A Force for Good: How the American News Media Have Propelled Positive Change (Hardback)
  • A Force for Good: How the American News Media Have Propelled Positive Change (Hardback)
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A Force for Good: How the American News Media Have Propelled Positive Change (Hardback)

(author)
£70.00
Hardback 246 Pages / Published: 19/03/2015
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America's news media are relentlessly criticized as too negative, sensationalistic, profit-oriented, and biased, not to mention unpatriotic and a miserable failure at reflecting the nation's diversity. Rodger Streitmatter makes clear that although much of the criticism is deserved, it obscures the fact that news outlets have also made-and continue to make-many positive contributions to the country's well-being. A Force for Good: How the American News Media Have Propelled Positive Change offers a compelling account of the Fourth Estate's efforts to improve U.S. society. Whether documenting the appalling conditions in mental institutions, exposing financial shenanigans and sex-abuse scandals, or championing an obscure pill as a form of contraception, Streitmatter argues, print and broadcast journalists have propelled significant social topics onto the public agenda and helped build support for change. This text draws on both historical and contemporary examples from a wide range of social contexts; the result is a fascinating tour of American history, social change, and the benefits of a robust media.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442245105
Number of pages: 246
Weight: 513 g
Dimensions: 237 x 160 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Rather than writing a long narrative that tries to connect various themes, Streitmatter provides a series of vignettes that examine specific issues ranging from how society treats its citizens to civil rights and gender. Although this format can sometimes be chaotic, the author breaks each issue/chapter, 16 in all, into easily digestible chunks so that readers can go right to the topic at hand. This is...a good book for those new to an issue and for novice researchers, who can get a head start on where to look for context and analytical viewpoints. Though at times the relationship between the news media and the issues seems peripheral or even tangential to the discussion, the book offers readers a chance to get the basic facts and then think about the relationship to the media-how the media framed an issue and thus used it for good or ill. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; general readers. * CHOICE *
At a time when America's news media are everyone's punching bag and bear the brunt of a laundry list of criticisms: too negative, sensationalistic, profit-oriented, ideologically biased, or even unpatriotic and lacking diversity in the newsroom. Rodger Streitmatter, a professor of journalism at American University, serves as a cheerleader for the news media. He argues that although news media deserve much of the criticisms, American news media have played an important role in making America a better place. A Force for Good: How the American News Media Have Propelled Positive Change documents an impressive list of news media's accomplishments in improving America's well-being in various areas: cleaning up the country's worst neighborhoods, protecting America's child labor laws, creating a better life for African Americans, exposing and closing down the original Ponzi scheme, assuring law-abiding citizens that 'G-Men' (federal agents) were keeping them safe, stopping smokers from killing themselves, documenting the horrible conditions in mental institutions, exposing and stopping Catholic priests from sexually abusing young boys, etc. Streitmatter argues that print and broadcast journalists have pushed important social issues onto the public agenda and helped drive social change. Streitmatter cautions that news media are not solely responsible for these changes but primarily serve as a catalyst in shaping the debates and driving for change. * Communication Booknotes Quarterly *
This book would be an excellent addition to any university journalism class. It provides examples that demonstrate the ways in which the skills we teach have been deployed to improve society. The reader can see an evolution of changes in society's assumptions about class, race, sexuality, and religion. Those changes and the examples of both the government's responsiveness to and its perpetuation of injustice will be thought-provoking.... Any of the chapters could be used as a beginning for deeper investigation of the social issues represented. Every chapter could be the beginning of a discussion about the ways in which journalism makes a difference. * Journalism History *
Streitmatter, a professor of journalism at American University, focuses on events often neglected in history courses and case studies of journalistic practice that many readers, scholars included, might not be too familiar with. . . .In addition to exploring how journalists have engaged exploited or underrepresented groups in American history, the book's main strength features a series of choice news accounts, from 19th-century newspapers to modern television shows. * Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly *
This masterful book is a refreshing reminder of what's right about journalism. Rodger Streitmatter has done again what he does best: find marvelous angles of vision and develop narratives that all students can read, learn from and, yes, enjoy. -- Frederick Blevens, Florida International University
The stories here are compelling, even inspiring, and based on a broad range of primary and secondary sources. Streitmatter is a superb historian of American journalism. -- Alfred Lawrence Lorenz, Loyola University, New Orleans
A well-written and strongly sourced book packed with stories that appeal to students. The cases include a mix of well-known moments as well as more obscure but nevertheless important topics. In a field of often critical history, it is refreshing to reflect on the moments when journalism shined. -- Kimberly Wilmot Voss, University of Central Florida
Streitmatter has chosen case studies ranging from Nellie Bly's ten days in a madhouse to Ellen DeGeneres's coming out on television to argue that the news media generally has promoted social change. The work should stimulate controversy and discussion among journalism students, illuminating both the power and the limitation of the mass media in American society. -- Maurine H. Beasley, University of Maryland College Park

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