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What Are Journalists For?

Jay Rosen

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ISBN 10: 0300078234 / ISBN 13: 9780300078237
Published by Yale University Press, 1999
Used Condition: Good
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Bibliographic Details

Title: What Are Journalists For?

Publisher: Yale University Press

Publication Date: 1999

Book Condition:Good

About this title


The public journalism movement emerged after the 1988 presidential election as a countermeasure against eroding trust in the news media and widespread public disillusionment with politics and civic affairs. In this book, public journalism advocate Jay Rosen recalls the history of the movement and explains how its innovations offer an opportunity to revitalize the press and improve civic life.


New York University communications professor Jay Rosen asks a question in his title What Are Journalists For? and devotes the book to arguing that the answer ought to be different from what it is today. Journalism, he says, should not simply report the news and move on to another story; rather, it should become "democracy's cultivator, as well as its chronicler." Rosen advocates "public journalism," a disorganized movement among newspaper editors and reporters around the United States striving to connect with their readers in new and untried ways (see, for example, Breaking the News, by former U.S. News & World Report editor James Fallows). He describes, for instance, how the Virginian-Pilot, a newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia, based its election reporting one fall on issues raised by ordinary residents in a series of focus groups, and then published a voting guide. Rosen provides plenty of examples of other newspapers doing similar things, and these case studies are one of the book's strengths. Although several powerful news organizations such as The New York Times have criticized public journalism for abandoning the traditional goal of objectivity, Rosen believes his movement may help newspapers during a time of decreasing readership--and also advance the common good. Print journalists wondering whether their profession will survive long into the 21st century--as well as anybody interested in the future of the media--will want to grapple with Rosen's ideas, whether they ultimately accept or reject them. --John J. Miller

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