Executive editor Mike Hoyt of the Columbia Journalism Review made this ironic statement: "The search for a future for serious reporting is the journalism story of our time." While the idea of a gripping, front-page news story about journalism itself may be comical, the dramatic decline of the news industry is certainly no joke.
This book challenges the once-dominant social responsibility model and argues that a new, "individual-first" paradigm is what will allow journalism to survive in today's crowded media marketplace.
By some measures, it would seem that print journalism is dying. Journalism recently suffered one of its worst circulation declines in years: a drop of more than ten percent in the a six month period ending September 30, 2009. The Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO, closed its doors in 2009—after it dominated the AP awards in 2008, and was lauded for an investigative expose on unfair treatment of former nuclear workers. Even the New York Times and the Washington Post are experiencing financial trouble. But print advertising revenue still trumps online advertising revenue ten-fold. Is there hope yet for traditional journalism?
This book reviews the complicated challenge facing journalism, tracing its 19th-century community-oriented origins and documenting the vast expansion of the news business via blogs and other Internet-enabled outlets, user-generated content, and news-like alternatives. The author argues that a radical shift in mindset—striving to meet each individual's demands for what he wants to know—will be necessary to save journalism.
• Presents a chronological review of the top-down influence model, the timeline of the evolution of the definition of news, and the historical development of social responsibility of the press
• Contains helpful illustrations of the proposed new models of journalism
• Bibliography of academic and professional materials related to the state of the news media
• Index of important institutions including nameplate news organizations, influential companies (e.g., Apple and Google), theoretical frameworks, media owners, and media startups
• Reviews the theory of—and establishes the failures of—the social responsibility model of journalism and showcases its practical implementation via new journalistic products
• Addresses the critical concept of communicating with individuals to provide what people want to know, and explains why meeting this need is critical to saving quality journalism in America
• Highlights a potential new business model for journalism in today's multimedia environment