Book Review: The News Media–What Everyone Needs to Know

Pondering the past, present and future of journalism

Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin, Stony Brook University School of Journalism

A book about the past, present and future of journalism and the news media sounds like a monumental and daunting undertaking. Yet, this is exactly what C. W. Anderson, Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson have written. In The News Media: What Everyone Needs To Know, released in September 2016, Downie, the former editor of The Washington Post and now a professor at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Schudson, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, and Anderson, an associate professor at the College of Staten Island, start with the first newspaper in 1605 and end with robots writing news stories in 2016. The authors concede in their first sentence that “[i]t might seem presumptuous to write a book promising readers ‘what everyone needs to know about the news media’ in the year 2016.” And, yet, in under 200 pages, written in a lively question and short answer format, with engaging examples, this book is highly deserving of its lofty title.

The News Media–What Everyone Needs to Know By C.W. Anderson, Leonard Downie Jr., Michael Schudson

The genesis of the book was a comprehensive report commissioned by the Columbia University School of Journalism about the present and future of the journalism profession. That report, “The Reconstruction of American Journalism,” written by Downie and Schudson in 2009, stirred significant discussion and debate in the field. The report led to a request to the authors by the Oxford University Press to add a book about journalism to its popular “What Everyone Needs To Know” series. Oxford touts the series as offering “a balanced and authoritative primer on complex current issues and countries,” written by “leading authorities in their given fields.” The series did not previously include a title on journalism and news media. But, now, fortunately, it does. Continue reading Book Review: The News Media–What Everyone Needs to Know

Presidential politics and more…

How college media is covering the ground game

Editor’s note: College Media Review is highlighting between now and Nov. 8, 2016, examples of print, broadcast and social media coverage by college media about the 2016 presidential election, as well as local, state and other national races.

CMR_arrow26_CMR_SiteIconGrayCollege media hubs across the country are engaged in the 2016 elections at all levels. Their coverage includes multi-media projects, news stories, profiles, commentary, and editorial cartoons.

This week, CMR highlights work by two media operations — staff of the Pitt News at the University of Pittsburgh and series of in-depth articles titled “Your Next President,” by Christian Vasquez of The Prospector at the University of Texas El Paso.

  • At the Pitt News, editors created a page for college daily reporting related to the election; new stories will be added at the top day after day:

  • Here is the link to the “Your Next President” series published by The Prospector:



Research — Active Choice, Passive Consumption

Photo Ryan Lash/TED via Creative Commons
Photo Ryan Lash/TED via Creative Commons

Exploring New Media Consumption Habits Among College Students and their Influence on Traditional Student Media

By Hans K. Meyer, Burton Speakman and Nisha Garud
Ohio University

Abstract: This study examines news consumption habits of college students focusing on the factors, purpose and sources of new media consumption. Through a survey of 812 students at a medium-sized Midwestern university, four types of news habits emerged: active, passive, civic engagement, and digital. Students actively seek digital media but consumption of these sources turns passive.  New media, including mobile technology, have not completely taken over the news consumption habit of traditional sources. Continue reading Research — Active Choice, Passive Consumption

CMR Extra — Quick Links

From CMR Editor

CMR_arrow26_CMR_SiteIconGrayPeople still seek news, with the trend continuing away from print and toward multi-news platforms, the latest media research from the Pew Center seems to suggest.

 As college media plan for 2016-2017 and continue to evolve, the following from the Pew Center may be of assistance for print, broadcast, and web-based collegemedia.

News Media Trends | Pew Research Center

State of the News Media | Pew Research Center

State of the News Media 2016: 5 key takeaways | Pew Research Center

Navigating the waters of Safe Harbor


Advisers should consider pros and cons of reliance on Safe Harbor broadcast protections

By Chris Thomas
President, Intercollegiate Broadcast System

Anyone who’s advised radio or television students for more than a week has faced this question:  Can I say (insert questionable word or phrase) on the air?  Your gut reaction is no.  But are you aware that the answer could potentially be yes?

So while safe harbor is a nice thing to have on paper, let me give you a few reasons why you will want to pretend like it doesn’t exist.

Since 1978 when Pacifica Radio lost their court battle to the Federal Communications Commission over the airing of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television, there have actually been nine more instances (either court cases or FCC rulings) that have effected what can and can’t be said.  But what many people don’t realize is that something else even more important than what can be said was also decided – when the rules are to be enforced.

Initially the FCC wanted a 24/7 ban on everything obscene, indecent and profane citing that they had a compelling interest to protect children from being exposed to these types of broadcasts.  After some pushback from Congress (who wasn’t interested in unduly burdening our First Amendment rights), it was decided to create a “Safe Harbor” period from 10pm to 6am local time each and every night.

So does that mean that beginning at 10pm anything goes and it turns into the wild wild west on both radio and television?  Continue reading Navigating the waters of Safe Harbor

A Style Guide for Diversity in the media…

DiversityGuideArtA Q&A with Rachele Kanigel, editor of The Diversity Style Guide

What would be the most accurate way to describe The Diversity Style Guide?

