In the early twentieth century, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter Lippmann said that the presentation of truthful news lies at the heart of democracy. This volume strong strong stems from Dan D. Nimmo's conviction that opinion and policymaking are also significant, interrelated processes within any political system. A democracy poses problematic questions of the manner and means by which political ideas, opinions, and issues are transmitted throughout the body politic. In the United States, such communication is carried on primarily through the news media. Reporters and their sources interact to form crucial relationships linking citizen and official. Nimmo focuses on that interaction, using personal interviews with selected samples of Washington correspondents and their official news sources as his evidence. Nimmo's research examines the relationships that develop between news sources and reporters as each engages in political communication, indicates the factors most influential in determining such relationships, and suggests the implications such findings have for interpreting the tension that characterizes government-press relations in a democracy such as the United States. In this era of heightened attention to the role of the media in political discourse, reissuance of this volume could not be timelier. This study features a new preface by Daniel Pearl Award winner Georgie Anne Geyer. It should be read by all media specialists, communication scholars, and journalists, and will be valuable for those entering these fields as well.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Transaction Edition
Chapter I, News Sources & Newsmen: Introduction
Information-dispensing and newsgathering in the nation's capital. Nature of research and analysis.
Chapter II, Information Officers & Newsmen: Political Communicators
The information officer and political communication. Newsmen and political communication.
Chapter III, Sources & Channels in Political Communication
A classification of news sources. A classification of news channels. Patterns and trends in communicator relations.
Chapter IV, External Influences on Political Communicators
Organizational influences. Alternative sources and channels. Audience perceptions. Personal friendships. Competence and confidence in the source-channel relationship.
Chapter V, The Source-Channel Relation: Patterns & Variables
The "good" news source and the "good" newsman. News story values. Information and news as professional values. Performance judgments. Cooperation, compatibility, and competition.
Chapter VI, Tools of the Trade: The Practitioners' Views
Expressed preferences of PIO's and newsmen. Appraisals of individual techniques. The institutionalizing of political communication.
Chapter VII, Significant Issues of Political Communication
The politics of secrecy and publicity. Press performance and political administrations. News definitions as interest conflict. The origin of government-press tension in the source-channel relationship.
Chapter VIII, The Source-Channel Relation between Government & Press
Cooperation, compatibility, and competition. Factors affecting the source-channel relationship. The significance of the institutional setting of source-channel relationships. Leadership in political communication: trends and implications.
Appendix I: Nature and Method of Analysis
Research literature. The exploratory study. Sample selection and description. Interview phase. A note on statistical techniques.
Appendix II: PIO Interview Schedule
Appendix III: Newsman Interview Schedule