News Values is a concise, powerful statement of the fundamental issues, ethical and practical, confronting newspapers today. Jack Fuller not only makes those issues clear, but offers a provocative new perspective on questions journalists should be asking themselves now in order to prepare for tomorrow.
"Every talk show host should read this book. So should every newsroom cynic. . . . 'Pursuit of truth is not a license to be a jerk.' In all too many newsrooms, that statement would resound like a three-bell bulletin."—Martin F. Nolan, New York Times Book Review
"[News Values] ought to be required reading not just for those who work for newspapers, but for all those who read and care about them. . . . [This book] seems destined to become one of those slim but important volumes people read for a long time to come."—Richard J. Tofel, Wall Street Journal
"Fuller stays above the fray [of the many books on the media]: His is a deeply intellectual approach, one that provides serious context to the highly complicated issue of how the news 'works.'"—Duncan McDonald, Chicago Tribune Books
"News Values has the touch and feel of knowledgeable, authentic caring about the kind of journalism than can help make society more cohesive, even human." —"Monitor's Pick," Christian Science Monitor
Fuller, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and a Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial writing, offers a stimulating and often hard-nosed look at the issues newspapers face today. His first concern is truth: he thinks newspapers should be far more forthcoming about corrections (though he doesn't mention the institution of the ombudsman); he thinks reporters should resist spin doctors and, in investigations, avoid deceptive practices such as impersonating others. A newspaper, he notes, should both reflect and challenge its community. He favors a tough-minded staff diversity that contributes to the "personality of an institution," but he avers that a paper should be led by a strong-willed editor. An author of five novels, Fuller is skeptical of New Journalistic excesses yet believes that the practicing of fiction can provide journalists with a valuable "tragic sense." Journalistic training, he suggests, should be revamped to provide intellectual grounding over practical skills. While Fuller thinks newspapers should be more involved in public issues, he touches only briefly on the new vogue of "public journalism." He also muses on the future design of an "electronic newspaper." (Apr.)