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Snapshots: An X-ray of Cameroonís Democracy, Governance and Unification Cover

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Snapshots: An X-ray of Cameroonís Democracy, Governance and Unification

In the 1960s and 1970s, Third World governments prescribed and imposed a certain kind of journalism variously called ëobjectiveí journalism or ëdevelopment journalismí. They understood this as journalism restricted to reporting ëfactsí as dished out by their propagandists and did not tolerate the questioning of government policy. By ëdevelopment journalismí, they meant the mere reporting of government efforts to provide services, amenities and infrastructures and the singing of praises anytime a bridge was inaugurated, irrespective of whether it was well-built or whether the contract to build was awarded according to the norms of transparency and probity. This one-sided journalism was prevalent especially in state-owned media and media practitioners in the few private news publications that existed who did not toe the line were subjected to constant harassment and incarceration. However, with the coming of well-trained journalism graduates into the scene in the 1970s and the advent of global liberalization in the late 1980s and 1990s, daring journalists like Sam-Nuvala Fonkem thought it was time to take the bull by the horn and start taking a more critical look at government pronouncements, matching policy statements with real action in the field; in short, moving from ëobjectiveí journalism to interpretative and investigative journalism. This collection of Sam-Nuvala Fonkemís writings is a sampling of the fruit of that new spirit to dare where angels hitherto feared to tread, to hold public officials to account and to expose the falsehood cached behind the political masquerade of the ruling class.

Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off! Cover

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Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!

A Brief History of the Prisoners’ Digest International

Joseph W. Grant

The final book in the groundbreaking Voices from the Underground series, Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!, is the inspiring, frenetic, funny, sad, always-cash-starved story of Joe Grant, founder and publisher of Prisoners’ Digest International, the most important prisoners’ rights underground newspaper of the Vietnam era. From Grant’s military days in pre-Revolutionary Cuba during the Korean War, to his time as publisher of a pro-union newspaper in Cedar Rapids and his eventual imprisonment in Leavenworth, Kansas, Grant’s personal history is a testament to the power of courage under duress. One of the more notorious federal penitentiaries in the nation, Leavenworth inspired Grant to found PDI in an effort to bring hope to prisoners and their families nationwide.

Tupelo Man Cover

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Tupelo Man

The Life and Times of George McLean, a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher

Robert Blade

In 1924, George McLean, an Ole Miss sophomore and the spoiled son of a judge, attended a YMCA student mission conference whose free-thinking organizers aimed to change the world. They changed George McLean's.

But not instantly. As vividly recounted in the first biography of this significant figure in Southern history, Tupelo Man: The Life and Times of a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher, McLean drifted through schools and jobs, always questioning authority, always searching for a way to put his restless vision into practical use. In the Depression's depths, he was fired from a teaching job at what is now Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, over his socialist ideas and labor organizing work.


By 1934 he decided he had enough of working for others and that he would go into business for himself. In dirt-poor Northeast Mississippi, the Tupelo Journal was for sale, and McLean used his wife's money to buy what he called "a bankrupt newspaper from a bankrupt bank." As he struggled to keep the paper going, his Christian socialism evolved into a Christian capitalism that transformed the region. He didn't want a bigger slice of the pie for himself, he said; he wanted a bigger pie for all.


But McLean (1904-1983) was far from a saint. He prayed about his temper, with little result. He was distant and aloof toward his two children--adopted through a notorious Memphis baby selling operation. His wife, whom he deeply loved in his prickly way, left him once and threatened to leave again. "I don't know why I was born with this chip on my shoulder," he told her. Tupelo Man looks at this far-from-ordinary publisher in an intimate way that offers a fascinating story and insight into our own lives and times.

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The Vanishing Newspaper [2nd Ed]

Saving Journalism in the Information Age

Philip Meyer

Five years ago in The Vanishing Newspaper, Philip Meyer offered the newspaper industry a business model for preserving and stabilizing the social responsibility functions of the press in a way that could outlast technology-driven changes in media forms. Now he has updated this groundbreaking volume, taking current declines in circulation and the number of dailies into consideration and offering a greater variety of ways to save journalism.
Meyer’s “influence model” is based on the premise that a newspaper’s main product is not news or information, but influence: societal influence, which is not for sale, and commercial influence, which is. The model is supported by an abundance of empirical evidence, including statistical assessments of the quality and influence of the journalist’s product, as well as its effects on business success.
Meyer now applies this empirical evidence to recent developments, such as the impact of Craigslist and current trends in information technologies. New charts show how a surge in newsroom employment propped up readership in the 1980s, and data on the effects of newsroom desegregation are now included. Meyer’s most controversial suggestion, making certification available for reporters and editors, has been gaining ground. This new edition discusses several examples of certificate programs that are emerging in organizations both old and new.
Understanding the relationship between quality and profit probably will not save traditional newspapers, but Meyer argues that such knowledge can guide new media enterprises. He believes that we have the tools to sustain high-quality journalism and preserve its unique social functions, though in a transformed way.

