Books by Edwin Diamond

Released: Jan. 1, 1994

Gossipy, albeit exhaustive and substantive, status report on the New York Times from a perceptive observer of major media who teaches journalism at NYU. Diamond (The Media Show, 1991; The Spot, 1984, etc.) offers a shrewd appraisal of a once-august icon of the fourth estate that appears to have reached several crossroads. In his informed opinion, the world-class daily is attempting (with as yet ambiguous results) to reconcile the often conflicting demands of management's national aspirations with the realities of a marketplace now peopled by upscale nonreaders rather than the intelligent, well- educated elites who long read the paper as a matter of course. Among other consequences, the author notes, the Times has not only rediscovered its N.Y.C. roots but has attempted to enhance its appeal for affluent members of a generation raised on TV—by, among other measures, stressing service-oriented features. In probing the efforts of a news-gathering institution to make itself user- friendly in a brave new tuned-in, switched-on, real-time environment, Diamond dishes up generous measures of both name- dropping chat and hard-hitting analysis. In recounting how some individuals made it to the top of the editorial and business ladders, for instance, he doesn't shy from discussing what kept less successful rivals on lower rungs or, in certain circumstances, drove them from the company. The author also evaluates the paper's critical biases; suggests ways that the Book Review's bestseller lists could be rigged; provides tips on getting an op-ed piece published; explains how the Times makes sociology of sensational crime stories; supplies anecdotal evidence on the collegial gravity with which political endorsements are bestowed; and relates the pains the parent organization has taken to ensure cultural/gender diversity within its ranks. The times, they are a-changin'...but Diamond manages to capture the varied anxieties and discontents besetting a great newspaper as it tries to keep pace. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 15, 1991

A slick and none-too-deep look by Diamond (Journalism/N.Y.U.; The Spot, 1984; Sign Off, 1982) at how the media, particularly TV, cover the news. Expanding on his work as a media columnist for New York magazine, Diamond offers a wide-ranging set of essays that tantalize with their wit and expertise yet resemble the quick- moving TV news-reports that leave out more than they include. For instance, his discussion of how the recent sale of the networks to bottom-line conglomerates has lowered news quality seems shallow compared to that offered by Ben H. Bagdikian in The Media Monopoly (revised edition, 1990—not reviewed). After exploring some consequences of the networks' lessening of their ``commitment to serious news and public affairs coverage,'' Diamond discusses the war between news anchors, fought through style, graphics, and demographics. He devotes the bulk of his study, though, to media coverage of notorious news stories and to various media slants: the Tawana Brawley case, the Central Park jogger case, media idolatry of John Gotti, media willingness to fuel political scandal, media bias toward Japan, and media praise of certainly personalities (Lee Iacocca, Jackie Kennedy, etc.) that transforms them into ``The Unknockables.'' Also discussed is the effectiveness of CNN's coverage compared to that of the networks (``CNN has in a way become `the network of record,' sensibly stressing the importance of the news rather than the star appeal of the messenger''). Well written and lively, but lacking profundity and a skeptical edge. Read full book review >