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Breach of Faith: A Crisis of Coverage in the Age of Corporate Newspapering

by Gene Roberts Thomas Kunkel

Enormous changes have taken place in the newspaper industry in recent years, from the birth of USA Today to the growth of Web-based media, introducing a host of questions about these changes' impact on average American newspapers in particular and on democracy as a whole. Newspaper editor Roberts (New York Times; Philadelphia Inquirer) and a group of journalists have been studying these questions and have released their findings in a pair of volumes. The first, Leaving Readers Behind (2001), focused on the economics of these changes. This second volume focuses on these changes' impact on the content of daily papers. While these eight essays touch on a variety of concerns-declining coverage of statehouse politics even as lobbyists grab more power, increasing coverage of business and sports, and the decrease of national and international coverage-there's an underlying despair that runs throughout them. Modern newspapers are better written and better looking, but they've lost their distinctive flavor, these writers say, that "essential local ingredient" that makes readers loyal. Worse, they avoid important national and most international stories; "a foreign story that doesn't involve bombs, natural disasters, or financial calamity" rarely makes it into the news. Focus group researchers argue that this trend mirrors readers' preferences, yet many of these essays insist that to maintain an informed electorate, newspapers need to refocus on hard news and let the accountants worry about the bottom line. J-school students and media policy makers will benefit greatly from this wise collection. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. -- From Publishers Weekly

The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation

by Gene Roberts Hank Klibanoff

An unprecedented examination of how news stories, editorials and photographs in the American press--and the journalists responsible for them--profoundly changed the nation's thinking about civil rights in the South during the 1950s and '60s. <P><P> Roberts and Klibanoff draw on private correspondence, notes from secret meetings, unpublished articles, and interviews to show how a dedicated cadre of newsmen--black and white--revealed to a nation its most shameful shortcomings that compelled its citizens to act. Meticulously researched and vividly rendered, The Race Beat is an extraordinary account of one of the most calamitous periods in our nation's history, as told by those who covered it.<P> Pulitzer Prize Winner

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