EXCERPT Because of course she feels what he feels. . . . People their age natter along not copping to it but the awareness is billboarded all over their faces—a wavering, a hesitation, even those who used to crow and jab the air. The tablecloth of certainty, with all its sparkly settings, has been yanked, and not artfully. It’s why people drink. All The News I Need probes the modern American response to inevitable, ancient riddles—of love and sex and mortality. Frances Ferguson is a lonely, sharp-tongued widow who lives in the wine country. Oliver Gaffney is a painfully shy gay man who guards a secret and lives out equally lonely days in San Francisco. Friends by default, Fran and Ollie nurse the deep anomie of loss and the creeping, animal betrayal of aging. Each loves routine but is anxious that life might be passing by. To crack open this stalemate, Fran insists the two travel together to Paris. The aftermath of their funny, bittersweet journey suggests those small changes, within our reach, that may help us save ourselves—somewhere toward the end.
From hidden connections in big data to bots spreading fake news, journalism is increasingly computer-generated. Nicholas Diakopoulos explains the present and future of a world in which algorithms have changed how the news is created, disseminated, and received, and he shows why journalists—and their values—are at little risk of being replaced.
Anthony Collings found himself in his share of difficult situations in his thirty-four years as a newsman. Like being captured by AK-47–toting Syrians in Lebanon in 1981 while looking for missiles that threatened a new outbreak of hostilities with Israel, or being “detained” by the KGB in Moscow in 1967 during his first foreign posting for the Associated Press filing stories about Soviet dissidents.
Name a hot spot, and Collings has likely been there. From AP correspondent to Newsweek bureau chief to CNN reporter, he covered the Middle East, Rome, Moscow, London, Paris, and Washington. Now he has gathered stories about his work in a book that is both a journalist’s memoir and a commentary on the current ethical crises in the news media and how to address them.
Brimming with entertaining stories about journalism, especially the chaotic early years at CNN when he and his colleagues established the first major cable news network, Collings’s book reveals the dangers and pressures of covering the news and the difficulties of overcoming obstacles to the truth. He recalls smuggling tapes out of Poland after the Communists had imposed martial law; flying dangerously near Libya’s “Line of Death”; interviewing world figures from Brezhnev to Kaddafi and Arafat; and winning awards for covering Iran-Contra and the Oklahoma City bombing. Collings brings fresh insights to the Oliver North affair and examines how the press was suckered in its coverage of the Jessica Lynch prisoner-of-war story in 2003. He voices his concerns regarding oversimplified reporting of complex issues and poses provocative questions about covering terrorism.
In this book, Collings presents an insider’s appraisal of the American news media’s failings and accomplishments. Easy to read, informative, and thoughtful, Capturing the News will enlighten general readers interested in how journalists cover current affairs, while offering newsmen food for thought about the craft and ethics of journalism.
The Commercialization of News in the Nineteenth Century traces the major transformation of newspapers from a politically based press to a commercially based press in the nineteenth century. Gerald J. Baldasty argues that broad changes in American society, the national economy, and the newspaper industry brought about this dramatic shift.
Increasingly in the nineteenth century, news became a commodity valued more for its profitablility than for its role in informing or persuading the public on political issues. Newspapers started out as highly partisan adjuncts of political parties. As advertisers replaced political parties as the chief financial support of the press, they influenced newspapers in directing their content toward consumers, especially women. The results were recipes, fiction, contests, and features on everything from sports to fashion alongside more standard news about politics.
Baldasty makes use of nineteenth-century materials—newspapers from throughout the era, manuscript letters from journalists and politicians, journalism and advertising trade publications, government reports—to document the changing role of the press during the period. He identifies three important phases: the partisan newspapers of the Jacksonian era (1825-1835), the transition of the press in the middle of the century, and the influence of commercialization of the news in the last two decades of the century.
