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The News About the News:
There's good news and bad news. That's the inside scoop on the state of journalism from Washington Post editors Leonard Downie Jr. and Robert G. Kaiser, whose book The News About the News sheds light on the changes wrought on the profession during the late 20th century. Using the clear, sharp prose emblematic of their craft, the authors examine the effects of changing business standards, the merger of news and entertainment, and--of course--the Internet explosion on how reporting is produced and consumed. Their verdict is that thoroughly researched, unbiased stories on vital topics not only provide a public service but also will sell papers and commercials. This is, of course, a welcome call to arms for reporters, editors, readers, and viewers to demand higher-quality work from news providers. It's hard to find flaws in their arguments; though they are mildly print-chauvinistic, they recognize the problems of their own medium just as much as radio, TV, and the Web. Readers of The News About the News will find themselves better able to evaluate journalism and, perhaps, to help create a demand for good news. --Rob Lightner [via]