A well-curated collection of essays on the decline of the newspaper industry and the future of journalism.
Edited by McChesney (Communications/Univ. of Illinois; co-author: The Death and Life of American Journalism, 2010, etc.) and Pickard (Media, Culture, and Communication/New York Univ.), the book addresses topics ranging from content mills and the rise of “citizen journalism” to social justice in the media and conservative investigative journalism. Varying in tone from the breezy and snappy (Clay Shirky’s “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable”) to the heavily footnoted and academic (Pickard’s “Revisiting the Road Not Taken: A Social Democratic Vision of the Press”), these essays give rise to two general conclusions: 1) though the collapse of paper newspapers does not have to mean the destruction of journalism, it is unlikely that it can survive absent a supporting institution; 2) that government financial support of the newspaper industry, which has a historical basis, may be the answer to the crisis in journalism. Most of the essays are informative and concise, but they often appear with little context. Aside from a brief introduction to the book and three very brief introductions to each section, readers must sort through the sometimes contradictory conclusions drawn by the essays. This spare editorial apparatus suggests that this book, though certainly accessible to the average reader, will most likely be purchased by students assigned to read it for a class, where a professor and classmates can provide a certain amount of guidance. In The Death and Life of American Journalism, McChesney addressed similar questions and offered similar answers.
Current and often enlightening—of particular interest to academic libraries—but not essential.