Photo opportunities, ten-second sound bites, talking heads and celebrity anchors: so the world is explained daily to millions of Americans. The result, according to the experts, is an ignorant public, helpless targets of a one-way flow of carefully filtered and orchestrated communication. Common Knowledge shatters this pervasive myth. Reporting on a ground-breaking study, the authors reveal that our shared knowledge and evolving political beliefs are determined largely by how we actively reinterpret the images, fragments, and signals we find in the mass media.
For their study, the authors analyzed coverage of 150 television and newspaper stories on five prominent issues—drugs, AIDS, South African apartheid, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the stock market crash of October 1987. They tested audience responses of more than 1,600 people, and conducted in-depth interviews with a select sample. What emerges is a surprisingly complex picture of people actively and critically interpreting the news, making sense of even the most abstract issues in terms of their own lives, and finding political meaning in a sophisticated interplay of message, medium, and firsthand experience.
At every turn, Common Knowledge refutes conventional wisdom. It shows that television is far more effective at raising the saliency of issues and promoting learning than is generally assumed; it also undermines the assumed causal connection between newspaper reading and higher levels of political knowledge. Finally, this book gives a deeply responsible and thoroughly fascinating account of how the news is conveyed to us, and how we in turn convey it to others, making meaning of at once so much and so little. For anyone who makes the news—or tries to make anything of it—Common Knowledge promises uncommon wisdom.
As catalysts of our present global condition, telegraphs are emblems of modernity. The establishment of a worldwide network of landline and submarine cable connections in the mid-nineteenth century fostered the emergence of new structures and patterns of interaction on a global scale. World politics and a global economy only became possible with the creation of “global communication electric.”
This book examines the emergence of this global media system between 1860 and 1930 in four sections—"Inter|Nationalisms," "Agents|Actors," "Use|News," and "Space|Time"—that aim to broaden and challenge popular conceptions of telegraphy. In exploring the varied uses of telegraphy, real or imagined, Global Communication Electric expands the notion of the telegraph as a globalizing medium: of connection as well as friction; of political, social, and economic entanglement as well as disentanglement; and of crossing as well as creating distance in space and time.
The ideal of a neutral, objective press has proven in recent years to be just that—an ideal. In Governing with the News, Timothy E. Cook goes far beyond the single claim that the press is not impartial to argue that the news media are in fact a political institution integral to the day-to-day operations of our government. This updated edition includes a new afterword by the author, which pays close attention to two key developments in the twenty-first century: the accelerating fragmentation of the mass media and the continuing decline of Americans' confidence in the press.
"Provocative and often wise. . . . Cook, who has a complex understanding of the relationship between governing and the news, provides a fascinating account of the origins of this complicity."—James Bennet, Washington Monthly
"[Governing with the News] addresses central issues of media impact and power in fresh, illuminating ways. . . . Cook mines a wealth of historical and organizational literature to assert that the news media are a distinct political institution in our democratic system."—Robert Schmuhl, Commonweal
The ideal of a neutral, objective press has proven in recent years to be just that—an ideal. But while everyone talks about the political biases and influences of the news, no one has figured out whether and how the news media exert power. In Governing with the News, Timothy E. Cook goes far beyond the single claim that the press is not impartial to argue that the news media are in fact a political institution integral to the day-to-day operations of the three branches of our government.
The formation of the press as a political institution began in the early days of the republic when newspapers were sponsored by political parties; the relationship is now so central that press offices are found wherever one turns. Cook demonstrates not only how the media are structured as an institution that exercises collective power but also how the role of the media has become institutionalized within the political process, affecting policy and instigating, rather than merely reflecting, political actions. Cook's analysis is a powerful and fascinating guide to our age when newsmaking and governing are inseparable.
