Synopses & Reviews
At a time when mainstream news media are hemorrhaging and doomsayers are predicting the death of journalism, take heart: the First Amendment is alive and well in small towns across America. In Emus Loose in Egnar
, award-winning journalist Judy Muller takes the reader on a grassroots tour of rural American newspapers, from an Indian reservation in Montana to the Alaska tundra to Marthaand#8217;s Vineyard, and discovers that many weeklies are not just surviving, but thriving.and#160;In these small towns, stories can range from club news to Klan news, from broken treaties to broken hearts, from banned books to escaped emus; they document the births, deaths, crimes, sports, and local shenanigans that might seem to matter only to those who live there. And yet, as this book shows us, these and#8220;littleand#8221; stories create a mosaic of American life that tells us a great deal about who we areand#8212;what moves us, angers us, amuses us.and#160;Filled with characters both quirky and courageous, the book is a heartening reminder that there is a different kind of and#8220;bottom lineand#8221; in the hearts of journalists who keep churning out good stories, week after week, for the corniest of reasons: that our freedoms depend on it.and#160;
"This collection highlights journalism's role as a crucial component of democracy and an institution that needs to be reinvigorated... anyone concerned about the state of journalism should read this book."
Bold, meditative, engrossing, this is an indispensable guide for followers of modern media.”
[I]nformative and concise
A well-curated collection of essays on the decline of the newspaper industry and the future of journalism.”
andquot;The firsthand look of the author, who was one of the first women reporters at the Omaha World-Herald, is a memorable journey into the lives of little-known trailblazers in our society.andquot;andmdash;Creighton AlumWire
"I love reading this history and being deeply grateful that I belong, even barely and peripherally, to this extraordinary cadre of Nebraska women in journalism."and#8212;Ruth Thone, Lincoln Journal Star
andquot;Eileen Wirth's book is a treasure not to be missed by lovers of history, journalism or civil rights.andquot;andmdash;Book Nook, Omaha Public Library
andquot;This book makes an important contribution to regional and United States womenand#39;s history and should be ready by anyone who wants to understand journalism in the Great Plains.andquot;andmdash;Tracy Lucht, South Dakota History
and#8220;An inventory of inspiring and real-life stories of remarkable groundbreaking women journalists. . . . This book should resonate with women everywhere who seek to use the full range of their abilities and still lead fulfilling personal lives. And it is not just for women!and#8221;and#8212;Chuck Hagel, former U.S. senator from Nebraska
and#8220;This is a must-read story of Nebraska women journalistsand#8217; efforts to gain respect and credibility in a field that was dominated by men. Wirth uses her firsthand experiences to help tell the stories of the little-known Nebraska trailblazers who preceded her. Placing the stories in the context of their eras, Wirth makes observations that will entertain and enlighten both male and female readers as she documents the progress.and#8221;and#8212;Ruth E. Brown, president of Nebraska Press Women, 2008and#8211;12
"[Emus Loose in Egnar is an] engaging account of local journalism outside the major urban hubs. Without the muscle of a big-city newspaperand#8212;or the benefit of working at arm's length from public officials and advertisersand#8212;the passionate lunatics who put out America's small-town weeklies labor to keep local politicians honest while coping with anger, threats, pleading, exhaustion, poverty and, often, instead of gratitude, cold shoulders from neighbors on the checkout line at the IGA."and#8212;Daniel Akst, Wall Street Journal
"Very occasionally under threat of violence, more often facing social isolation or financial pressure, these rural journalists' devotion to truth-telling keeps the First Amendment alive and communities connected in grassroots America."and#8212;Kirkus
"A read through this rather gentle, inquisitive look at small-town weekly newspapers could be beneficial to your health. It may even lower your big city blood pressure."and#8212;Jonathan Rickard, New York Journal of Books
and#8220;Spiced up with rich portraits of curmudgeons, quirky editors, and pugnacious reporters, Mullerand#8217;s compelling and endearing defense of small town journalism proves the value of thinking globally while writing locally.and#8221;and#8212;ForeWord Magazine
and#8220;Readers of this book, which is a rare combination of important and entertaining, will be surprised to discover how much small-towners have to teach the rest of us about life, and how much their local weekly newspapers have to teach big-city news media about survival.and#8221;and#8212;Bill Geist, correspondent for CBS News Sunday Morning and best-selling author of Way Off the Road: Discovering the Peculiar Charms of Small-Town America
and#8220;Emus Loose in Egnar is what Mark Twain might have written if he had taken better care of himself and lived long enough to meet the collection of loners and lunatics in this book. I laughed until I cried, because I have been there.and#8221;and#8212;Richard Reeves, author of Daring Young Men and the founding editor of the Phillipsburg (NJ) Free Press
In response to mounting concerns about the future of the press, an outpouring of lively debate and proposals for alternative models of journalism has exploded across journals of opinion, the blogosphere, and academic publications. Despite this proliferation, a comprehensive overview of this new terrain has been noticeably missingjust what will the world look like without newspapers.
Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lightsoffers the first roadmap to this crucially important new debate, in a concise and accessible introduction to the current schools of thought emerging in response to the journalism crisis, with contributions by the leading media analysts writing today.
The sudden meltdown of the news media has sparked one of the liveliest debates in recent memory, with an outpouring of opinion and analysis crackling across journals, the blogosphere, and academic publications. Yet, until now, we have lacked a comprehensive and accessible introduction to this new and shifting terrain.
In Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights, celebrated media analysts Robert W. McChesney and Victor Pickard have assembled thirty-two illuminating pieces on the crisis in journalism, revised and updated for this volume. Featuring some of todays most incisive and influential commentators, this comprehensive collection contextualizes the predicament faced by the news media industry through a concise history of modern journalism, a hard-hitting analysis of the structural and financial causes of news medias sudden collapse, and deeply informed proposals for how the vital role of journalism might be rescued from impending disaster.
Sure to become the essential guide to the journalism crisis, Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights is both a primer on the news media today and a chronicle of a key historical moment in the transformation of the press.
Eileen M. Wirth never set out to be a groundbreaker for women in journalism, but if she wanted to report on social issues instead of society news, she had no alternative. Her years as one of the first women reporters at the Omaha World-Herald
, covering gender barriers even as she broke a few herself, give Wirth an especially apt perspective on the women profiled in this book: those Nebraskans who, over a hundred years, challenged traditional feminine roles in journalism and subtly but surely changed the world.
The book features remarkable women journalists who worked in every venue, from rural weeklies to TV. They fought for the vote, better working conditions for immigrants, and food safety at the turn of the century. They covered wars from the Russian Revolution to Vietnam. They were White House reporters and minority journalists who crusaded for civil rights. Though Willa Cather may be the only household name among them, all are memorable, their stories affording a firsthand look into the history of journalism and social change.
About the Author
Robert W. McChesney
is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of several books on the media, including the award-winning Rich Media, Poor Democracy
, and a co-editor (with Ben Scott) of Our Unfree Press: 100 Years of Radical Media Criticism
(both available from The New Press). He lives in Urbana, Illinois.
Victor Pickard is an assistant professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. His research on the politics and history of media has been published widely in anthologies and scholarly journals. He lives in New York City.