Monday, April 01, 2013

Book Review: Rebuilding the News

Anderson, C. W.  Rebuilding the News:  Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age.  Philadelphia:  Temple University Press, 2013.

This is the first (that I know of), but surely not the last, book on the changing state of journalism in Philadelphia.  Anderson was allowed into the Inquirer and Daily News, interviewed some local bloggers (full disclosure:  to the best of my knowledge I did not have any contact with him), talked with others involved in local digital and price newsgathering and writing.

The first two chapters review local journalism in Philadelphia from 1997 to 2008.  This is a good historical overview.

The next two review the digital age.  Chapter four takes one specific incident and examines how the story spreads from amateur reports to formal coverage.

The last two chapters discuss problems and developments in the online world, and the fallout from financial issues at the local papers.  Our reporter friends work long hours for little pay.

Several local online personalities, Amy Z. Quinn, Karl Martino, and Chris Satullo, make appearances in the book.  It was interesting to read how all the various worlds of print and digital reporters, formal and citizen reporting, interact and influence each other.

This books, like far too many that I have read recently suffers from the lack of good copy editing.  The author has some fascinating stories to tell.  After reading the book I am more convinced than ever that Philadelphia needs a robust independent newspaper (and online equivalent).  

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