"This is a wonderful analysis of a highly important topic. Tim Cook is resoundingly right that we need to look at the media as political institutions and their operatives as political actors."—David R. Mayhew, author of Divided We Govern
"This meticulously researched and well reasoned work proposes to take seriously a thesis which flies in the face of both journalistic lore and political myth. Governing with the News is an innovative contribution to our understanding of media."—W. Lance Bennett, author of News: The Politics of Illusion
"This book should be read by journalists . . . by mass communication faculty teaching courses in media structure or effects and journalism faculty as a supplemental text to courses in media history and media management."—Benjamin J. Burns, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
Hear #MeToo in India examines the role media platforms play in anti-rape and sexual harassment feminist activism in India. Including 75 interviews with rural and subaltern feminist activists and journalists working in urban and rural regions of India, the book proposes a nuanced framework of agenda building on rape and establishes a theoretical framework to examine media coverage of issues in the digitally emerging countries of the Global South.
In 2017, TIME announced The Silence Breakers, individuals who set off an international movement against sexual harassment, as its Person of the Year, amplifying the #MeToo movement. The intersection of issues of gender violence and activism receives inconsistent focus from the media, policymakers and the citizens. Some rapes and sexual harassments become the focus of mainstream and social media attention, while others are relegated to the background. Hear #MeToo in India emphasizes the interdependent association between social media networks and mainstream mass media which can strengthen anti-rape and sexual harassment activism. It provides a contextual framework to the relationship between subaltern anti-rape feminist activists in India and transnational anti-rape cyberfeminism and investigates why hashtags may or may not be successful in digitally emerging countries. The book illuminates how and why rape and sexual harassment incidents slip through the existing media, activism, and policy gap.
The charge of inauthenticity has trailed Hillary Clinton from the moment she entered the national spotlight and stood in front of television cameras. Hillary Clinton in the News: Gender and Authenticity in American Politics shows how the U.S. news media created their own news frames of Clinton's political authenticity and image-making, from her participation in Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign through her own 2008 presidential bid.
Using theories of nationalism, feminism, and authenticity, Parry-Giles tracks the evolving ways the major networks and cable news programs framed Clinton's image as she assumed roles ranging from surrogate campaigner, legislative advocate, and financial investor to international emissary, scorned wife, and political candidate. This study magnifies how the coverage that preceded Clinton's entry into electoral politics was grounded in her earliest presence in the national spotlight, and in long-standing nationalistic beliefs about the boundaries of authentic womanhood and first lady comportment. Once Clinton dared to cross those gender boundaries and vie for office in her own right, the news exuded a rhetoric of sexual violence. These portrayals served as a warning to other women who dared to enter the political arena and violate the protocols of authentic womanhood.
Much recent writing on print culture has focused on the social and political implications of the transition from "elite" to "mass" culture in the 1800s. The essays in this volume add significantly to our understanding of the role of the nineteenth-century French press in producing the commodities, consumers, and ideological frameworks that are the hallmarks of this shift. The book also offers an opportunity for useful comparisons with recent scholarship on the rise on the popular press in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany. The essays address a wide range of topics, from the emergence of commercial daily newspapers during the July Monarchy to the photographic representation of women in the Paris Commune. Together they demonstrate that the French mass press was far more heterogeneous than previously supposed, tapping into an expanding readership composed of a variety of publics—from affluent bourgeois to disaffected workers to disenfranchised women. It was also relentlessly innovative, using caricature, argot, advertisements, and other attention-grabbing techniques that blurred the lines separating art, politics, and the news.
Media attention can play a profound role in whether or not officials act on a policy issue, but how policy issues make the news in the first place has remained a puzzle. Why do some issues go viral and then just as quickly fall off the radar? How is it that the media can sustain public interest for months in a complex story like negotiations over Obamacare while ignoring other important issues in favor of stories on “balloon boy?”
With Making the News, Amber Boydstun offers an eye-opening look at the explosive patterns of media attention that determine which issues are brought before the public. At the heart of her argument is the observation that the media have two modes: an “alarm mode” for breaking stories and a “patrol mode” for covering them in greater depth. While institutional incentives often initiate alarm mode around a story, they also propel news outlets into the watchdog-like patrol mode around its policy implications until the next big news item breaks. What results from this pattern of fixation followed by rapid change is skewed coverage of policy issues, with a few receiving the majority of media attention while others receive none at all. Boydstun documents this systemic explosiveness and skew through analysis of media coverage across policy issues, including in-depth looks at the waxing and waning of coverage around two issues: capital punishment and the “war on terror.”
