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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

Genius in Disguise

by Thomas Kunkel

This hugely entertaining biography of the founding editor of The New Yorker tells the diverting story of how Ross and the brilliant group of people he gathered around him--including James Thurber, Charles Addams, Dorothy Parker, and John O'Hara--devised the formula that made the magazine such a popular and critical success. Photos & cartoons.

Letters from the Editor: The New Yorker's Harold Ross

by Thomas Kunkel

These exhilarating letters--selected and introduced by Thomas Kunkel, who wrote Genius in Disguise, the distinguished Ross biography--tell the dramatic story of the birth of The New Yorker and its precarious early days and years. Ross worries about everything from keeping track of office typewriters to the magazine's role in wartime to the exact questions to be asked for a "Talk of the Town" piece on the song "Happy Birthday." We find Ross, in Kunkel's words, "scolding Henry Luce, lecturing Orson Welles, baiting J. Edgar Hoover, inviting Noel Coward and Ginger Rogers to the circus, wheedling Ernest Hemingway-- offering to sell Harpo Marx a used car and James Cagney a used tractor, and explaining to restaurateur-to-the-stars Dave Chasen, step by step, how to smoke a turkey." These letters from a supreme editor tell in his own words the story of the fierce, lively man who launched the world's most prestigious magazine.From the Hardcover edition.

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