BOOK REVIEW: The bad news about current US media

This book offers a critical look at the changes in the news business since 1990 and the impact they have had on American democracy through the eyes of two members of top management at The Washington Post.

This book offers a critical look at the changes in the news business since 1990 and the impact they have had on American democracy through the eyes of two members of top management at The Washington Post.

"Good journalism holds communities together in crisis, providing information and images that constitute shared experience," write the authors. "(B)ad journalism...can leave people dangerously uninformed." The most profound changes the authors discuss are the influx of entertainment-driven values, and fragmentation - with the proliferation of media outlets and market segmentation. The biggest change they touch upon is how the news business shifted away from informing the public and towards making money. The authors are hopeful that the coverage of 9/11 will ignite a period of journalism that tells people "what they need to know to govern themselves effectively and improve their lives." Title The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril Authors Leonard Downie, Jr. and Robert Kaiser Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, 292 pages Reviewed by Joan Michelson, President/CEO of Michelson/ Cooper Marketing

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