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Page One: Inside the New York Times and the Future of Journalism    by David Folkenflik order for
Page One
by David Folkenflik
Order:  USA  Can
PublicAffairs, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

If you are interested in the status of American journalism and the direction it is taking, you'll probably find this an interesting read. Edited by David Folkenflik and inspired by the documentary of the same name, this volume brings together some of the media's leading experts to investigate the present and the future of news.

At the core of this collection of essays is the august New York Times and the story of the paper's attempt to navigate the new world and embrace the immediacy of the web without straying from its commitment to accurate reporting and analysis that provides the publication with its own definition of what it is there to showcase: 'All the news that's fit to print'.

Obviously in a state of flux exacerbated by new technology and different ways of packaging information, the news media is in the middle (some might say the waning days) of a revolution. WikiLeaks, Gawker, Politico and the Huffington Post are just some of the manifestations of the new reality where the differences between an opinion column and a blog, a reporter and a social networker, a tweet and a news bulletin have been blurred.

Where are we and where are we going in reference to the delivery of news and the old idea of journalism are issues at the heart of this discussion. Writers such as media columnist David Carr, Alan Rusbridger, editor in chief of The Guardian, James O'Shea, former editor in chief of The Los Angeles Times, and a number of other journalists give their views on what is happening, why, and where we may be five years from now.

While the essays in the first part of the collection are devoted to The New York Times, the second section investigates The Tectonic Plates Shift. Issues discussed here range from asking if journalism even exists any more and looking at how the definition of news is shifting to how collaboration across newsrooms of former competitors will be the way news gathering and dissemination will be handled in the future.

The final section of the book offers six essays on how citizens and consumers will interact and relate to the media of tomorrow. While Alberto Ibarguen examines the role of philanthropy in spurring innovation in the newsroom and Geneva Overholser suggests we need a richer debate about the future of journalism, Peter Osnos discusses the new vitality of public radio and Dean Miller explains why a news literacy is needed to assure that citizens are equipped to explore issues of fairness and context for themselves.

A relatively quick read because none of the 17 essays featured in this book are overly long, the material you'll discover here not only provides food for thought and perhaps debate but it also focuses attention on some areas that merit further investigation.

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