Really fascinating look at how to revamp a student newspaper into an institution that can carry its own financial weight. Many mainstream newspapers have failed at this, but within the unique environment of a college or university there may be models that are effective.
“What we’re seeing out of our newsroom is exactly what you’d hope: Strong, smart journalists tend to be creative problem solvers who really understand their audiences. So they’re borrowing ideas from all over the place and coming up with many of their own. Some of that is practical — our incoming editor understands that our rent is too high, and is figuring out how we can move into a smaller space without sacrificing quality or operations, for example. Some of it is experimental — for example, we appreciate that our audience at UNC is a desirable demographic, and if we can project their behaviors, identify messages or communication styles that resonate with them, and document their preferences, that is information that has huge value for marketing firms.”
Walter Lippmann spent a lifetime worrying about the quality of journalism. In the first decades of the 20th century his observations and firsthand experiences had led him to a dismal view of the possibilities of the press in a democratic society. Lippmann placed the Jeffersonian ideal of the press next to reality: besieged on all sides by propaganda, new communication technologies and the personal limitations of newsworkers, the press of the day could not be counted on to fully and truthfully inform American citizens. In his view, only disinterested and informed journalists could hope to provide the text of “the bible of democracy.” 100 years later, what would Lippmann say? Patterson’s book attempts to tell us. [Read more…]
My exploration into Lippmann’s thought has continued despite my hiatus from this blog. With any luck I will be more consistently involved with developing my findings here and exploring potential ideas for research projects including, but not limited to, my dissertation [Read More…]
I’m working on a Lippmann reading list, so in the next month or more it is likely some of the ideas I encounter while reading his books will appear on this blog. My focus on his thought is related to a study I will be doing this spring that is still taking shape but will be related to religious currents at the turn of the century until pre-WWII that influenced journalism practice and social thought. I also hope to relate these currents to specific events, such as the Scopes Trial, to illustrate the tensions between the new spirit of American Pragmatism and fundamentalist religion. Lippmann’s commentary on these “countervailing” tendencies is crucial for this study. [Read More…]
What role does the press play in a democracy? Many would agree that it serves a critical “watchdog” function as a “fourth estate” that keeps an eye on the three branches of government to ensure responsibility and accountability. It also provides vital information about local, national, and international events to enable citizens to be informed participants in governing themselves. But what if this standard was unattainable, and not only because of the press but because of the impossibility of digesting the massive amount of information coming from the media? In this book, one of the most prominent public figures of the 20th century tackles these questions, critiques the state of journalism, and poses fundamental questions about the role of the press in the democratic process. [Read More…]
Crisis on Campus, by Mark C. Taylor, is an extension of an editorial he wrote for the NY Times critical of higher education in the U.S. today. Specifically, he believes that the colleges and universities in America rely on a model that has been static for hundreds of years and no longer fits the global environment it finds itself in today. [Read More…]
A word of introduction is in order. This site is intended to be a space for me to review interesting books I read and to explore topics that relate to my studies in communication and religion. There is little doubt many other topics will also find their way in, simply because of the wide reach of both my primary research topics and the compulsion I feel to comment on other interesting subjects.
Thanks for stopping by.