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Discovering The News: A Social History Of American Newspapers
This instructive and entertaining social history of American newspapers shows that the very idea of impartial, objective “news” was the social product of the democratization of political, economic, and social life in the nineteenth century. Professor Schudson analyzes the shifts in reportorial style over the years and explains why the belief among journalists and readers ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 13th 1981 by Basic Books
(first published 1978)
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Excellent social history of the news, with a particularly insightful discussion of the invention of "objectivity" in U.S. journalism. In tracing the history of an idea, Schudson challenges the assumption that objectivity in journalism has always existed and that is always worth striving for.
This is as the title suggests as history of American newspapers from the early days of independence when newspapers tended to be printed almost exclusively for commercial interests, e.g. shipping arrivals, departures & lading & local commercial messages. It details the successive interpretations of what purpose newspapers served & how journalism was defined which to a large extent consisted of the variation from "just the facts: who or what, where, & when" to the need for context ...more
Every single journalism student and media-minded person should be required to read this book. It is a brilliant, timely, and expansive social history of journalism as an industry and as a social institution. Many, if not all, of the problems and issues that have discussed and debated in recent years are either mentioned or addressed in this prophetic work by Schudson.
Michael Schudson grew up in Milwaukee, Wisc. He received a B.A. from Swarthmore College and M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard. He taught at the University of Chicago from 1976 to 1980 and at the University of California, San Diego from 1980 to 2009. From 2005 on, he split his teaching between UCSD and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, becoming a full-time member of the ...more
“Objectivity, in this sense, means that a person's statements about the world can be trusted if they are submitted to established rules deemed legitimate by a professional community. Facts here are not aspects of the world, but consensually validated statements about it.”
“But into the first decades of the twentieth century, even at the New York Times, it was uncommon for journalists to see a sharp divide between facts and values. Yet the belief in objectivity is just this: the belief that one can and should separate facts from values. Facts, in this view, are assertions about the world open to independent validation. They stand beyond the distorting influences of any individual's personal preferences. Values, in this view, are an individual's conscious or unconscious preferences for what the world should be; they are seen as ultimately subjective and so without legitimate claim on other people. The belief in objectivity is a faith in "facts," a distrust of "values," and a commitment to their segregation.”More quotes…