The lead article in the Spring 2010 edition of the journal, produced by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a consideration of the implications for democracy of the current state of the news by veteran sociologist and activist Herbert Gans.
Gans is strong on setting the scene within which the US media is currently operating and his long-established critical perspective on the nature of news, and journalists’ idea of their own mission is as stimulating as ever.
He concludes with a laudable seven-point plan for journalists and the media, if they want to contribute to civic democracy. While much of this is framed in terms of a digital-era backdrop, it is hard to believe that he would not have been offering much the same prescription 20 years ago, however.
Robert Giles, the former editor and publisher of the Detriot News tackles the new economic models that are currently in play. His initial survey replicates much of what you will find elsewhere on this site – with a couple of interesting examples that we have not mentioned so far – Circle of Blue Water and the Nieman Journalism Lab, for example. He goes on to consider the endeavours so far by existing media groups to generate revenue from the web. It is a useful summary, but does not give much about which to be optimistic.
There is much else in the Journal that is worth seeking out – particularly Paul Sagan and Tom Leighton on the Internet and the future of news and, Ethan Zuckerman on the International Reporting in the age of participatory media.