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


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.


  • 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

Ben DeJarnette is a contributing editor for MediaShift and a freelance journalist living in Portland, OR. His writing has appeared in print and online with Pacific Standard, Men's Journal, InvestigateWest, High Country News, YES! magazine, 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

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