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Proponents and practitioners of narrative literary journalism have sought to assert its distinctiveness as both a literary form and a type of journalism. In Literary Journalism and the Aesthetics of Experience, John C. Hartsock argues that this often neglected kind of journalism—exemplified by such renowned works as John Hersey’s Hiroshima, James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, and Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem—has emerged as an important genre of its own, not just a hybrid of the techniques of fiction and the conventions of traditional journalism. Hartsock situates narrative literary journalism within the broader histories of the American tradition of “objective” journalism and the standard novel. While all embrace the value of narrative, or storytelling, literary journalism offers a particular “aesthetics of experience” lacking in both the others. Not only does literary journalism disrupt the myths sustained by conventional journalism and the novel, but its rich details and attention to everyday life question readers’ cultural assumptions. Drawing on the critical theories of Nietzsche, Bakhtin, Benjamin, and others, Hartsock argues that the aesthetics of experience challenge the shibboleths that often obscure the realities the other two forms seek to convey. At a time when print media appear in decline, Hartsock offers a thoughtful response to those who ask, “What place if any is there for a narrative literary journalism in a rapidly changing media world?”
Masson v. New Yorker and the First Amendment
In November 1984, Jeffrey Masson filed a libel suit against writer Janet Malcolm and the New Yorker, claiming that Malcolm had intentionally misquoted him in a profile she wrote for the magazine about his former career as a Freud scholar and administrator of the Freud archives. Over the next twelve years the case moved up and down the federal judicial ladder, at one point reaching the U.S. Supreme Court, as lawyers and judges wrestled with questions about the representation of “truth” in journalism and, by extension, the limits of First Amendment protections of free speech. Had a successful Freudian scholar actually called himself an “intellectual gigolo” and “the greatest analyst who ever lived”? Or had a respected writer for the New Yorker knowingly placed false, self-damning words in her subject's mouth? In Literary Journalism on Trial, Kathy Roberts Forde explores the implications of Masson v. New Yorker in the context of the history of American journalism. She shows how the case represents a watershed moment in a long debate between the advocates of traditional and literary journalism and explains how it reflects a significant intellectual project of the period: the postmodern critique of objectivity, with its insistence on the instability of language and rejection of unitary truth in human affairs. The case, Forde argues, helped widen the perceived divide between ideas of literary and traditional journalism and forced the resolution of these conflicting conceptions of truth in the constitutional arena of libel law. By embracing traditional journalism's emphasis on fact and objectivity and rejecting a broader understanding of truth, the Supreme Court turned away from the First Amendment theory articulated in previous rulings, opting to value less the free, uninhibited interchange of ideas necessary to democracy and more the “trustworthiness” of public expression. The Court's decision in this case thus had implications that reached beyond the legal realm to the values and norms expressed in the triangular relationship between American democracy, First Amendment principles, and the press.
An Oral History
With a legendary beginning as a printing press floated up the Arkansas River in 1819, the Arkansas Gazette is inextricably linked with the state’s history, reporting on every major Arkansas event until the paper’s demise in 1991 after a long, bitter, and very public newspaper war. Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette, knowledgeably and intimately edited by longtime Gazette reporter Roy Reed, comprises interviews from over a hundred former Gazette staffers recalling the stories they reported on and the people they worked with from the late forties to the paper’s end. The result is a nostalgic and justifiably admiring look back at a publication known for its progressive stance in a conservative Southern state, a newspaper that, after winning two Pulitzers for its brave rule-of-law stance during the Little Rock Central High Crisis, was considered one of the country’s greatest. The interviews, collected from archives at the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas, provide fascinating details on renowned editors and reporters such as Harry Ashmore, Orville Henry, and Charles Portis, journalists who wrote daily on Arkansas’s always-colorful politicians, its tragic disasters and sensational crimes, its civil rights crises, Bill Clinton, the Razorbacks sports teams, and much more. Full of humor and little-known details, Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette is a fascinating remembrance of a great newspaper.
Ring Lardner’s influence on American letters is arguably greater than that of any other American writer in the early part of the twentieth century. Lauded by critics and the public for his groundbreaking short stories, Lardner was also the country’s best-known journalist in the 1920s and early 1930s, when his voice was all but inescapable in American newspapers and magazines. Lardner’s trenchant, observant, sly, and cynical writing style, along with a deep understanding of human foibles, made his articles wonderfully readable and his words resonate to this day.
Ron Rapoport has gathered the best of Lardner’s journalism from his earliest days at the South Bend Times through his years at the Chicago Tribune and his weekly column for the Bell Syndicate, which appeared in 150 newspapers and reached eight million readers. In these columns Lardner not only covered the great sporting events of the era—from Jack Dempsey’s fights to the World Series and even an America’s Cup—he also wrote about politics, war, and Prohibition, as well as parodies, poems, and penetrating observations on American life.
