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Beyond NewsThe Future of Journalism$
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Mitchell Stephens

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159388

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159388.001.0001

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“Bye-Bye to the Old ‘Who-What-When-Where’”

“Bye-Bye to the Old ‘Who-What-When-Where’”

The Return of Interpretation

(p.83) 4 “Bye-Bye to the Old ‘Who-What-When-Where’”
Beyond News

Mitchell Stephens

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the resurgence of news interpretation and comment in American journalism. After big news breaks such as a major Supreme Court decision, journalists get the traditional, now absurdly overcrowded, race to report it. But these days a second competition then begins for journalists, one that was not a large part of the twentieth-century tradition: a contest to see who can best help us grasp the meaning of what has happened. Speed counts in this new competition to interpret the news. All these interpretations—by journalists, by experts—were instantly available to anyone with an Internet connection. An understanding of the rise of interpretation—and the decline of the fact-dense report—might help save traditional journalists from some awfully dull reports. This chapter also considers where “news analysis” pieces in newspapers such as the New York Times has and has not shown up in coverage of a few specific stories in recent years.

Keywords:   interpretation, comment, journalism, journalists, news, Internet, news analysis, newspapers

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