Making the News shows how the seemingly unpredictable day-to-day decisions of the newsroom produce distinct patterns of operation with implications—good and bad—for national politics.
Maps with the News is a lively assessment of the role of cartography in American journalism. Tracing the use of maps in American news reporting from the eighteenth century to the 1980s, Mark Monmonier explores why and how journalistic maps have achieved such importance.
"A most welcome and thorough investigation of a neglected aspect of both the history of cartography and modern cartographic practice."—Mapline
"A well-written, scholarly treatment of journalistic cartography. . . . It is well researched, thoroughly indexed and referenced . . . amply illustrated."—Judith A. Tyner, Imago Mundi
"There is little doubt that Maps with the News should be part of the training and on the desks of all those concerned with producing maps for mass consumption, and also on the bookshelves of all journalists, graphic artists, historians of cartography, and geographic educators."—W. G. V. Balchin, Geographical Journal
"A definitive work on journalistic cartography."—Virginia Chipperfield, Society of University Cartographers Bulletin
The Media Players: Shakespeare, Middleton, Jonson, and the Idea of News builds a case for the central, formative function of Shakespeare’s theater in the news culture of early modern England. In an analysis that combines historical research with recent developments in public sphere theory, Dr. Stephen Wittek argues that the unique discursive space created by commercial theater helped to foster the conceptual framework that made news possible.
Dr. Wittek’s analysis focuses on the years between 1590 and 1630, an era of extraordinary advances in English news culture that begins with the first instance of serialized news in England and ends with the emergence of news as a regular, permanent fixture of the marketplace. Notably, this period of expansion in news culture coincided with a correspondingly extraordinary era of theatrical production and innovation, an era that marks the beginning of commercial theater in London, and has left us with the plays of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Thomas Middleton.
Prior to the third century A.D., two broad Roman conceptions of frontiers proliferated and competed: an imperial ideology of rule without limit coexisted with very real and pragmatic attempts to define and defend imperial frontiers. But from about A.D. 250-500, there was a basic shift in mentality, as news from and about frontiers began to portray a more defined Roman world—a world with limits—allowing a new understanding of frontiers as territorial and not just as divisions of people. This concept, previously unknown in the ancient world, brought with it a new consciousness, which soon spread to cosmology, geography, myth, sacred texts, and prophecy. The “frontier consciousness” produced a unified sense of Roman identity that transcended local identities and social boundaries throughout the later Empire.
Approaching Roman frontiers with the aid of media studies as well as anthropological and sociological methodologies, Mark W. Graham chronicles and documents this significant transition in ancient thought, which coincided with, but was not necessarily dependent on, the Christianization of the Roman world.
Mark W. Graham is Assistant Professor of History at Grove City College.
Heidi Tworek’s innovative history reveals how, across two devastating wars, Germany attempted to build a powerful communication empire—and how the Nazis manipulated the news to rise to dominance in Europe and further their global agenda. When the news became a form of international power, it changed the course of history.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the bustling railroad town of Lone Rock, Wisconsin, was home to about a thousand residents, and Freeland Dexter seemed to know the business of every single one. Dexter reported all the news from Lone Rock—from the significant to the trivial, the tragic to the comical—for the Weekly Home News of neighboring Spring Green from 1884 to 1912.
This collection of Dexter’s most fascinating, amusing, and poignant stories and observations brings back to life the colorful characters of his time and takes readers on a journey to a world that was both simpler and changing fast. Whether he was reporting who grew the biggest watermelon, teasing the local lovebirds, or taking a side on the ever-controversial question of whether the town should go dry, Dexter wrote with a distinctive wit and an obvious affection for his town and its people. The News from Lone Rock also provides an illuminating window into a time period of rapid technological progress, showing how the introduction of electric light, telephones, and cars changed lives and connected this quaint village more and more to the outside world.
