Informing the News The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism

ISBN-10: 0345806603

ISBN-13: 9780345806604

Edition: 2013

Authors: Thomas E. Patterson

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A frank assessment of the failings of journalism today and what needs to be done in order to provide the knowledge-based reporting necessary to maintain the health of our democratic political process.Information is the linchpin to a healthy democracy. Substantive policy debates critically depend on an educated and well-informed public. However, with "balanced" reporting in which equal weight is given to facts and biased opinion, journalists have become part of the problem. Though the failure of the political process cannot rest entirely with the media's shortcomings, it is clear that without a correction in the way journalism is conducted and received, there is little chance of things changing for the better in our public forum.  Patterson proposes constructive changes to improve the quality of journalism today. In order to be relevant journalists can no longer be reporters of facts. Patterson calls for a "knowledge-based journalism" whereby journalists master a level of expertise in order to contextualize stories and not rely on sourced statements as fact. He also realistically approaches the challenges of communicating trustworthy and relevant news into the marketplace and creating an audience for it. In this short, influential study, with the backing of both the Carnegie Corporation and the Knight Foundation, Patterson sets out a necessary call-to-arms for journalists. It speaks not only to professional journalists, but to everyone who is concerned with the fate of the democratic process in America.
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Book details

List price: $22.00
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/8/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.814
Language: English

Thomas E. Patterson is Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was previously distinguished professor of political science in the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. Raised in a small Minnesota town near the Iowa and South Dakota borders, he was educated at South Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota, where he received his Ph.D. in 1971. Currently running the "Vanishing Voter" study at the Kennedy School of Government, which has been widely used in the media and on college campuses, Tom is also the author of six books and dozens of articles, which focus primarily on the media and elections. His book, 'Out of Order'(1994), received national attention when President Clinton said every politician and journalist should be required to read it. An earlier book, 'The Mass Media Election'(1980), received a 'Choice' award as Outstanding Academic Book, 1980-81. Another of Patterson's books, 'The Unseeing Eye'(1976), was recently selected by the American Association for Public Opinion Research as one of the fifty most influential books of the past half century in the field of public opinion. His current research includes a study of White House communication and a study of the news media's role in Western democracies. His work has been funded by major grants from the National Science Foundation, the Markle Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Introduction: The Corruption of Information
The Information Problem
The Source Problem
The Knowledge Problem
The Education Problem
The Audience Problem
The Democracy Problem
Appendix: Knowledge-Based Journalism Resources
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