The Diversity Style Guide is a resource to help journalists and other media professionals cover a complex, multicultural world with accuracy, authority and sensitivity. The guide includes terms and phrases related to race/ethnicity; religion; sexual orientation; gender identity; age and generation; drugs and alcohol; adoption; and physical, mental and cognitive disabilities.

What prompted you to produce The Diversity Style Guide?

This is not about being politically correct; it’s about being accurate. It’s simply wrong to refer to a transgender man as “she” or to call someone “schizo.”

About 20 years ago the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism based at San Francisco State University compiled the original News Watch Diversity Style Guide, a compilation of terms from style guides put out by the National Association of Black Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Center on Disability and Journalism and five other organizations. It was last updated in 2002.

Rachele Kanigel
Rachele Kanigel

In 2014, when I was interim director of the center, I wrote an article for San Francisco Magazine about people who identify as genderqueer, agender or nonbinary, and I realized the Diversity Style Guide didn’t include any of these terms, which were just coming into common parlance. I decided to update and expand the guide, which at that time was just a PDF posted on a website. I received a grant from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists to create a searchable online style guide and then I wrote a proposal for a book that would include the glossary but also provide a context and framework for diversity reporting. I was delighted to find that several publishers were interested and I signed a contract with Wiley to write the book.

The online guide now includes more than 750 terms – about double the number in the original News Watch Diversity Style Guide. Continue reading A Style Guide for Diversity in the media…

Explore campus diversity with effective coverage

A dozen ideas on how to focus on diversity issues on your campus

Image courtesy George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, Missouri. Via Creative Commons Flckr
Image courtesy George A. Spiva Center for the Arts in Joplin, Missouri. Via Creative Commons Flckr

By Rachele Kanigel
San Francisco State University

Over the past two years, college campuses around the nation have been rocked by unrest as activists have demonstrated against systematic racism, police brutality against people of color, insufficient facilities for transgender and gender-non-conforming people, cuts to ethnic studies programs, and other hot-button issues. These actions have shined a spotlight on long-simmering tensions and forced both administrators and student media outlets to pay closer attention to the realities of living in a diverse community.

Next week in CMR: Taking a look at the Diversity Style Guide with editor Rachele Kanigel.

Infused with emotion, these stories can be difficult to report, and student journalists sometimes find themselves in the middle of the conflict, with both administrators and activists criticizing their coverage.

Good journalism means building trust and that requires going beyond the news story du jour and taking a deeper look at the enduring and complex roots of these events.

As your student media outlet starts a new school year, consider ways to explore the larger issues behind the headlines. For inspiration, check out The Seattle Times’ “Under Our Skin” project, NPR’s new CodeSwitch podcast and the Associated Press’ “Divided America,” an ongoing series on the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

Here are some ideas for exploring diversity issues on your campus. Continue reading Explore campus diversity with effective coverage

CMR research annual available for download

College Media focus of research activities

College Media Review’s Research Annual is now available for download from this site.

CMR Research Annual 2016 (Click to image to Download)

Volume 53 for CMR contains peer-reviewed research relating to college media and its practitioners that was published by the College Media Review ( during the 2015-2016 Academic Year.

To download a copy of this volume, CLICK HERE.

For previous editions of the Research Annual, see the “Archive” link at the top of the home page.

CMR’s Research Annual reflects embrace of change

CMR research for Volume 53 available for download

By Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver
CMR Associate Editor

Click on image to download CMR Research Annual 2016

Perhaps nowhere is change more evident than in journalism. The world of communications is rapidly evolving, and as this evolution takes place, those of us who work with college and university student media sometimes need roller skates to keep up with what is happening with professional media in order to better prepare our students to go to work in that world.

Two of our authors in this volume of College Media Review deal with change and look at the issue of convergence, a word we hear all around us. Media organizations across the country are rushing to gure out how to converge their news operations, and readers and viewers are demanding more and faster options to get information. Campus media, however, are struggling with this issue and searching for the best model.

Mark Smith and Don Krause from Truman State University look at the topic in both print and broadcast operations in Missouri colleges and universities. Their article explores the status of convergence as well as its challenges and the reasons for the lack of convergence in numerous institutions. Continue reading CMR’s Research Annual reflects embrace of change

CMR Extra — Quick Links

Editor’s note: Journalists typically learn early on how to write a city council story, cover a sports game, do an investigative piece into questionable spending by public officials, write a profile or in-depth article.

CMR_arrow26They may never have to cover breaking news and follow-up stories related to horrific mass shootings in Orlando and Dallas, and on school and college campuses and elsewhere.

College and professional media should have in place at least some guidelines on how to cover such tragedies and how publications and stations want to present the coverage, including coverage through social media. They’ll want to look at many different angles and how to best do so.

Continue reading CMR Extra — Quick Links