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THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF AMERICA'S NEWSPAPERS

A trenchant and disturbing analysis of the transformation of newspapers from gatherers of news to profitable corporate assets, by the former editor of the Chicago Tribune. While sometimes reflecting outmoded attitudes—journalism is ``an oasis in the desert of capitalism''—Squires writes from a position of authority. The successful editor of the Orlando Sentinel and then of the Chicago Tribune at the time it won its battle with the Chicago Sun-Times, he describes himself in these posts as ``probably the most corporational, the least rigid, the most likely to compromise in the interest of getting all the masters served''; and yet he has become increasingly concerned by the changes in the newspaper industry. When he was first named an editor, in 1976, the average editorial department's share of revenue was 13-15 percent; today it's 10 percent at a good newspaper. Newspapers, Squires believes, no longer compete to produce the best journalism—which he defines as the most accurate portrayal of reality—but compete for the attention of consumers: ``What people want to read, watch and listen to is now more important in the evaluation of `news' than any of the more traditional considerations.'' The rot began, in Squire's view, with the triumph of the views of Al Neuharth of Gannett, who began hosting dinners for analysts and touting the contribution of newspapers to the bottom line. Increasingly, the author says, the notion of the separation between editorial and business has disappeared, other than in a few family-owned newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post. The ``dirty little secret'' is that newspapers don't want circulation: They want advertising. Squires concludes that newspapers are becoming indistinguishable from any other business, and that they are losing the basic justification for their existence. A bleak view of the press by one who's in a position to know.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-8129-2101-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1992

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Outstanding in every respect.

A WILD JUSTICE

THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN AMERICA

When the Supreme Court declined to accept the appeal of a 1963 rape case, Justice Arthur Goldberg published an unusual dissent questioning the constitutionality of the death penalty. From this small beginning, Mandery (John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Q: A Novel, 2011, etc.) skillfully traces the building momentum within the country and the court to question the legality of a punishment the Founding Fathers took for granted.

Indeed, by 1972, in Furman v. Georgia, the court struck down death penalty statutes so similar to those in 40 other states that executions nationwide came to a halt. Disagreement among Furman’s 5-4 majority—was the death penalty “cruel and unusual” punishment under the Eighth Amendment, or was its arbitrary application a violation under the 14th?—and a forceful dissent hinted at a blueprint for states to rewrite their capital-sentencing schemes. By 1976, 35 had done so. In Gregg v. Georgia and its companion cases, the court approved the revised statutes, opening the door to 1,300 state-sponsored executions since. Relying on interviews with law clerks and attorneys, information from economists, criminologists and social scientists, arguments from political and legal scholars, a thorough knowledge of all applicable cases and sure-handed storytelling, Mandery focuses on the strategies of the Legal Defense Fund, the remarkable attorneys who led the charge for abolition, to cover virtually every dimension of the capital punishment debate. The author is especially strong on the individual backgrounds, personalities and judicial philosophies of the justices, the shifting alliances among them and the frustrating contingencies upon which momentous decisions sometimes turn. Even those weary of this topic will be riveted by his insider information about towering figures, lawyers and judges.

Outstanding in every respect.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-393-23958-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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