What they knew was that the public no longer trusted the press as it once had. They were keenly aware of the pressures that advertisers and new technologies were putting on newsrooms around the country. But, more than anything, they were aware that readers, listeners, and viewers the people who use the news were turning away from it in droves. On television, there were the ads that looked like news shows and programs that presented gossip and press releases as if they were news. There were the docudramas, television movies that were an uneasy blend of fact and fiction and which purported to show viewers how events had really happened.

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Shelves: about-writing , bazin The Elements of Journalism has generally good advice, but it lacks conviction and uses strangely inappropriate examples. It asks journalists to aspire to the scientific method, but without the socially hard work that the scientific method entails, such as telling your readers how to falsify your work.

And the examples it uses are self-defeating, if it is to be taken at face value. This despite that Protess broke many of the rules in the section. That may have been a good story, but it was poor placement in the book. It made me think about basic concepts in new ways and clarified a lot of things that were muddled to me before. Dec 28, Lisa Rau rated it really liked it Really more for those entrenched in journalism and public service rather than the everyday consumer, but a compelling and thorough review of the basic building blocks of "good journalism.

Another book on this I have a short list of English language non-fiction books that I think are absolutely required reading for anyone to have a proper idea of the human condition - especially in so-called developed societies - in the early 20th century. There are other books that would appear, but the above are my top 3.

I bring this up because I want to add one: The Elements of Journalism. We are at a time when journalism - or at least the potential to perform journalism - has become democratized in ways previously never thought possible.

There are more "journalists" and outlets supposedly performing "journalism" than ever existed in history before. There are more people and outlets posing as journalistic. There is more coverage of "news" than ever previously thought possible. But, despite this, it seems to many people, myself included, as if it is getting harder and harder to find what we recognize as good journalism, or even as passable journalism.

The real deal is getting lost in "infotainment" and other far more well-meaning, but unfortunately amateur attempts at the real thing. As an aside, the authors cite studies which show that the audience does indeed recognize the lack of quality journalism, and will complain, but these studies are based on relative assessments - for example one local TV news station against another - and are focused on people who regularly watch the news, not a majority of people.

The authors argue that it is more important than ever to define journalism. But more importantly, to me anyway, they make a compelling case that journalism - of the kind they defend - is necessary for the successful functioning of any democracy. The authors identify 10 elements. Much of this is quoted verbatim. It attempts to get at the truth in a confused world by first stripping information of any attached misinformation, disinformation, or self-promoting bias and then letting the community react, with the sorting-out process to ensue.

The search for truth becomes a conversation. This definition helps reconcile the way we use the words true and false every day with the way we deconstruct those words in the petri dish of philosophical debate.


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