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Friday, August 6, 2010

Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy by Alex S. Jones

"the nation's traditional news organizations are being transformed into tabloid news organizations..." (p. 51)

Alex S. Jones is a journalist who has just about seen it all: he has owned and managed a paper, he has written features, he won a Pulitzer Prize, he has taught journalism, he has done radio journalism and he has written several books. He knows of what he writes.

Jones is concerned about the evolution of news gathering services (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines) from expensive investigative work to nonsense tabloid stuff (this week it is Tiger Woods - thanks to serious news organizations I know more than I've ever wanted to know about his wife, his doctor, etc. - but just go out and try to get some solid info about the health care debate!)

He bemoans a number of trends, including the synergy type news that ABC, NBC & CBS do to promote new books, movies or shows. He is concerned that the "iron core" of news is being ignored and is shrinking because it is hard to produce and can be costly. By iron core he means the serious analysis news (not opinion pieces) and investigative journalism that the public can trust. He is also unhappy (but not enough, in my opinion) at advocacy "gotcha" journalism that undermines the public's faith.

He includes a nice history of journalism in America and plenty of first-hand examples from his own family's experiences. His analysis of technological trends is spot-on and ties in neatly with the analysis in the book Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson. At the end of the book he offers some interesting predictions about where news is heading.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Losing the News.

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