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The Victory Album

Reflections on the Good Life after the Good War

A vivid and penetrating history, personal and social, of growing up in post-1945 America
 
A pervasive feeling at the end of World War II, notes Philip D. Beidler, was that Americans had “inherited the earth” and could look forward to a kind of golden age, the “Good Life after the Good War.” But this good life—for all its genuine possibilities—was only accessible to some and was countered by racial tensions, the fear of communism and nuclear war, gender inequalities, and a rising consumer culture, among other problems and anxieties.
 
In these essays—a combination of personal remembrance and broad-stroke cultural history—Beidler addresses the national blindness toward the Holocaust and a rising China, the canker of McCarthyism, an ascendant culture of hard smoking and heavy drinking, the worship of cars and film idols, and the chronic fear of an always-possible nuclear apocalypse. In lively, driving prose, he recalls veiled episodes in the history of the Korean War, the Civil Rights movement, and the struggle for women’s liberation. On these subjects and many others, Beidler draws from his own experience and a penetrating grasp of American social history. Together, they offer deep, pointed, and comprehensive perspectives on iconic moments in American history.

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What Wars Leave Behind

The Faceless and the Forgotten

J. Malcolm Garcia

They bear labels instead of names—noncombatant, unintended victim, collateral damage. Theirs are the blurred faces and forms seen in news footage shot from a moving vehicle. And when soldiers, media, and profiteers move on to the next conflict, they stay behind to cope amid the wreckage. They have stories to tell to anyone who will pause long enough to hear them.



In What Wars Leave Behind, J. Malcolm Garcia reveals the people and pain behind the statistics. He writes about impoverished families scraping by in Cairo’s city of the dead, ordinary Syrianspretending all is well as shells explode around them, and others caught in conflicts that rage long after the cameramen have packed up and gone away.



Garcia describes his travels in some of the world’s hotspots in Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In a series of personal travel essays that read like short stories, he exposes the endless messiness of war and the failings of good intentions, and he traces their impact on the lives of natives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Kosovo, Chad, and Syria. He discovers amazing resilience among people who must struggle just to survive each day.



Garcia gives readers the sort of gritty detail learned from immersing himself in other cultures. He eats the food, drinks the tea, and endures the oppressive heat. These are the stories of how a middle-class guy from the Midwest with a social work degree learned to experience and embrace the cultures of Third World countries in conflict—and lived to tell the tale.

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Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 1978-2012

Stephen Hess

Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 1978–2012, is the first book to comprehensively examine career patterns in American journalism.

In 1978 Brookings Senior Fellow Stephen Hess surveyed 450 journalists who were covering national government for U.S. commercial news organizations. His study became the award-winning The Washington Reporters (Brookings, 1981), the first volume in his Newswork series. Now, a generation later, Hess and his team from Brookings and the George Washington University have tracked down 90 percent of the original group, interviewing 283, some as far afield as France, England, Italy, and Australia.

What happened to the reporters within their organizations? Did they change jobs? Move from reporter to editor or producer? Jump from one type of medium to another —from print to TV? Did they remain in Washington or go somewhere else? Which ones left journalism? Why? Where did they go?

A few of them have become quite famous, including television correspondents Ted Koppel, Sam Donaldson, Brit Hume, Carole Simpson, Judy Woodruff, and Marvin Kalb; some have become editors or publishers of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, or Baltimore Sun; some have had substantial careers outside of journalism. Most, however, did not become household names.

The book is designed as a series of self-contained essays, each concentrating on one characteristic, such as age, gender, or place of employment, including newspapers, television networks, wire services, and niche publications. The reporters speak for themselves. When all of these lively portraits are analyzed —one by one —the results are surprisingly different from what journalists and sociologists in 1978 had predicted.

