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Just the Facts Cover

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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.

La quête de sens à l'heure du Web 2.0 Cover

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La quête de sens à l'heure du Web 2.0

Edited by Antoine Char

Réfléchir à la pratique journalistique à l’heure du numérique et de ses défis : tel était le but du colloque soulignant le centième anniversaire du Devoir, tenu le 11 mars 2010 à l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). La direction du quotidien, de même que trois de ses journalistes, ont été invités à se prononcer sur la quête de sens du monde médiatique en cette ère de grand bouleversement provoqué par l’évolution rapide des nouvelles technologies. On ne compte plus les ouvrages portant sur ce sujet, mais ceux donnant directement la parole à des « ouvriers de l’information », confrontés tous les jours à cette problématique dans la salle de rédaction, sont peu nombreux sur les rayons. Les observations de ces professionnels jetteront un éclairage différent sur la crise que traversent les médias et sur l’avenir du journalisme au moment où fusent tous les scénarios d’un monde sans journalistes.

Last King of the Sports Page Cover

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Last King of the Sports Page

The Life and Career of Jim Murray

Ted Geltner

Part crusader, part comedian, Jim Murray was a once-in-a-generation literary talent who just happened to ply his trade on newsprint, right near the box scores and race results. During his lifetime, Murray rose through the ranks of journalism, from hard-bitten 1940s crime reporter, to national Hollywood correspondent, to the top sports columnist in the United States. In Last King of the Sports Page: The Life and Career of Jim Murray, Ted Geltner chronicles Jim Murray’s experiences with twentieth-century American sports, culture, and journalism.  

 

At the peak of his influence, Murray was published in more than 200 newspapers. From 1961 to 1998, Murray penned more than 10,000 columns from his home base at the Los Angeles Times. His offbeat humor and unique insight made his column a must-read for millions of sports fans. He was named Sportswriter of the Year an astounding fourteen times, and his legacy was cemented when he became one of only four writers to receive the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for coverage of sports. Geltner now gives readers a first look at Murray’s personal archives and dozens of fresh interviews with sports and journalism personalities, including Arnold Palmer, Mario Andretti, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Yogi Berra, Frank Deford, Rick Reilly, Dan Jenkins, Roy Firestone, and many more.  

 

Throughout his life, Murray chronicled seminal events and figures in American culture and history, and this biography details his encounters with major figures such as William Randolph Hearst, Henry Luce, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, John Wayne, Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali, and Tiger Woods. Charming and affecting moments in Murray’s career illustrate the sportswriter’s knack for being in on the big story. Richard Nixon, running for vice president on the Eisenhower ticket in 1952, revealed to Murray the contents of the “Checkers” speech so it could make the Time magazine press deadline. Media mogul Henry Luce handpicked Murray to lead a team that would develop Sports Illustrated for Time/Life in 1953, and when terrorists stormed the Olympic village at the 1972 Munich games, Murray was one of the first journalists to report from the scene. The words of sports journalist Roy Firestone emphasize the influence and importance of Jim Murray on journalism today: “I’ll say without question, I think Jim Murray was every bit as important of a sports writer—forget sport writer—every bit as important a writer to newspapers, as Mark Twain was to literature.” Readers will be entertained and awed by the stories, interviews, and papers of Jim Murray in Last King of the Sports Page

Learning to Live with Crime Cover

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Learning to Live with Crime

American Crime Narrative in the Neoconservative Turn

Since the mid-1960s, the war on crime has reshaped public attitudes about state authority, criminal behavior, and the responsibilities of citizenship. But how have American writers grappled with these changes? What happens when a journalist approaches the workings of organized crime not through its legendary Godfathers but through a workaday, low-level figure who informs on his mob? Why is it that interrogation scenes have become so central to prime-time police dramas of late? What is behind writers’ recent fascination with “cold case” homicides, with private security, or with prisons? In Learning to Live with Crime, Christopher P. Wilson examines this war on crime and how it has made its way into cultural representation and public consciousness. Under the sway of neoconservative approaches to criminal justice and public safety, Americans have been urged to see crime as an inevitable risk of modern living and to accept ever more aggressive approaches to policing, private security, and punishment. The idea has been not simply to fight crime but to manage its risks; to inculcate personal vigilance in citizens; and to incorporate criminals’ knowledge through informants and intelligence gathering. At its most scandalous, this study suggests, contemporary law enforcement has even come to mimic crime’s own operations.

Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America Cover

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Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America

Edited by Christine Pawley and Louise S. Robbins

For well over one hundred years, libraries open to the public have played a crucial part in fostering in Americans the skills and habits of reading and writing, by routinely providing access to standard forms of print: informational genres such as newspapers, pamphlets, textbooks, and other reference books, and literary genres including poetry, plays, and novels. Public libraries continue to have an extraordinary impact; in the early twenty-first century, the American Library Association reports that there are more public library branches than McDonald's restaurants in the United States. Much has been written about libraries from professional and managerial points of view, but less so from the perspectives of those most intimately involved—patrons and librarians.
            Drawing on circulation records, patron reviews, and other archived materials, Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America underscores the evolving roles that libraries have played in the lives of American readers. Each essay in this collection examines a historical circumstance related to reading in libraries. The essays are organized in sections on methods of researching the history of reading in libraries; immigrants and localities; censorship issues; and the role of libraries in providing access to alternative, nonmainstream publications. The volume shows public libraries as living spaces where individuals and groups with diverse backgrounds, needs, and desires encountered and used a great variety of texts, images, and other media throughout the twentieth century.

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Library Trends

Vol. 54 (2005) through current issue

Library Trends, issued quarterly and edited by Boyd Rayward and Alistair Black, explores critical trends in professional librarianship, including practical applications, thorough analyses, and literature reviews. Both practicing librarians and educators use Library Trends as an essential tool in their professional development and continuing education. Each issue is devoted to a single aspect of professional activity or interest. In-depth, thoughtful articles explore important facets of the issue topic. Every year, Library Trends provides breadth, covering a wide variety of themes, from special libraries to emerging technologies. An invaluable resource to practicing librarians and educators, the journal is an important tool that is utilized for professional development and continuing education.

Licensing Loyalty Cover

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Licensing Loyalty

Printers, Patrons, and the State in Early Modern France

Jane McLeod

A Life in Motion Cover

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A Life in Motion

Florence Howe

The founder of the Feminist Press and one of the first proponents of women’s studies presents a living history of the growth of feminism, especially in academia. Howe began her career teaching at major universities around the U.S. She went on to chair the Modern Language Association and bring women to the forefront in that organization. Next she founded the Feminist Press, which has been publishing feminist writing for more than four decades, and helped organize an international women’s studies network. From her summers in Mississippi where she created a freedom school in the dangerous days of the civil rights movement to her friendships with iconic writers like Marilyn French, Tillie Olsen, and Grace Paley, Howe documents a lifetime of activism.

Literary Journalism across the Globe Cover

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Literary Journalism across the Globe

Journalistic Traditions and Transnational Influences

edited by John S. Bak and Bill Reynolds

At the end of the nineteenth century, several countries were developing journalistic traditions similar to what we identify today as literary reportage or literary journalism. Yet throughout most of the twentieth century, in particular after World War I, that tradition was overshadowed and even marginalized by the general perception among democratic states that journalism ought to be either “objective,” as in the American tradition, or “polemical,” as in the European. Nonetheless, literary journalism would survive and, at times, even thrive. How and why is a story that is unique to each nation. Though largely considered an Anglo-American phenomenon today, literary journalism has had a long and complex international history, one built on a combination of traditions and influences that are sometimes quite specific to a nation and at other times come from the blending of cultures across borders. These essays examine this phenomenon from various international perspectives, documenting literary journalism’s rich and diverse heritage and describing its development within a global context. In addition to the editors, contributors include David Abrahamson, Peiqin Chen, Clazina Dingemanse, William Dow, Rutger de Graaf, John Hartsock, Nikki Hessell, Maria Lassila-Merisalo, Edvaldo Pereira Lima, Willa McDonald, Jenny McKay, Sonja Merljak Zdovc, Sonia Parratt, Norman Sims, Isabel Soares,and Soenke Zehle.

Literary Journalism on Trial Cover

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Literary Journalism on Trial

Masson v. New Yorker and the First Amendment

Kathy Roberts Forde

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.

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