A Crisis of Coverage in the Age of Corporate Newspapering
Roberts, Editor in Chief
and Thomas Kunkel, General Editor
Veteran journalists report on their own industry's
threat to democracy.
has happened to the news? Over the past decade, there has
been a major shift in newspaper coverage. Many newspaper executives,
paring costs and badly misreading public appetites, have cut
back dramatically on all types of public-affairs reporting.
Fewer reporters than ever are assigned to the statehouse or
the White House, to city hall or foreign capitals. Too often
celebrity gossip and movie tips take the place of serious
journalism instead of existing alongside it. Newspapers once
operated under a mandate to provide the kinds of news that
citizens need to function in a democratic society, but many
corporations have changed that mandate.
more than two years, legendary editor Gene Roberts led a group
of journalists in an unprecedented study of the newspaper
industry for the American Journalism Review. This is
the second volume of their findings. The first, Leaving
Readers Behind: The Age of Corporate Newspapering,
documented the storm of buying, selling, and consolidation
that is transforming the American press. This second volume
explores the consequences of these changes for ordinary communities
and for the nation, arguing that they place democracy itself
include Peter Arnett, Mary Walton, Charles Layton, John Herbers,
James McCartney, Carl Sessions Stepp, Lewis M. Simons, Chip
Brown and Winnie Hu.
should be really proud of this. I follow [the Project on the
State of the American Newspaper] closely, and you do a terrific
Woodward, Washington Post
an era of news coverage lite, Breach of Faith mounts
a passionate and convincing case for substance and depth.
Ironically, the heart of the argument is that the news media
should give people what they want, a doctrine that has led
many newspapers and television stations into vacuous and shallow
reporting. It turns out that people actually want real news.
What a surprise!."
S. Jones director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press,
Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University
collection of essays by veteran journalists analyzes how corporate
interests, driven by economic concerns and marketing research,
have worked to reduce the kind of coverage that has been the
hallmark of the press' role in a democracy. . . . Incisive
analyses of a troubling trend."
(American Library Association)
enlightening series of testimonials chronicling a trend that
has imperiled our free press and, therefore, our democracy.
. . . Roberts and Kunkel do the news industry and democracy
a great service."
book packs lots of bad news for the industry. . . . Breach
of Faither charges that more and more of today's newspapers
and reader-driven, filled not with news that readers need
to know but instead with fluff that they want to know."
Louis Post Dispatch
Roberts teaches in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism
at the University of Maryland. He has had a long, distinguished
career as reporter and editor, including serving as the managin
editor of the New York Times and the executive editor
of the Philadelphia Inquirer. During his eighteen years
at the Inquirer, the paper won seventeen Pulitzer Prizes.
Thomas Kunkel became dean of the Philip Merrill College
of Journalism at the University of Maryland after three years
as editor and director of the Project on the State of the
American Newspaper and a long career in the newspaper business.
He is also the author of Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross
of the New Yorker (Carrol & Graf, 1996).
978-1-55728-808-0 | 1-55728-808-9
$34.95 cloth (s)
978-1-55728-728-1 | 1-55728-728-7