An urgent and cogent (if somewhat breathless) reminder that journalistic ethics must attempt to keep pace with the explosive...



Seib (Campaigns and Conscience, not reviewed) examines the professional, commercial, and ethical pressures on the news media exerted by technologies that make the delivery of information both instantaneous and global.

The author worries about the news media’s pervasive preference for reporting events as they are happening: “Going live,” he says, “is exciting and dramatic. But is it good journalism?” His answer, of course, is primarily negative. Unfolding news is news that by definition has not emerged from an editorial process and thereby makes difficult if not impossible the application of the standards of impartiality that have long been the hallmarks of principled journalism. A number of Seib’s questions are patently rhetorical—e.g., “Should emphasis on speed of delivery override judgments about relevance and taste?” Nonetheless, he raises enough serious questions about the rapidly changing news business to sober anyone but Matt Drudge (who appears throughout as a sort of cyber-bogeyman whose gleeful disregard for traditional journalistic ethics Seib finds most reprehensible). One of the author’s principal objectives is to outline the concept of “convergence”—what he considers the inevitable fusion of print, cable television, and Internet news media. He sketches the obvious advantages to consumers of this imminent merger (improvements in “interactivity” and in the dissemination—via online links—of vast amounts of supplementary information) but warns that editorial discretion must play a more prominent role than it currently does among electronic news outlets. He also identifies new responsibilities that citizens must assume in the information age. There is an occasional “gee-whiz” tone in much of Seib’s descriptions of the (unquestionably exciting) possibilities of online news. And current events sometimes undercut him, as well: He declares, for instance, that exit polling has become so precise in presidential elections that 1948-like embarrassments (Dewey Defeats Truman!) are no longer much of a worry.

An urgent and cogent (if somewhat breathless) reminder that journalistic ethics must attempt to keep pace with the explosive technological revolution.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7425-0900-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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