Synopses & Reviews
The era of the big-city newspaper as a dependable beacon for the American people is over. A few stalwarts, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, remain true to the mission that has defined them for more than a century, but even they are in jeopardy. And what's happened to the others? Charles Madigan's -30- is the story of the decline of an important institution, the big-city American newspaper, told in a collection of incisive pieces by practitioners of the art and craft of journalism. At heart it's an insider's story, but with serious and vast consequences in the world beyond the newsroom.
"If you have ever loved a newspaper, this book will provide a gut-churning mix of joy and nostalgia, amazement and disgust, and no small sense of fatalism. Award-winning Chicago Tribune reporter Madigan collects a powerful array of commentary from journalists and observers, who enumerate the varied forces driving the decline of newspaper readership: the internet, the consolidation of department stores (and their advertising), metro sprawl, decades of job-cutting and the demise of family ownership; the idea that chain papers have 'slowly carved out the soul of local papers' is repeated throughout. Highlights include a look at the changing face of the New York Times and painful stories of once-great papers like the Philadelphia Enquirer and the LA Times gutted by suits who see themselves 'in conflict with sanctimonious and unrealistic idealists.' The editor of Idaho Falls' Post Register contributes a singular, but too brief, ray of hope in his consideration of small-town dailies (around 1,420 of them) where, under the ownership of smaller companies, honest journalism thrives and profit margins can run in excess of 20 percent. The most daunting questions come from David T.Z. Mindich's examination of the uninformed citizenry: 'making sure young people see themselves as citizens should be the priority of every news executive in the country.' Though it may be too late to reverse the trends examined here, this anthology will inspire a healthy measure of resistance." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)