Mass media in the late nineteenth century was full of news from Mars. In the wake of Giovanni Schiaparelli’s 1877 discovery of enigmatic dark, straight lines on the red planet, astronomers and the public at large vigorously debated the possibility that it might be inhabited. As rivalling scientific practitioners looked to marshal allies and sway public opinion—through newspapers, periodicals, popular books, exhibitions, and encyclopaedias—they exposed disagreements over how the discipline of astronomy should be organized and how it should establish acceptable conventions of discourse.
News from Mars provides a new account of this extraordinary episode in the history of astronomy, revealing how major transformations in astronomical practice across Britain and America were inextricably tied up with popular scientific culture and a transatlantic news economy that enabled knowledge to travel. As Joshua Nall argues, astronomers were journalists, too, eliding practice with communication in consequential ways. As writers and editors, they played a pivotal role in the emergence of a “new astronomy” dedicated to the study of the physical constitution and life history of celestial objects, blurring harsh distinctions between those who produced esoteric knowledge and those who disseminated it.
The News from Poems examines a subgenre of recent American poetry that closely engages with contemporary political and social issues. This “engaged” poetry features a range of aesthetics and focuses on public topics from climate change, to the aftermath of recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the increasing corporatization of U.S. culture.
The News from Poems brings together newly commissioned essays by eminent poets and scholars of poetry and serves as a companion volume to an earlier anthology of engaged poetry compiled by the editors. Essays by Bob Perelman, Steven Gould Axelrod, Tony Hoagland, Eleanor Wilner, and others reveal how recent poetry has redefined our ideas of politics, authorship, identity, and poetics.
The volume showcases the diversity of contemporary American poetry, discussing mainstream and experimental poets, including some whose work has sparked significant controversy. These and other poets of our time, the volume suggests, are engaged not only with public events and topics but also with new ways of imagining subjectivity, otherness, and poetry itself.
Originally published in 1936, News from Tartary is the story of a journey from Peking through the mysterious province of Sinkiang, to India. Fleming tells the story in his inimitable manner, dismissing the difficulties with irony and describing events and developments with humor and brilliant color, and his account is a classic of travel writing as well as a brilliant description of a vanished time and way of life.
This report presents a quantitative assessment of how the presentation of news has changed over the past 30 years and how it varies across platforms. Over time, and as society moved from “old” to “new” media, news content has generally shifted from more-objective event- and context-based reporting to reporting that is more subjective, relies more heavily on argumentation and advocacy, and includes more emotional appeals.
News on the American Dream traces the development of the PortugueseAmerican press from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century to the present, taking readers from the East Coast to Hawaii, with strategic stops in places with large Portuguese communities, including New Bedford, Massachusetts; Oakland, California; and Newark, New Jersey. Alberto Pena Rodríguez’s nuanced analysis of the political, economic, social, and cultural roles played by these publications proves how important they were for the PortugueseAmerican community and the history of the ethnic press in the United States. Fascinating narratives about the founders, editors, and owners of these publications—and their challenges, squabbles, and successes—round out this engaging study.
Free and attentive news media are essential to the workings of a democratic nation. But how well does the news, in reality, actually serve the needs of citizens, and thereby democracy? How well do the major methods of sharing national political information work, and how well-informed do they leave voters? For years, News: The Politics of Illusion has been the leading textbook to address that question, and in this ninth edition W. Lance Bennett brings his analysis fully up to date, exploring recent developments in news media and showing how they have improved--or hampered--the wide sharing of political news and information.
For over thirty years, News: The Politics of Illusion has not simply reflected the political communication field—it has played a major role in shaping it. Today, the familiar news organizations of the legacy press are operating in a fragmenting and expanding mediaverse that resembles a big bang of proliferating online competitors that are challenging the very definition of news itself. Audience-powered sites such as the Huffington Post and Vox blend conventional political reporting with opinion blogs, celebrity gossip, and other ephemera aimed at getting clicks and shares. At the same time, the rise of serious investigative organizations such as ProPublica presents yet a different challenge to legacy journalism. Lance Bennett’s thoroughly revised tenth edition offers the most up-to-date guide to understanding how and why the media and news landscapes are being transformed. It explains the mix of old and new, and points to possible outcomes. Where areas of change are clearly established, key concepts from earlier editions have been revised. There are new case studies, updates on old favorites, and insightful analyses of how the new media system and novel kinds of information and engagement are affecting our politics. As always, News presents fresh evidence and arguments that invite new ways of thinking about the political information system and its place in democracy.
