oddo investigates the “rhetorical life” of Colin Powell’s address as it was extended across several media reports. Focusing on one day of pre- and postspeech news coverage, Oddo examines how journalists influenced Powell’s presentation— precontextualizing and recontextualizing his speech, and prepositioning and repositioning audiences to respond to it. The book surveys a variety of news media (television, newspaper, and Internet) and systematically integrates several methodological approaches (critical, rhetorical, discourse-analytic, and multimodal). This revealing text shows the decisive role that journalists played in shaping American attitudes about Powell, his presentation, and the desirability of war in Iraq.

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James J. Kilpatrick

Salesman for Segregation

William P. Hustwit

James J. Kilpatrick was a nationally known television personality, journalist, and columnist whose conservative voice rang out loudly and widely through the twentieth century. As editor of the ###Richmond News Leader#, writer for the ###National Review#, debater in the "Point Counterpoint" portion of CBS's ###60 Minutes#, and supporter of conservative political candidates like Barry Goldwater, Kilpatrick had many platforms for his race-based brand of southern conservatism. In ###James J. Kilpatrick: Salesman for Segregation#, William Hustwit delivers a comprehensive study of Kilpatrick's importance to the civil rights era and explores how his protracted resistance to both desegregation and egalitarianism culminated in an enduring form of conservatism that revealed a nation's unease with racial change. Relying on archival sources, including Kilpatrick's personal papers, Hustwit provides an invaluable look at what Gunnar Myrdal called the race problem in the "white mind" at the intersection of the postwar conservative and civil rights movements. Growing out of a painful family history and strongly conservative political cultures, Kilpatrick's personal values and self-interested opportunism contributed to America's ongoing struggles with race and reform. William P. Hustwit is visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Mississippi.

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Journalism 1908

Birth of a Profession

Edited by Betty Houchin Winfield

The year 1908 was not remarkable by most accounts, but it was an auspicious year for journalism. As newspapers sought to recover from big-city yellow journalism and circulation wars that reached their boiling point a few years earlier during the Spanish-American War, press clubs began to champion higher education. And schools dedicated to journalism education, led by the University of Missouri, began to emerge. Now sanctioned by universities, journalism could teach acceptable behavior and establish credentials. It was nothing less than the birth of a profession.
            Journalism—1908 opens a window on mass communication a century ago. It tells how the news media in the United States were fundamentally changed by the creation of academic departments and schools of journalism, by the founding of the National Press Club, and by exciting advances that included early newsreels, the introduction of halftones to print, and even changes in newspaper design.
            Journalism educator Betty Houchin Winfield has gathered a team of well-known media scholars, all specialists in particular areas of journalism history, to examine the status of their profession in 1908: news organizations, business practices, media law, advertising, forms of coverage from sports to arts, and more. Various facets of journalism are explored and situated within the country’s history and the movement toward reform and professionalism—not only formalized standards and ethics but also labor issues concerning pay, hours, and job differentiation that came with the emergence of new technologies.
            This overview of a watershed year is national in scope, examining early journalism education programs not only at Missouri but also at such schools as Colgate, Washington and Lee, Wisconsin, and Columbia. It also reviews the status of women in the profession and looks beyond big-city papers to Progressive Era magazines, the immigrant press, and African American publications.
            Journalism—1908 commemorates a century of progress in the media and, given the place of Missouri’s School of Journalism in that history, is an appropriate celebration of that school’s centennial. It is a lode of information about journalism education history that will surprise even many of those in the field and marks a seminal year with lasting significance for the profession.

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Journalists under Fire

The Psychological Hazards of Covering War

Anthony Feinstein foreword by Chris Hedges

As journalists in Iraq and other hot spots around the world continue to face harrowing dangers and personal threats, neuropsychiatrist Anthony Feinstein offers a timely and important exploration into the psychological damage of those who, armed only with pen, tape recorder, or camera, bear witness to horror. Based on a series of recent studies investigating the emotional impact of war on the profession, Journalists under Fire breaks new ground in the study of trauma-related disorders. Feinstein opens with an overview of the life-threatening hazards war reporters face—abductions, mock executions, the deaths of close colleagues—and discusses their psychological consequences: post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, deterioration of personal relationships, and substance abuse. In recounting the experiences of reporters who encounter trauma on the job, Feinstein observes that few adequate support systems are in place for them. He tells the stories of media veterans who have "seen it all," only to find themselves and their employers blindsided by psychological aftershocks. The book explores the biological and psychological factors that motivate journalists to take extraordinary risks. Feinstein looks into the psyches of freelancers who wade into war zones with little or no financial backing; he examines the different stresses encountered by women working in a historically male-dominated profession; and he probes the effects of the September 11 attacks on reporters who thought they had sworn off conflict reporting. His interviews with many of this generation's greatest reporters, photographers, and videographers often reveal extraordinary resilience in the face of adversity. Journalists under Fire is a look behind the public persona of war journalists at a time when the profession faces unprecedented risk. Plucking common threads from disparate stories, Feinstein weaves a narrative that is as fascinating to read as it is sobering to contemplate. What emerges are unique insights into lives lived dangerously.

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Just the Facts

How "Objectivity" Came to Define American Journalism

David Mindich

If American journalism were a religion, as it has been called, then its supreme deity would be "objectivity." The high priests of the profession worship the concept, while the iconoclasts of advocacy journalism, new journalism, and cyberjournalism consider objectivity a golden calf. Meanwhile, a groundswell of tabloids and talk shows and the increasing infringement of market concerns make a renewed discussion of the validity, possibility, and aim of objectivity a crucial pursuit.

Despite its position as the orbital sun of journalistic ethics, objectivity--until now--has had no historian. David T. Z. Mindich reaches back to the nineteenth century to recover the lost history and meaning of this central tenet of American journalism. His book draws on high profile cases, showing the degree to which journalism and its evolving commitment to objectivity altered-and in some cases limited--the public's understanding of events and issues. Mindich devotes each chapter to a particular component of this ethic-detachment, nonpartisanship, the inverted pyramid style, facticity, and balance. Through this combination of history and cultural criticism, Mindich provides a profound meditation on the structure, promise, and limits of objectivity in the age of cybermedia.

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