Why Journalism Still Matters
Why Journalism Still Matters

Can we talk about the news media without proclaiming journalism either our savior or the source of all evil? It is not easy to do so, but it gets easier if we put the problems and prospects of journalism in historical and comparative perspective, view them with a sociological knowledge of how newsmaking operates, and see them in a political context that examines how political institutions shape news as well as how news shapes political attitudes and institutions.

Adopting this approach, Michael Schudson examines news and news institutions in relation to democratic theory and practice, in relation to the economic crisis that affects so many news organizations today and in relation to recent discussions of “fake news.” In contrast to those who suggest that journalism has had its day, Schudson argues that journalism has become more important than ever for liberal democracies as the keystone institution in a web of accountability for a governmental system that invites public attention, public monitoring and public participation. For the public to be swayed from positions people have already staked out, and for government officials to respond to charges that they have behaved corruptly or unconstitutionally or simply rashly and unwisely, the source of information has to come from organizations that hold themselves to the highest standards of verification, fact-checking, and independent and original research, and that is exactly what professional journalism aspires to do.

This timely and important defense of journalism will be of great value to anyone concerned about the future of news and of democracy.

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  • September 2018
  • 208 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509528042
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  • 9781509528059
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  • 9781509528080
Table of Contents


Where Journalism Came From

1. 14 or 15 Generations: News as a Cultural Form and Journalism as a Historical Formation (2013)

2. Interviewing Walter Lippmann’s Ghost (2016)

3. Objectivity 1.0, Objectivity 2.0, and Post-Objectivity? (unpublished)

Going Deeper Into Contemporary Journalism

4. The Danger of Independent Journalism (2005, revised 2017)

5. Belgium Invades Germany (2017, unpublished)

6. Journalism in a Journalized Society (2017, unpublished)

7. The Crisis in News: Can You Whistle a Happy Tune (2016)

Short Takes on Journalism and Democracy

8. Citizenship and “The Simpsons” (2011, revised 2017)

9. The Multiple Political Roles of American Journalism (2017)

10. Democracy as a Slow Government Movement (2017, unpublished)


11. Second Thoughts: Schudson on Schudson (2017)

About the Author

Michael Schudson is Professor of Journalism at Columbia University.

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“This provocative collection of essays by the nation's pre-eminent scholar of journalism insightfully answers one of the central questions of our times.”
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, University of Pennsylvania

“This is a scintillating collection of essays by the western world’s foremost scholar of journalism.”
James Curran, Goldsmiths, University of London

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