New News

New News is different from other journalism textbooks, in that we are actively critical of the ways news gathering and writing are traditionally described. In our view, the way reporters and editors describe their work bears little resemblance how they actually¬†produce it, but a kind of folklore about journalism nonetheless is transmitted to generation after generation of journalists. This book sorts out the guiding myths of the profession–myths about objectivity, about newsworthiness and timeliness, about how stories become stories–and then offers more realistic principles. Instead of objectivity, for example, we talk about judgment and responsibility; we talk about fairness and honesty; we talk about how the meaning of a story is greatly influenced by its structure; we talk about rhetoric, the business of crafting particular kinds of messages for specific audiences.

We believe that all public writing represents a negotiation between a writer and his or her audience(s), a negotiation shaped by his or her purposes in writing (and of course by the purposes of editors and publishers). Thus, writers are not independent voices in a vacuum, but what they say and how they say it are shaped by who they think is listening.

Written by Conn Hallinan and Roz Spafford, New News is shaped by our reading of scholars in composition, anthropology and critical theory, by our conversations with our students and alumni, as well as by our many years as journalists and teachers of writing. If you are teaching a journalism class and would like to join this dialogue, you are welcome to use a few chapters: the book is now in revision. Write us at: rozl@ucsc.edu.