ABC-CLIO

Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World

How Late-Night Comedians, Internet Trolls, and Savvy Reporters Are Transforming News

by Ed Madison and Ben DeJarnette
Foreword by Frank Sesno

 

Alternative facts. Fake news. Filter bubbles. Propaganda. The truth is messy in the digital age. Find out how journalists are adapting, and what they're doing to earn back the public's trust.

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Cover image for Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World

February 2018

Praeger

Pages 184
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Current Events and Issues/New Media and Journalism
  Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio
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In a world of "alternative facts" and "post-truth" politics, producing public-interest journalism is more important than ever—but also more complex. This book examines how journalism is evolving to meet the demands of the digital media ecosystem, where lies often spread faster than truth, and where modern news consumers increasingly expect journalism to be a conversation, not a lecture.

While the 2016 U.S. presidential election delivered a stunning result, the news media's breathless coverage of it was no surprise. News networks turned debates into primetime entertainment, reporters spent more time covering poll results than public policy issues, and the cozy relationship between journalists and political insiders helped ensure intrigue and ratings, even as it eroded journalism's role as democracy's "Fourth Estate." Against this sobering backdrop, a broadcast news veteran and a millennial news hound consider how journalism can regain the public's trust by learning from pioneers both within and beyond the profession. Connecting the dots between faux news, fake news, and real news, coauthors Madison and DeJarnette provide an unflinching analysis of where mainstream journalism went wrong—and what the next generation of reporters can do to make it right.

The significance of Donald Trump's presidency is not lost on the authors, but Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World is not a post-mortem of the 2016 presidential election, nor is it a how-to guide for reporting on Trump's White House. Instead, this accessible and engaging book offers a broader perspective on contemporary journalism, pairing lively anecdotes with insightful analysis of long-term trends and challenges. Drawing on their expertise in media innovation and entrepreneurship, the authors explore how comedians like John Oliver, Trevor Noah, and Samantha Bee are breaking (and reshaping) the rules of political journalism; how legacy media outlets like The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The New York Times are retooling for the digital age; and how newcomers like Vice, Hearken, and The Correspondent are innovating new models for reporting and storytelling. Anyone seeking to make sense of modern journalism and its intersections with democracy will want to read this book.

Features

  • Examines the historical roots of journalism’s crisis while pushing the conversation toward promising experiments and solutions
  • Offers insights from digital-era disruptors and innovators, as well as long-time veterans of the news business
  • Provides context for the 2016 election’s “fake news” phenomenon and explains—in clear and compelling prose—what savvy journalists are doing to rebuild trust in the real thing
Author Info

Ed Madison, PhD, is assistant professor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in Eugene, OR. He began his media career at age 16, as an intern at the CBS affiliate television station in Washington, DC, during the Watergate scandal. Shortly after completing his undergraduate degree at Emerson College, he was recruited to join the team that launched CNN as executive producer. For 23 years, Madison produced programs for CBS, ABC, A&E, Paramount, Disney, and Discovery. He is the author of Newsworthy: Cultivating Critical Thinkers, Readers, and Writers in Language Arts Classrooms. His website is edmadison.com.

Ben DeJarnette is an engagement strategist and freelance journalist living in Portland, OR. His writing has appeared in print and online with Pacific Standard, Men's Journal, InvestigateWest, High Country News, MediaShift, Oregon Quarterly, and others. In 2015, he earned his master's degree in media studies from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. His website is bendejarnette.com.

Reviews/Endorsements

Endorsements

"That journalism in the United States and worldwide is in a deep and seemingly worsening crisis is becoming increasingly clear. The business model of commercial journalism is in its death throes, yet societies desperately need this grand public good if any semblance of democracy or freedom is to survive. Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World is a hearty attempt to take stock of the swirling changes, make the best of a very bad situation, and rethink journalism by reconfiguring the existing cast of characters, institutions, and options. It is a necessary contribution to a larger conversation our entire society, not just the journalism community, needs to have. The sooner, the better.”—Robert W. McChesney, Gutgsell Endowed Professor, Department of Communication,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Coauthor, The Death and Life of American Journalism

“This refreshing look at journalism’s current quandaries is a concise chronicle of the anti-media, anti-fact world journalism must now navigate. More than bemoan how fake news and political propaganda are impersonating journalism, the authors offer solutions that need to be more seriously embraced than past journalism reform efforts.”—Jan Schaffer, J-Lab Executive Director, American University

“Fake news, declining trust in institutions, eroding business models—journalism faces challenges from every quarter, but the need for accurate news and information to cut through the noise and enlighten the public is essential for our democracy. The deep research of Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World provides illuminating context for understanding the obstacles confronting the industry and assembles a foundation of useful ideas that may help lift journalism, and our society, into a better future.” —Michael D. Bolden, Managing Director, Editorial and Operations, JSK Journalism Fellowships, Stanford University

“Amid the change that has become media’s only constant, Ed Madison and Ben DeJarnette offer journalism’s champions a chance to consider what’s been won and lost in the internet revolution—and what lessons mean most. Their take offers critical context on trends that blossomed and died, theories that dominated and receded and—beyond the flash—innovation with real promise. In considering fundamental purpose as well as financial reality, the authors amplify the central and urgent question of how journalism can succeed and thrive best: by connecting directly with the public it aims to serve.”—Melanie Sill, News Strategist and Former Content Chief at The Sacramento Bee, The News & Observer and KPCC-Southern California Public Radio

Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World is an impressively comprehensive overview of the news industry’s challenges and opportunities in a sharply divided America. The book compellingly argues that journalists must champion the truth and actively demonstrate their value to a skeptical public if the Fourth Estate hopes to fulfill its mission as a public good in the digital age.”—Jake Batsell, Associate Professor, Southern Methodist University, and Author, Engaged Journalism: Connecting with Digitally Empowered News Audiences

“This book is an extraordinary collection of critical commentary, careful documentation, and imaginative predictions about journalism. In an era when journalism as a profession is being challenged by political leaders, citizen reporters, comedians, and academics, the authors create a platform to step back and re-think its role in society.”—Diane Gayeski, PhD, Dean and Professor of Strategic Communications, Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College

“We are at a critical time when it comes to trust in media—or lack thereof—and Reimagining Journalism comes along at the right time. It’s a tough look at our current predicament, with news media being attacked by the president, and with more power wielded by social networks like Facebook. The authors’ focus on solutions and people who stand out is the right way to tackle this massive issue, and they do a great job pointing us to a better future.”—Mark Glaser, Executive Director, MediaShift.org

Other Titles of Interest

No Questions Asked cover imageThe Media Effect cover imageCan Journalism Be Saved? cover image
How Racism and Sexism Killed Traditional Media cover imageJournalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present cover imageAll the Presidents' Spokesmen cover image

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