Synopses & Reviews
In Losing the News
, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex S. Jones offers a probing look at the epochal changes sweeping the media, changes which are eroding the core news that has been the essential food supply of our democracy.
At a time of dazzling technological innovation, Jones says that what stands to be lost is the fact-based reporting that serves as a watchdog over government, holds the powerful accountable, and gives citizens what they need. In a tumultuous new media era, with cutthroat competition and panic over profits, the commitment of the traditional news media to serious news is fading. Indeed, as digital technology shatters the old economic model, the news media is making a painful passage that is taking a toll on journalistic values and standards. Journalistic objectivity and ethics are under assault, as is the bastion of the First Amendment. Jones characterizes himself not as a pessimist about news, but a realist. The breathtaking possibilities that the web offers are undeniable, but at what cost? Pundits and talk show hosts have persuaded Americans that the crisis in news is bias and partisanship. Not so, says Jones. The real crisis is the erosion of the iron core of news, something that hurts Republicans and Democrats alike.
Losing the News depicts an unsettling situation in which the American birthright of fact-based, reported news is in danger. But it is also a call to arms to fight to keep the core of news intact.
Praise for the hardcover:
--New York Times Book Review
"An impassioned call to action to preserve the best of traditional newspaper journalism."
--The San Francisco Chronicle
"Must reading for all Americans who care about our country's present and future. Analysis, commentary, scholarship and excellent writing, with a strong, easy-to-follow narrative about why you should care, makes this a candidate for one of the best books of the year."
"Thoughtful."--New York Times Book Review
"An impassioned call to action to preserve the best of traditional newspaper journalism."--The San Francisco Chronicle
"Penetrating analysis of an industry in turmoil."--The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"In a style both compellingly personal and fully professional, Jones provides a concise social history of news, ethics and First Amendment issues. He then grapples with some fundamental questions. Is news, as presented by professional journalists, as essential to democracy as we tell ourselves? Can it survive on its own in a marketplace where the advertising subsidy is waning and the accompanying entertainment segments are being unbundled and peddled separately?" --American Journalism Review
"Alex Jones's Losing the News is an important book. It is insightful and highly readable, at a level only a great journalist and master storyteller such as Jones could achieve with this subject. This isn't a book for or about just journalists and their profession. It's must reading for all Americans who care about our country's present and future. Analysis, commentary, scholarship and excellent writing, with a strong, easy-to-follow narrative about why you should care, makes this a candidate for one of the best books of the year."--Dan Rather
"No one knows more about journalism than Alex Jones. No one watches it more scrupulously. No one cares more deeply for its future. Losing the News also proves that no one writes of the subject more persuasively or more beautifully. Journalism could have no surer champion."--Roger Rosenblatt
"Drawing on his unique experiences as a prize-winning reporter, director of the major center on politics and the press, and fourth generation of a newspaper-owning family, Alex Jones provides an authoritative account of why journalism is vital, how it has lost its bearings, and which can be done to reinvigorate this essential foundation of a democratic society."--Howard Gardner, Harvard University
"Losing the News reviews the role of news media in a democracy to set the stage for chapters assessing particular aspects. These include discussion of the fragile First Amendment, objectivity's last stand, media ethics, the curious story of news, the crumbling role of traditional newspapers, the newer media, and what can - and should - happen." --Communication Booknotes Quarterly
About the Author
Alex S. Jones
is one of the nation's most frequently cited authorities on media issues. He covered the press for The New York Times
from 1983 to 1992 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. For the past eight years he has been Director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy and is the Laurence M. Lombard Lecturer in the Press and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is co-author with Susan E. Tifft of The Patriarch: The Rise and Fall of the Bingham Dynasty
and The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times
, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award. He has been host of National Public Radio's On The Media
, and host and executive editor of PBS's Media Matters
Table of Contents
Preface: Updated Preface for Paperback Edition
Prologue: The Crisis
Chapter 1: The Iron Core
Chapter 2: Media and Democracy
Chapter 3: Objectivity's Last Stand
Chapter 4: Media Ethics- The Painful Balance
Chapter 5: My Family's Story
Chapter 6: The Curious History of the News Business
Chapter 7: The Fragile First Amendment
Chapter 8: The Newspaper Question
Chapter 9: The New News Media
Chapter 10: Preserving The Core