As Matthew Pressman’s timely history reveals, during the turbulent 1960s and 70s the core values that held the news industry together broke apart and the distinctive characteristics of contemporary American print journalism emerged. Simply reporting the facts was no longer enough as reporters recognized a need to interpret events for their readers.
This distinctive collection features writings from Grant Pick’s long, distinguished career in literary journalism. Pick had a uniquely open eye and ear for people who were in difficult situations, doing extraordinary things, or both. Most of his stories focus on interesting but overlooked Chicagoans, like the struggling owner of a laundrymat on the west side or the successful doctor who, as he faced his own death from cancer, strove to enlighten his colleagues in the field of medicine. As only a lifetime Chicagoan could, he described in tender detail the worlds in which people lived or worked, providing a look not just at one city’s citizens but at humanity as a whole.
Pick’s widow and son curate this showcase of some of his most well-remembered work, such as “The Rag Man of Lincoln Park” and “Brother Bill.” In these and all of his other works, Pick wrote from the front lines, speaking to people whom others might encounter everyday but never really see. He faithfully characterized his subjects, never denying them dignity or value and never judging them. In the mirror he held up to his city, Chicago could see the shared humanity of all its citizens.
Critics often chastised the twentieth-century black press for focusing on sex and scandal rather than African American achievements. In Pleasure in the News, Kim Gallon takes an opposing stance—arguing that African American newspapers fostered black sexual expression, agency, and identity.
Gallon discusses how journalists and editors created black sexual publics that offered everyday African Americans opportunities to discuss sexual topics that exposed class and gender tensions. While black churches and black schools often encouraged sexual restraint, the black press printed stories that complicated notions about respectability. Sensational coverage also expanded African American women’s sexual consciousness and demonstrated the tenuous position of female impersonators, black gay men, and black lesbians in early twentieth African American urban communities.
Informative and empowering, Pleasure in the News redefines the significance of the black press in African American history and advancement while shedding light on the important cultural and social role that sexuality played in the power of the black press.
What is poetry? Often it is understood as a largely self-enclosed verbal system—“suspended from any mutual interaction with alien discourse,” in the words of Mikhail Bakhtin. But in Poetry and Its Others, Jahan Ramazani reveals modern and contemporary poetry’s animated dialogue with other genres and discourses. Poetry generates rich new possibilities, he argues, by absorbing and contending with its near verbal relatives.
Exploring poetry’s vibrant exchanges with other forms of writing, Ramazani shows how poetry assimilates features of prose fiction but differentiates itself from novelistic realism; metabolizes aspects of theory and philosophy but refuses their abstract procedures; and recognizes itself in the verbal precision of the law even as it separates itself from the law’s rationalism. But poetry’s most frequent interlocutors, he demonstrates, are news, prayer, and song. Poets such as William Carlos Williams and W. H. Auden refashioned poetry to absorb the news while expanding its contexts; T. S. Eliot and Charles Wright drew on the intimacy of prayer though resisting its limits; and Paul Muldoon, Rae Armantrout, and Patience Agbabi have played with and against song lyrics and techniques. Encompassing a cultural and stylistic range of writing unsurpassed by other studies of poetry, Poetry and Its Others shows that we understand what poetry is by examining its interplay with what it is not.
Breaking down the walls of the traditional newsroom, Rebuilding the News traces the evolution of news reporting as it moves from print to online. As the business models of newspapers have collapsed, author C. W. Anderson chronicles how bloggers, citizen journalists, and social networks are implicated in the massive changes confronting journalism.
