Just the Facts: How "Objectivity" Came to Define American Journalism

Front Cover
NYU Press, 2000 - History - 200 pages
1 Review

If American journalism were a religion, as it has been called, then its supreme deity would be "objectivity." The high priests of the profession worship the concept, while the iconoclasts of advocacy journalism, new journalism, and cyberjournalism consider objectivity a golden calf. Meanwhile, a groundswell of tabloids and talk shows and the increasing infringement of market concerns make a renewed discussion of the validity, possibility, and aim of objectivity a crucial pursuit.

Despite its position as the orbital sun of journalistic ethics, objectivity—until now—has had no historian. David T. Z. Mindich reaches back to the nineteenth century to recover the lost history and meaning of this central tenet of American journalism. His book draws on high profile cases, showing the degree to which journalism and its evolving commitment to objectivity altered–and in some cases limited—the public's understanding of events and issues. Mindich devotes each chapter to a particular component of this ethic–detachment, nonpartisanship, the inverted pyramid style, facticity, and balance. Through this combination of history and cultural criticism, Mindich provides a profound meditation on the structure, promise, and limits of objectivity in the age of cybermedia.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fundevogel - LibraryThing

I like to come back to the history of journalism from time to time. It's just one of those areas where it's easy to get exasperated with the state of the business now and get romantic about the way ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2000)

A former assignment editor for CNN, DAVID MINDICH has also written for the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, and New York Newsday.

Bibliographic information