The Two W's of Journalism
The Why and What of Public Affairs Reporting
Routledge – 2003 – 288 pages
Series: Routledge Communication Series
In this timely volume, the authors explore public affairs journalism, a practice that lies at the core of the journalism profession. They go beyond the journalistic instruction for reporting and presenting news to reflect on why journalism works the way it does. Asking current and future journalists the critical questions, "Why do we do it?" and "What are the ways of fulfilling the goals of journalism?" their discussion stimulates the examination of contemporary practice, probing the foundations of public affairs journalism.
With its detailed examination of factors influencing current journalistic practice, The Two W's of Journalism complements and expands on the skills and techniques presented in reporting, editing, and news writing textbooks. The perspectives presented here facilitate understanding of the larger role journalism has in society. As such, the volume is an excellent supplemental text for reporting and writing courses, and for introductory courses on journalism. It will also offer valuable insights to practicing journalists.
"Providing fresh perspectives on journalism and the coverage of public affairs, Merritt and McCombs offer one of the first books to look at specific reporting challenges involved with civic or public journalism….The combination of Merritt and McCombs brings the rare authority of both a distinguished scholar and newspaper editor, each with a career of professional leadership….Though scholarly, the book is commendably accessible."
"…the book looks at the nature of deliberation, the importance of election coverage and the use and abuse of polls….it is a very challenging read."
"This is a unique and valuable blueprint for how journalism can become more useful and relevant in this age of information abundance."
Contents: Preface. Introduction. Part I.The Why. Why We Have a First Amendment. Conflicting Visions of Democracy. The Evolution of Journalism. What the Public Needs to Know. Three Publics for the News. Technology and the New Millennium. Part II.The What. Sampling the News. Framing Stories and Positioning Citizens. Positioning Ourselves as Journalists. Deliberation. Elections. Polling--Use and Abuse. A Map of the Future.