Just the Facts How Objectivity Came to Define American Journalism

ISBN-10: 081475614X
ISBN-13: 9780814756140
Edition: 1998
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Description: There is a growing unhappiness about the direction of news coverage. Readers and viewers want 'objectivity' back. The first step toward doing that is to understand where 'objective' journalism came from in the first place. Just the Facts is a good  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.00
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 7/1/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 200
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.638

There is a growing unhappiness about the direction of news coverage. Readers and viewers want 'objectivity' back. The first step toward doing that is to understand where 'objective' journalism came from in the first place. Just the Facts is a good place to begin.--Jonathan Alter, The Washington Monthly"Superb. . . . Mindich links history to contemporary practice by examining the current debate about objectivity through his 100-year-old lens."--Steve Weinberg, The Christian Science Monitor"Mindich offers an engaging discussion of how each of these characteristics [of objectivity] emerged in nineteenth century journalism. . . . shows a conversance with current scholarship rare among journalism historians."--James Boylan, Columbia Journalism ReviewIf American journalism were a religion, as it has been called, then its supreme deity would be "objectivity." The high priests of the profession worship the concept, while the iconoclasts of advocacy journalism, new journalism, and cyberjournalism consider objectivity a golden calf. Meanwhile, a groundswell of tabloids and talk shows and the increasing infringement of market concerns make a renewed discussion of the validity, possibility, and aim of objectivity a crucial pursuit.Despite its position as the orbital sun of journalistic ethics, objectivityuntil nowhas had no historian. David T. Z. Mindich reaches back to the nineteenth century to recover the lost history and meaning of this central tenet of American journalism. His book draws on high profile cases, showing the degree to which journalism and its evolving commitment to objectivity alteredand in some cases limitedthe public's understanding of events and issues. Mindich devotes each chapter to a particular component of this ethicdetachment, nonpartisanship, the inverted pyramid style, facticity, and balance. Through this combination of history and cultural criticism, Mindich provides a profound meditation on the structure, promise, and limits of objectivity in the age of cybermedia.

A former assignment editor for CNN, DAVID MINDICH has also written for the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, and New York Newsday.

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