This new and highly readable textbook by Richard M. Perloff introduces students to the complex world of contemporary news and its theoretical underpinnings, engaging with debates and ethical quandaries.
The book takes readers on a concept-guided tour of the contours, continuities, and changing features of news. It covers a huge breadth of topics including: the classic theories of what news should do, its colorful history in America and popular myths of news, the overarching forces involved in contemporary news gathering, critical economic determinants of news and social system influences, and innovative trends in the future of journalism. Drawing on scholarship in the fields of journalism studies and sociology of news, Perloff offers readers a critical, in-depth exploration of news filled with relevant examples from newspapers, newscasts, and social media.
Students of journalism, communication, sociology, politics, and related courses, as well as inquisitive scholars, will find this book’s intellectual focus enriching, the writing and examples engaging, and the thoroughness of its search of the contemporary media scene invigorating. Boxes summarizing theory and key concepts help students to deepen their understanding of both what news is now and its future.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Foundations 1. Prologue: News in a Fragmented Age 2. News and Journalism in the 21st Century Milieu 3. Defining News and Journalism 4. What Should News Do?: Ideals and Complicating Realities 5. The Rich, Colorful History of American Journalism: Overview and Perspectives Part 2: What Makes News Tick? Concepts, Controversies, and Conclusions 6. Unpacking the News: Refracting, not Reflecting Reality Chapter 7. Do Journalists’ Personal Attributes Shape the News?: Myths and Realities 8. Journalistic Routines and Why They Matter 9. Organizational and Economic Influences 10. News and the Social System: Conformity or Change? 11. Epilogue
Richard M. Perloff, Professor of Communication, Political Science, and Psychology at Cleveland State University, is the author of well-regarded scholarly textbooks on political communication and persuasion. Perloff’s articles on communication theories, the hostile media effect and third-person-based perceptions of news have appeared in Communication Theory, Communication Research, and Mass Communication and Society. He was the recipient of the University of Amsterdam School of Communication Research McQuail Award for the Best Article Advancing Communication Theory, 2012–2013. He is the recipient of Ohio journalism awards, including 2018 and 2019 Press Club of Cleveland, Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards for Best in Ohio Essay Writing.
"This tour de force reminds us of the importance of studying news content, its origins, and the extent to which it reflects reality. Perloff synthesizes many perspectives and builds his own critical and creative analysis of news and people, news and society, and news and the world." – Pamela J Shoemaker, Professor Emerita, Syracuse University
"Dynamics of News offers an unflinching look on the foundations, features, flaws, and future of a maligned but magnificent institution, journalism. By offering critical insight into how news turns out the way it does, Perloff helps readers see the limits and importance of news in today’s evolving information environment." – Tim P. Vos, Michigan State University
"This is a tour-of-force. Perloff has written a timely, lively, and thought-provoking analysis of contemporary journalism. The book carefully dissects key aspects of journalism, and it delivers a critical yet hopeful assessment about the present of news. It brims with ideas and insights that remind us why journalism still matters amid today's (dis)information chaos. It should be of interest to students and scholars alike." – Silvio Waisbord, George Washington University
"In The Dynamics of News, Richard Perloff tackles the full complexity of the emerging news ecosystem, combining classic conceptual models with the latest cases. News may have determinants but is not fabricated, may have its blindspots but still plays a crucial role in a democratic society." – Stephen D. Reese, University of Texas at Austin
"Like the news writing style Richard Perloff advocates—a mix of powerful anecdotes and social scientific research—this book combines brisk, lively, accessible writing with serious analysis of journalism’s history, epistemology, and contemporary contours. He encourages journalism students to pursuing their passions even as he critiques the ethical dilemmas, economic forces, and political constraints they surely will face. Perloff’s readers will come to their careers both understanding how journalism operates and appreciating relevant theories and concepts." -- Linda Steiner, University of Maryland
"Professor Perloff offers an active, lively voice – shored up by well-chosen, contemporary examples – to rethink how journalism can be studied and how the past can meaningfully inform the present. His thoughtful stance provides a path for considering not the demise of news and journalism, but rather, a juxtaposed means for facing journalism in a shifting, digital world." – Dan Berkowitz, University of Iowa
"Drawing generously from media research and current events, and cleverly weaving both together, Perloff’s book offers a kaleidoscopic view of the challenges facing journalism – from how get our news to how we make it. The book offers deep context for students (and educators) at a historical moment when the industry desperately needs self-reflection." – Melanie Faizer, University of Tennessee
"Perloff smartly blends normative and critical/cultural theory with practical advice, current events, and diverse perspectives about media and society that will help develop more innovative and prepared journalists, scholars, and professional communicators. Dynamics of News prepares readers for meeting (or resisting) advancements of the digital age – and what may come next. This book is a much-needed project to create critical thinkers for the bettering of society and hard-nosed reporters aware of power dynamics inherent in the work they do." – Dr. Robert E. Gutsche, Jr., Lancaster University, UK
"From the Greek messengers with news of wars to Facebook Live police shootings, Richard M. Perloff tracks journalism as it has evolved, documenting its twists and turns and creating a work worthy of assignment in our nation's reporting classes. The book reads as an optimistic tome of the good and bad of news over time, surveys a broad and interdisciplinary array of news scholarship, and forges dozens of connections between what is happening today informationally with social movements, politics, technology, and the larger social structures at work in our world. It shows journalism in all its messy complexities, tackles definitions of truths, and is filled with anecdotes to keep it all interesting. All in all, a fine explainer of journalism as it has transformed for the 21st century." -- Sue Robinson, University of Wisconsin-Madison