Praise for other books in the Newswork series:

International News and Foreign Correspondents

"It is not much in vogue to speak of things like the public trust, but thankfully Stephen Hess is old fashioned. He reminds us in this valuable and provocative book that journalism is a public trust, providing the basic information on which citizens in a democracy vote, or tune out." —Ken Auletta, The New Yorker

"Regardless of one's view of American news media, one cannot help but be influenced by the information Stephen Hess puts forth in International News and Foreign Correspondents. After reading this book, it is not likely one will scan the newspaper or watch television news in the same way again." — International Affairs Review

"Readers of all backgrounds will find this a provocative text." — The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics

Live from Capitol Hill

"Hess is a treasure —a Washington insider with a sharp sense of the important, the interesting, and the mythological. This book is essential reading for Hill practitioners, journalists, and scholars of Congress and the media." —Steven S. Smith, Washington University

The Washington Reporters "A meticulously researched piece of anthropology that represents the first major look at the men and women who cover the government since Leo C. Rosten's classic 1937 book." — Newsweek

The Wired City Cover

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The Wired City

Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age

Dan Kennedy

In The Wired City, Dan Kennedy tells the story of the New Haven Independent, a nonprofit community website in Connecticut that is at the leading edge of reinventing local journalism. Through close attention to city government, schools, and neighborhoods, and through an ongoing conversation with its readers, the Independent’s small staff of journalists has created a promising model of how to provide members of the public with the information they need in a self-governing society. Although the Independent is the principal subject of The Wired City, Kennedy examines a number of other online news projects as well, including nonprofit organizations such as Voice of San Diego and the Connecticut Mirror and for-profit ventures such as the Batavian, Baristanet, and CT News Junkie. Where legacy media such as major city newspapers are cutting back on coverage, entrepreneurs are now moving in to fill at least some of the vacuum. The Wired City includes the perspectives of journalists, activists, and civic leaders who are actively re-envisioning how journalism can be meaningful in a hyperconnected age of abundant news sources. Kennedy provides deeper context by analyzing the decline of the newspaper industry in recent years and, in the case of those sites choosing such a path, the uneasy relationship between nonprofit status and the First Amendment. At a time of pessimism over the future of journalism, The Wired City offers hope. What Kennedy documents is not the death of journalism but rather the uncertain and sometimes painful early stages of rebirth.

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Within the Veil

Black Journalists, White Media

Pamela Newkirk

Winner of the National Press Club Prize for Media Criticism.

Companion website: http://www.nyupress.nyu.edu/authors/veil.html

Thirty years ago, the Kerner Commission Report made national headlines by exposing the consistently biased coverage afforded African Americans in the mainstream media. While the report acted as a much ballyhooed wake-up call, the problems it identified have stubbornly persisted, despite the infusion of black and other racial minority journalists into the newsroom.

In Within the Veil, Pamela Newkirk unmasks the ways in which race continues to influence reportage, both overtly and covertly. Newkirk charts a series of race-related conflicts at news organizations across the country, illustrating how African American journalists have influenced and been denied influence to the content, presentation, and very nature of news.

Through anecdotes culled from interviews with over 100 broadcast and print journalists, Newkirk exposes the trials and triumphs of African American journalists as they struggle in pursuit of more equitable coverage of racial minorities. She illuminates the agonizing dilemmas they face when writing stories critical of blacks, stories which force them to choose between journalistic integrity, their own advancement, and the almost certain enmity of the black community.

Within the Veil is a gripping front-line report on the continuing battle to integrate America's newsrooms and news coverage.

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Writing the Record

The Village Voice and the Birth of Rock Criticism

Devon Powers

During the mid-1960s, a small group of young journalists made it their mission to write about popular music, especially rock, as something worthy of serious intellectual scrutiny. Their efforts not only transformed the perspective on the era’s music but revolutionized how Americans have come to think, talk, and write about popular music ever since. In Writing the Record, Devon Powers explores this shift by focusing on The Village Voice, a key publication in the rise of rock criticism. Revisiting the work of early pop critics such as Richard Goldstein and Robert Christgau, Powers shows how they stood at the front lines of the mass culture debates, challenging old assumptions and hierarchies and offering pioneering political and social critiques of the music. Part of a college-educated generation of journalists, Voice critics explored connections between rock and contemporary intellectual trends such as postmodernism, identity politics, and critical theory. In so doing, they became important forerunners of the academic study of popular culture that would emerge during the 1970s. Drawing on archival materials, interviews, and insights from media and cultural studies, Powers not only narrates a story that has been long overlooked but also argues that pop music criticism has been an important channel for the expression of public intellectualism. This is a history that is particularly relevant today, given the challenges faced by criticism of all stripes in our current media environment. Powers makes the case for the value of well-informed cultural criticism in an age when it is often suggested that “everyone is a critic.”

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