Trivia Pursuit: How Showbiz Values are Corrupting the News

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9780771067525: Trivia Pursuit: How Showbiz Values are Corrupting the News
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Veteran newsman Knowlton Nash has had a fifty-year love affair with the business of journalism. It’s a “beautiful business,” he says, but one headed for big trouble. In Trivia Pursuit, Nash explores the threats and challenges facing the news media today and tries to discern the direction it will take in the new century.

The news media are awash in sensationalism, as is clear from the lavish coverage given to every tiny detail of Princess Diana’s death and funeral, and the breathless and casually inaccurate news stories on President Clinton’s alleged extramarital sex life. In their efforts to entice new readers and viewers, much of the media are turning tawdry gossip into news; as Nash puts it, they are startling our eyeballs rather than engaging our minds. Squeezed out or reduced to the briefest glance by the superabundance of trivia are stories that have a direct bearing on how we conduct our lives and our public affairs.

Nash shows us that the news media have always struggled with the issue of whether their role is to inform or to entertain, yet the pendulum has never before swung so lopsidedly. The work of the journalist as gatekeeper, as the sorter of truth from lies and fact from innuendo, is crumbling before the competitive onslaught of the Internet, which allows gossip to travel the world as fast as fact, and of cable and satellite television, which threaten to disintegrate mass communication into “boutique journalism.”

Nash is no Cassandra, however. Soon, he believes, the pendulum will swing back. Soon the public will learn to navigate the new technologies to find thoughtful, well-presented, honest, “name-brand” news – the lifeblood of a democratic society. For regardless of whether it’s delivered by newspapers, television, or the Internet, there will always be a demand for quality news and an effective medium for delivering it.

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About the Author:

In his early years as a journalist Knowlton Nash worked with the Globe and Mail, United Press, and, as a freelancer, the Financial Post, Maclean’s, the Vancouver Sun, and the Windsor Star, among other Canadian news outlets. He covered stories around the world, including the Cuban missile crisis, the student riots in Paris in 1968, and the Vietnam War, and interviewed various Canadian prime ministers and American presidents. In 1969 Nash was made director of information programming at the CBC, and in the mid-1970s, he became its director of television news and current affairs, a position he held until becoming anchor and senior correspondent for “The National” in 1978. In 1988, he stepped down as anchor, although he remained as senior correspondent until 1992, when he retired from daily television news broadcasting. Today, he is host of the CBC documentary series “Witness” and the archival program “Sense of History,” as well as anchor of “News in Review,” an educational series produced for schools and libraries.

Nash is also well known as the author of seven previous acclaimed books, including Cue the Elephant, Prime Time at Ten, Kennedy and Diefenbaker, The Microphone Wars, Trivia Pursuit, and The Swashbucklers. In 1989, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, in 1995 he was given the John Drainie Award for his significant contribution to broadcasting, in 1996 he was named to the Canadian News Hall of Fame, and was made a Member of the Order of Ontario in 1998. Knowlton Nash lives in Toronto with his wife, Lorraine Thomson.

Review:

“A vivid account of how the obsession with dollars, ratings, and circulation is leading broadcasters and newspaper publishers to abandon much of the larger purpose for which so many journalistic pioneers struggled.”
Globe and Mail

“Well-written, readable, and thoroughly researched....[Nash] has marshalled his considerable skills in this clarion call for a clean-up.”
London Free Press

“Never succumbs to false nostalgia for supposedly better days....Nash is refreshingly clearheaded.”
Maclean’s

“[Nash is] consistently clear and informative, and brings the subject alive with personal anecdotes.”
Quill & Quire

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9780771067617: Trivia Pursuit: How Showbiz Values are Corrupting the News

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ISBN 10:  0771067615 ISBN 13:  9780771067617
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart, 2000
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