Through a combination of local newsroom fieldwork, social-network analysis, and online archival research, Rebuilding the News places the current shifts in news production in socio-historical context. Focusing on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, Anderson presents a gripping case study of how these papers have struggled to adapt to emerging economic, social, and technological realities.
As he explores the organizational, networked culture of journalism, Anderson lays bare questions about the future of news-oriented media and its evolving relationship with “the public” in the digital age.
In the seven decades from its establishment in 1775 to the commercialization of the electric telegraph in 1844, the American postal system spurred a communications revolution no less far-reaching than the subsequent revolutions associated with the telegraph, telephone, and computer. This book tells the story of that revolution and the challenge it posed for American business, politics, and cultural life.
During the early republic, the postal system was widely hailed as one of the most important institutions of the day. No other institution had the capacity to transmit such a large volume of information on a regular basis over such an enormous geographical expanse. The stagecoaches and postriders who conveyed the mail were virtually synonymous with speed.
In the United States, the unimpeded transmission of information has long been hailed as a positive good. In few other countries has informational mobility been such a cherished ideal. Richard John shows how postal policy can help explain this state of affairs. He discusses its influence on the development of such information-intensive institutions as the national market, the voluntary association, and the mass party. He traces its consequences for ordinary Americans, including women, blacks, and the poor. In a broader sense, he shows how the postal system worked to create a national society out of a loose union of confederated states. This exploration of the role of the postal system in American public life provides a fresh perspective not only on an important but neglected chapter in American history, but also on the origins of some of the most distinctive features of American life today.
Table of Contents: Preface Acknowledgments
The Postal System as an Agent of Change The Communications Revolution Completing the Network The Imagined Community The Invasion of the Sacred The Wellspring of Democracy The Interdiction of Dissent Conclusion
Abbreviations Notes Sources Index
Reviews of this book: "[A] splendid new book...that gives the lie to any notion that 'government' and 'administration' were 'absent' in early America."
--Theda Skocpol, Social Science History
"This well-researched and elegantly written book will become a model for historians attempting to link public policy to cultural and political change...[It] will engage not only historians of the early republic, but all scholars interested in the relationship between state and society."
--John Majewski, Journal of Economic History
"The strength of the book is...the author's ability to untangle the thousands of social, political, economic, and cultural threads of the postal fabric and to rearrange them into a clear and compelling social history."
--Roy Alden Atwood, Journal of American History
"Richard R. John provides an insightful cultural history of the often-overlooked American postal system, concentrating on its preeminent status for long-distance communication between its birth in 1775 and the commercialization of the electric telegraph in 1844...John effectively draws upon government documents, newspapers, travelogues, and contemporary social and political histories to argue that the postal system causes and mirrors dramatic changes in American public life during this period...John focuses his study on the communication revolution of the past, yet his meticulous analysis of the complex motives forming the postal institution and its policies relate to such current controversies as those that surround the transmission of information in cyberspace. These contemporary disputes highlight the power of the government in shaping the communication of the people. John privileges the postal institution as the reigning communication system, yet he links it with the developing ideology of the nation, and the scope of his study ensures its value--in the disciplines of communication studies, literature, history, and political science, among others--as a history of the past and present."
--Sarah R. Marino, Canadian Review of American Studies
"Spreading the News exemplifies the kind of sophisticated and nuanced research that US postal history has long needed. Richard R. John breaks from the internalist, antiquarian tradition characteristic of so many post office histories to place the postal system at the centre of American national development."
--Richard B. Kielbowicz, Business History
"[John] presents a thoroughly researched and well-written book...[which will give] insight into the history of the post office and its impact on American life."
"It is surely true that in Richard John the post has had the good fortune to have found its proper historian, one capable of appreciating the complex design and social importance of the means a people use to distribute information. He has also accomplished the impressive feat of gathering together the pieces of a postal history present elsewhere as so many tiny fragments. John has drawn into a coherent design the stories of postal patronage, the decisions about postal privacy, the incidents along post roads used by others as illustrative anecdotes. John's work has inspired in him a deep appreciation for the accomplishments of the post."
