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Schudson chapter four: journalism after WWI

Posted by: | December 2, 2009 | No Comment |

There are three sections in this chapter. The first is called “Losing Faith in the Democratic Market Society.” Basically, this section talked about how people did not have a good feeling about how well democracy was going to work.

Some people felt like a dictatorship might be better because, as Nicholas Murray Butler put it, dictatorship “appears to bring into authority and power men of far greater intelligence, far stonger character, and far more courage than does the system of election.”

Walter Lippmann thought that voting was similar to a civil war. It turned people against each outher, but without the physical violence.

The second section in this chapter is called “The Decline of “Facts” in Journalism.” This section was about public relations agents who felt it was better to add interpretation to the news.

Ivy Lee was one of these public relations agents. He believed that no one can present the whole of the facts on any subject. “The effort to state an absolute fact is simply an attempt to achieve what is humanly impossible. All I can do is give you my interpretation of the facts.”

He also said that we try to think that what serves our own interests is also in the general interest. People are prone to look at things through glasses colored by our own interests and prejudices.

The last section of the chapter is called “Subjectivity and Objectivity in the Press.” It talked about trying to find a good balance between the two.

Curtis MacDougall wrote a textbook for journalism called “Reporting for Beginners.” He wanted to write a book that showed changes toward interpretive reporting and aimed to give substance to the news.

On the other hand, Lipmann was the most forceful spokesman for the ideal of objectivity. He was concerned about subjectivity of facts and hopeful about a higher level of professionalism in journalism. He aslo felt there should be a more serious level of education for reporters.

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