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Inside the Upheaval of Journalism

Reporters Look Back on 50 Years of Covering the News


Edited By Ted Gest and Dotty Brown

In the spring of 1969, 101 students received master’s degrees from Columbia University’s prestigious School of Journalism, where they had learned the trade as it was then practiced. Most hoped to start a career in newspapers, radio, television or magazines, the established forms of journalism of that era. Little did they realize how the news world they were entering would be upended by the internet and by the social forces that would sweep through the country over the next 50 years.

This book tells the story of the news media revolution through the eyes of those in the Class of 1969 who lived it and helped make it happen. It is an insider’s look at the reshaping of the Fourth Estate and the information Americans now get and don’t get—crucial aspects of the vibrancy of democracy.

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This book is our story, and it could not have been written without dozens of members of the Columbia University School of Journalism Class of 1969 cranking it out on deadline, as we journalists like to say. So, first we want to thank everyone in the class for rallying around this project. In particular, we owe our appreciation to those who authored or co-authored the chapters, taking “feeds” from their classmates and putting our experiences into historical context.

We also thank Columbia J-School Prof. Michael Schudson, himself an expert on how journalism has changed over the decades, for his advice on the book, as well as Robert Papper, Columbia J-School 1970, who provided material from his annual survey on the broadcast news business for the Radio Television Digital News Association.

We are grateful to Peter Lang Publishing, where series editor Lee Becker immediately embraced the idea for this book and made important suggestions to improve it, and acquisitions editor Erika Hendrix guided us through its writing and production.

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