--Ann Fabian, The Yale Review
"John's book explains how the letters and newspapers sent through the post were really the glue that held the early 13 states together and that embraced additional states as the nation expanded westward...It is a splendid attempt to show the importance of mail service in the years before the telegraph or the telephone made at least brief news transmission possible. The postal system of the 19th century really was a factor, perhaps the major factor, in making the United States one nation."
--Richard B. Graham, Linn's Stamp News
"This book traces the central role of the postal system in [its] communications revolution and its contribution to American public life. The author shows how the postal system influenced the establishment of a national society out of a loose union of confederated states. Richard John throws light onto a chapter in American history that is often neglected but sets up the origins of some of the most distinctive features of American life today...The book is a comprehensive study on an important American institution during a critical epoch in its history."
--Monika Plum, Prometheus [UK]
"John has produced an original, well-documented, and thoughtful study that offers alternative and enticing interpretations of Jacksonian policies and public institutions."
For two decades after rock music emerged in the 1940s, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the oldest and largest labor union representing professional musicians in the United States and Canada, refused to recognize rock 'n' roll as legitimate music or its performers as skilled musicians. The AFM never actively organized rock 'n' roll musicians, although recruiting them would have been in the union's economic interest. In Tell Tchaikovsky the News, Michael James Roberts argues that the reasons that the union failed to act in its own interest lay in its culture, in the opinions of its leadership and elite rank-and-file members. Explaining the bias of union members—most of whom were classical or jazz music performers—against rock music and musicians, Roberts addresses issues of race and class, questions of what qualified someone as a skilled or professional musician, and the threat that records, central to rock 'n' roll, posed to AFM members, who had long privileged live performances. Roberts contends that by rejecting rock 'n' rollers for two decades, the once formidable American Federation of Musicians lost their clout within the music industry.
A nation's collective memory does not simply exist. It is created. But what factors influence its form and content? And what roles do the news media play in fashioning our collective memory? Here Jill A. Edy observes the process of negotiating a meaning for the past as it unfolds in the news, exploring the ways that news practices, the relationships between actors who make the news, the expectations of news audiences, and the impact of current events affect the development of collective memories in a mass society.Using the 1965 Watts riots and the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago as case studies, Edy creates a useful framework for understanding how, over time, conflicting versions of events are resolved, what forms the resolutions take, and how those resolutions influence the representation of current news stories. Anyone who is interested in political communication and the role of media in public culture will find a wealth of insights in this valuable new book.
Across America, newspapers that have defined their cities for over a century are rapidly failing, their circulations plummeting even as opinion-soaked web outlets like the Huffington Post thrive. Meanwhile, nightly news programs shock viewers with stories of horrific crime and celebrity scandal, while the smug sarcasm and shouting of pundits like Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann dominate cable television. Is it any wonder that young people are turning away from the news entirely, trusting comedians like Jon Stewart as their primary source of information on current events?
In the face of all the problems plaguing serious news, What Is Happening to News explores the crucial question of how journalism lost its way—and who is responsible for the ragged retreat from its great traditions. Veteran editor and newspaperman Jack Fuller locates the surprising sources of change where no one has thought to look before: in the collision between a revolutionary new information age and a human brain that is still wired for the threats faced by our prehistoric ancestors. Drawing on the dramatic recent discoveries of neuroscience, Fuller explains why the information overload of contemporary life makes us dramatically more receptive to sensational news, while rendering the staid, objective voice of standard journalism ineffective. Throw in a growing distrust of experts and authority, ably capitalized on by blogs and other interactive media, and the result is a toxic mix that threatens to prove fatal to journalism as we know it.
For every reader troubled by what has become of news—and worried about what the future may hold—What Is Happening to News not only offers unprecedented insight into the causes of change but also clear guidance, strongly rooted in the precepts of ethical journalism, on how journalists can adapt to this new environment while still providing the information necessary to a functioning democracy.