Reckoning: Journalism's Limits and Possibilities

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The book is about how journalists know what they know, who gets to decide what good journalism is, and how we know when it's done right. Until a couple decades ago, these questions were rarely asked by journalists. When journalists were questioned by malcontented publics and critics about how they were doing journalism, these questions were easily ignored. Now, if you're on social media, you're likely to see multiple critiques of journalism on a daily basis. It seems not only convenient but pragmatic to give most of the credit to digital technologies and/or market failure for how relationships between journalists and diverse audiences have changed. This book rests on a different assumption, however. We contend that technologies offer a diagnostic to understand much deeper, persistent, and structural problems confronting journalism. Counter to much of the recent journalism scholarship, we argue that you can't talk about the role journalists and journalism organizations could, should, and have played in society without talking about gender, race, other intersectional concerns - and settler-colonialism. Drawing on mixed methods and ethnography as well as interdisciplinary scholarship, this book examines the reckoning under way between journalists, their methods and their audiences in sites as diverse as social media, legacy newsrooms, journalism startups, novel forms of journalism memoir, and among indigenous journalists. The book explores journalism's long-standing harms alongside repair, reform, and transformation. It suggests that a turn to strong objectivity and systems journalism provides a path forward.

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