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Fred Friendly (1915--1998) was the single most important personality in news and public affairs programming during the first four decades of American television. Portrayed by George Clooney in the film Good Night and Good Luck, Friendly, together with Edward R. Murrow, invented the television documentary format and subsequently oversaw the birth of public television. Ralph Engelman's biography is the first comprehensive account of Friendly's life and work. Juggling the roles of producer, policy maker, and teacher, Friendly had an unprecedented impact on the development of CBS in its heyday, wielded extensive influence at the Ford Foundation under the presidency of McGeorge Bundy, and trained a generation of journalists at Columbia University during a tumultuous period of student revolt. Drawing on private papers and interviews with colleagues, family members, and friends, Friendlyvision is the definitive story of broadcast journalism's infamous "wild man," providing crucial perspective on the past and future of American journalism.
When critics decry the current state of our public discourse, one reliably easy target is television news. It’s too dumbed-down, they say; it’s no longer news but entertainment, celebrity-obsessed and vapid. The critics may be right. But, as Charles L. Ponce de Leon explains in That’s the Way It Is, TV news has always walked a fine line between hard news and fluff. The familiar story of decline fails to acknowledge real changes in the media and Americans’ news-consuming habits, while also harking back to a golden age that, on closer examination, is revealed to be not so golden after all. Ponce de Leon traces the entire history of televised news, from the household names of the late 1940s and early ’50s, like Eric Sevareid, Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite, through the rise of cable, the political power of Fox News, and the satirical punch of Colbert and Stewart. He shows us an industry forever in transition, where newsmagazines and celebrity profiles vie with political news and serious investigations. The need for ratings success—and the lighter, human interest stories that can help bring it—Ponce de Leon makes clear, has always sat uneasily alongside a real desire to report hard news. Highlighting the contradictions and paradoxes at the heart of TV news, and telling a story rich in familiar figures and fascinating anecdotes, That’s the Way It Is will be the definitive account of how television has showed us our history as it happens.
Powerful and often controversial, news pictures promise to make the world at once immediate and knowable. Yet while many great writers and thinkers have evaluated photographs of atrocity and crisis, few have sought to set these images in a broader context by defining the rich and diverse history of news pictures in their many forms. For the first time, this volume defines what counts as a news picture, how pictures are selected and distributed, where they are seen and how we critique and value them. Presenting the best new thinking on this fascinating topic, this book considers the news picture over time, from the dawn of the illustrated press in the nineteenth century, through photojournalism's heyday and the rise of broadcast news and newsreels in the twentieth century and into today's digital platforms. It examines the many kinds of images: sport, fashion, society, celebrity, war, catastrophe and exoticism; and many mediums, including photography, painting, wood engraving, film and video. Packed with the best research and full colour-illustrations throughout, this book will appeal to students and readers interested in how news and history are key sources of our rich visual culture.
As World War II drew to a close and radio news was popularized through overseas broadcasting, journalists and dramatists began to build upon the unprecedented success of war reporting on the radio by creating audio documentaries. Focusing particularly on the work of radio luminaries such as Edward R. Murrow, Fred Friendly, Norman Corwin, and Erik Barnouw, Radio Utopia: Postwar Audio Documentary in the Public Interest traces this crucial phase in American radio history, significant not only for its timing immediately before television, but also because it bridges the gap between the end of the World Wars and the beginning of the Cold War. Matthew C. Ehrlich closely examines the production of audio documentaries disseminated by major American commercial broadcast networks CBS, NBC, and ABC from 1945 to 1951. Audio documentary programs educated Americans about juvenile delinquency, slums, race relations, venereal disease, atomic energy, arms control, and other issues of public interest, but they typically stopped short of calling for radical change. Drawing on rare recordings and scripts, Ehrlich traces a crucial phase in the evolution of news documentary, as docudramas featuring actors were supplanted by reality-based programs that took advantage of new recording technology. Paralleling that shift from drama to realism was a shift in liberal thought from dreams of world peace to uneasy adjustments to a cold war mentality. Influenced by corporate competition and government regulations, radio programming reflected shifts in a range of political thought that included pacifism, liberalism, and McCarthyism. In showing how programming highlighted contradictions within journalism and documentary, Radio Utopia reveals radio's response to the political, economic, and cultural upheaval of the post-war era.
The history of cable television in America is far older than networks like MTV, ESPN, and HBO, which are so familiar to us today. Tracing the origins of cable TV back to the late 1940s, media scholar John McMurria also locates the roots of many current debates about premium television, cultural elitism, minority programming, content restriction, and corporate ownership. Republic on the Wire takes us back to the pivotal years in which media regulators and members of the viewing public presciently weighed the potential benefits and risks of a two-tiered television system, split between free broadcasts and pay cable service. Digging into rare archives, McMurria reconstructs the arguments of policymakers, whose often sincere advocacy for the public benefits of cable television were fueled by cultural elitism and the priority to maintain order during a period of urban Black rebellions. He also tells the story of the people of color, rural residents, women’s groups, veterans, seniors, and low-income viewers who challenged this reasoning and demanded an equal say over the future of television. By excavating this early cable history, and placing equality at the center of our understanding of media democracy, Republic on the Wire is a real eye-opener as it develops a new methodology for studying media policy in the past and present.
Facts are and must be the coin of the realm in a democracy, for government “of the people, by the people and for the people,” requires and assumes to some extent an informed citizenry. Unfortunately, for citizens in the United States and throughout the world, distinguishing between fact and fiction has always been a formidable challenge, often with real life and death consequences. But now it is more difficult and confusing than ever. The Internet Age makes comment indistinguishable from fact, and erodes authority. It is liberating but annihilating at the same time. For those wielding power, whether in the private or the public sector, the increasingly sophisticated control of information is regarded as utterly essential to achieving success. Internal information is severely limited, including calendars, memoranda, phone logs and emails. History is sculpted by its absence. Often those in power strictly control the flow of information, corroding and corrupting its content, of course, using newspapers, radio, television and other mass means of communication to carefully consolidate their authority and cover their crimes in a thick veneer of fervent racialism or nationalism. And always with the specter of some kind of imminent public threat, what Hannah Arendt called ‘objective enemies.'” An epiphanic, public comment about the Bush “war on terror” years was made by an unidentified White House official revealing how information is managed and how the news media and the public itself are regarded by those in power: “[You journalists live] “in what we call the reality-based community. [But] that's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality . . . we're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” And yet, as aggressive as the Republican Bush administration was in attempting to define reality, the subsequent, Democratic Obama administration may be more so. Into the battle for truth steps Charles Lewis, a pioneer of journalistic objectivity. His book looks at the various ways in which truth can be manipulated and distorted by governments, corporations, even lone individuals. He shows how truth is often distorted or diminished by delay: truth in time can save terrible erroneous choices. In part a history of communication in America, a cri de coeur for the principles and practice of objective reporting, and a journey into several notably labyrinths of deception, 935 Lies is a valorous search for honesty in an age of casual, sometimes malevolent distortion of the facts.
In 2009, a bipartisan Knight Commission found that while the broadband age is enabling an information and communications renaissance, local communities in particular are being unevenly served with critical information about local issues. Soon after the Knight Commission delivered its findings, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initiated a working group to identify crosscurrents and trends, and make recommendations on how the information needs of communities can be met in a broadband world.Steven Waldman and the FCC Working Group on the Information Needs of Communities produced this report, addressing the rapidly changing media landscape in a broadband age. The Information Needs of Communities looks not only at the changing face of media, but also at the relevant policy and regulatory situations, including the track record of the FCC. Finally, the report offers policy suggestions to help create the best media system ever seen.

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