The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner reintroduces this journalistic giant and his work and shows Lardner to be the rarest of writers: a spot-on chronicler of his time and place who remains contemporary to subsequent generations.
Third-Wave Magazines on the Cusp of the Digital Age
Making Feminist Media provides new ways of thinking about the vibrant media and craft cultures generated by Riot Grrrl and feminism’s third wave. It focuses on a cluster of feminist publications—including BUST, Bitch, HUES, Venus Zine, and Rockrgrl—that began as zines in the 1990s. By tracking their successes and failures, this book provides insight into the politics of feminism’s recent past.
Making Feminist Media brings together interviews with magazine editors, research from zine archives, and analysis of the advertising, articles, editorials, and letters to the editor found in third-wave feminist magazines. It situates these publications within the long history of feminist publishing in the United States and Canada and argues that third-wave feminist magazines share important continuities and breaks with their historical forerunners. These publishing lineages challenge the still-dominant—and hotly contested— wave metaphor categorization of feminist culture.
The stories, struggles, and strategies of these magazines not only represent contemporary feminism, they create and shape feminist cultures. The publications provide a feminist counter-public sphere in which the competing interests of editors, writers, readers, and advertisers can interact. Making Feminist Media argues that reading feminist magazines is far more than the consumption of information or entertainment: it is a profoundly intimate and political activity that shapes how readers understand themselves and each other as feminist thinkers.
Quickly following what many expected to be a wholesale revolution in library practices, institutional repositories encountered unforeseen problems and a surprising lack of impact. Clunky or cumbersome interfaces, lack of perceived value and use by scholars, fear of copyright infringement, and the like tended to dampen excitement and adoption. This collection of essays, arranged in five thematic sections, is intended to take the pulse of institutional repositories—to see how they have matured and what can be expected from them, as well as introduce what may be the future role of the institutional repository. Making Institutional Repositories Work takes novices as well as seasoned practitioners through the practical and conceptual steps necessary to develop a functioning institutional repository, customized to the needs and culture of the home institution. The first section covers all aspects of system platforms, including hosted and open-source options, big data capabilities and integration, and issues related to discoverability. The second section addresses policy issues, from the basics to open-source and deposit mandates. The third section focuses on recruiting and even creating content. Authors in this section will address the ways that different disciplines tend to have different motivations for deposit, as well as the various ways that institutional repositories can serve as publishing platforms. The fourth section covers assessment and success measures for all involved—librarians, deans, and administrators. The theory and practice of traditional metrics, alt metrics, and peer review receive chapter-length treatment. The fifth section provides case studies that include a boots-on-the-ground perspective of issues raised in the first four sections. By noting trends and potentialities, this final section, authored by Executive Director of SPARC Heather Joseph, makes future predictions and helps managers position institutional repositories to be responsive change and even shape the evolution of scholarly communication.
Mobilizing U.S. News Audiences
The professional judgment of gatekeepers defined the American news agenda for decades. Making the News Popular examines how subsequent events brought on a post-professional period that opened the door for imagining that consumer preferences should drive news production--and unleashed both crisis and opportunity on journalistic institutions. Anthony Nadler charts a paradigm shift, from market research's reach into the editorial suite in the 1970s through contemporary experiments in collaborative filtering and social news sites like Reddit and Digg. As Nadler shows, the transition was and is a rocky one. It also goes back much further than many experts suppose. Idealized visions of demand-driven news face obstacles with each iteration. Furthermore, the post-professional philosophy fails to recognize how organizations mobilize interest in news and public life. Nadler argues that this civic function of news organizations has been neglected in debates on the future of journalism. Only with a critical grasp of news outlets' role in stirring broad interest in democratic life, he says, might journalism's digital crisis push us towards building a more robust and democratic news media.
The White House Communications Operation
Political scientists are rarely able to study presidents from inside the White House while presidents are governing, campaigning, and delivering thousands of speeches. It’s even rarer to find one who manages to get officials such as political adviser Karl Rove or presidential counselor Dan Bartlett to discuss their strategies while those strategies are under construction. But that is exactly what Martha Joynt Kumar pulls off in her fascinating new book, which draws on her first-hand reporting, interviewing, and original scholarship to produce analyses of the media and communications operations of the past four administrations, including chapters on George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Kumar describes how today’s White House communications and media operations can be at once in flux and remarkably stable over time. She describes how the presidential Press Office that was once manned by a single presidential advisor evolved into a multilayered communications machine that employs hundreds of people, what modern presidents seek to accomplish through their operations, and how presidents measure what they get for their considerable efforts. Laced throughout with in-depth statistics, historical insights, and you-are-there interviews with key White House staffers and journalists, this indispensable and comprehensive dissection of presidential communications operations will be key reading for scholars of the White House researching the presidency, political communications, journalism, and any other discipline where how and when one speaks is at least as important as what one says.