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In this vividly written, compelling narrative, award-winning journalist Neil Henry confronts the crisis facing professional journalism in this era of rapid technological transformation. American Carnival combines elements of memoir with extensive media research to explore critical contemporary issues ranging from reporting on the Iraq War, to American race relations, to the exploitation of the image of journalism by advertisers and politicians. Drawing on significant currents in U.S. media and social history, Henry argues that, given the amount of fraud in many institutions in American life today, the decline of journalistic professionalism sparked by the economic challenge of New Media poses especially serious implications for democracy. As increasingly alarming stories surface about unethical practices, American Carnival makes a stirring case for journalism as a calling that is vital to a free society, a profession that is more necessary than ever in a digital age marked by startling assaults on the cultural primacy of truth.
1. American Carnival
2. Freak Show
3. Fun House
4. World of Illusions
5. Defending the News
A former correspondent for the Washington Post, Neil Henry is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of a racial history, Pearl's Secret (UC Press).
“Reasoned and well documented.”—San Francisco Chronicle
"At a time when a band of critics are noisily ganging up on the press, Neil Henry adds a calm, original, and shrewd voice in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of 21st century news."—Tom Goldstein, author of The News at Any Cost
and co-author of The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well
"Neil Henry's book represents a cry from the heart of a former reporter on behalf of a new generation of journalists for an ethical reawakening of a press dedicated to fulfilling the information needs of a self-governing society."—Bill Kovach, Director, Committee of Concerned Journalists, and author of The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect
"This is an outstanding work from a respected journalist who takes a strong and unusual position on journalistic fraud and the media carnival that causes it. Not only does Henry take familiar examples from a different perspective, he does so in such a way that invites reflection and discussion from his readers. He makes his arguments effectively through the use of specific examples (including his own experience), historical context, and stylish writing that keep the reader moving through a book where outrage appears on so many pages."—Victor Merina, former Los Angeles Times reporter and Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism