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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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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