Time to dust off that bookshelf or redownload Audible – we have some great recommendations just for you! Among the free-press books we have chosen are enlightening reads from some of the most accomplished scholars of journalism. In this edition of Media Minute, we feature a few favorites that remind us why our nation so arduously fought for the right to gather and disseminate information.
1. Enemy of the People by Marvin Kalb
American journalist Marvin Kalb explains why the restless attacks on the press by the President should make us fear for the future of American democracy. He describes Edward R. Murrow’s reporting on Senator Joseph McCarthy as courageous amidst the “red scare” theatrics in the early 1950s. Kalb compares McCarthy’s demise to how journalism today has been severely weakened.
2. Ghosting the News by Margaret Sullivan
Margaret M. Sullivan is an American journalist and the first woman to hold the position of public editor of The New York Times. Her book, Ghosting the News, focuses on spreading the most important story of all: How democracy suffers when local news dies. In this fascinating piece, Sullivan sounds the alarm to warn the public of the growing crisis in local news that has already caused serious damage.
3. Reckless Disregard by Eric P. Robinson
Following the monumental Supreme Court decision on libel law in New York Times v. Sullivan, the Court ruled on a series of judgments that would explore and establish the definition of “reckless disregard” in relation to “actual malice.” As one of the cases in this series, St. Amant v. Thompson has been deemed “the most important” of the latest Supreme Court libel decisions. Eric P. Robinson’s Reckless Disregard gives it the attention it deserves with a thorough analysis of what it means for our society today.
4. Justice in Plain Sight by Dan Bernstein
Need a good hometown hero story read? Justice in Plain Sight is about a local newspaper in Riverside, California that was centered around exposing crime and restoring justice in their small town. When courtroom doors began shutting out the community, including the press, reporting accurately became nearly impossible. Putting all its trust in lawyer Jim Ward, the newspaper took two cases to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1980s, uniquely illustrating the importance of public trust in government.
5. WikiLeaking by Christian Cotton and Robert Arp
All this talk about WikiLeaks, but what is it actually referring to? Why is it brought up in the news and politics? As an international non-profit organization that publishes news leaks and classified media provided by anonymous sources, WikiLeaks claims to have compiled a database of more than ten million “forbidden” documents. In WikiLeaking, Cotton and Arp explore principles that cause us to ponder the public’s right to knowledge — even if it costs us privacy and security.
6. The First Amendment: Freedom of the Press by Garrett Epps
Claimed to be the most free of any country in the world, the American press gives critics immense freedom to share views no matter how unpopular. Epps digs deep into what the evolution of free press will look like in our nation and among other cultures amid the development of Internet culture and online journalism.
7. Understanding Freedom of the Press by Gina Hagler
Gina Hagler uses fascinating images and historical events to bring to life the development of our nation’s free press. In Understanding Freedom of the Press, Hagler traces free press origins through significant court cases and the ways in which technology may be drastically changing meanings within the First Amendment.