Market-Driven Journalism by John H. McManus
Market-Driven Journalism by John H. McManus

Market-Driven Journalism

Let the Citizen Beware?
by John H. McManus

Recipient of the 1994 Sigma Delta Chi Medallion of Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists

"Market-Driven Journalism could change the way you view television news. The book will be of interest to anyone who cares that democracy is at stake. . . . The book should be read by those who work in television. . . those who plan to work in news, and those who teach them. It is an aspect of news production most textbooks fail to mention."

--Journalism Educator

"In Market-Driven Journalism, John H. McManus offers a unified theory to explain the nature of news in our entrepreneurial society. No one can read this ambitious book without gaining new insights into the roles played by business and the public in the news production processes."

--Ralph L. Lowenstein, Dean, College of Journalism and Communications,

University of Florida

"Market-Driven Journalism is a book that everyone in the television news business and all the college faculty members who are teaching the next generation of television news people should read. It spells out what is missing in local television news and explains why it is missing. This volume does for local television news what Herbert Gans did for network television news in Deciding What's New."

--Guido H. Stempel III, Distinguished Professor of Journalism,

Ohio University, and Former Editor, Journalism Quarterly

"In this devastating and disturbing dissection of local television news, John McManus skillfully blends social theory and empirical field research. His book should be read by everyone concerned with how the ethos of professional journalism can be reconciled with the pressures on media to generate audiences and profits."

--Leo Bogart, Senior Fellow, The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center,

and former Executive Vice President, Newspaper Advertising Bureau

"This is an impressive, well-framed, and rigorously examined study of the connection between market forces and news values--truly a matter of important public concern."

--Everette E. Dennis, Executive Director, The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center

"Market-Driven Journalism should be mandatory reading for anyone seeking television journalism as a career or for anyone who is sincerely interested in the role of television news in a working democracy."

--Alan S. Goldstein, former News Director, KRON-TV, San Francisco, CA

"John McManus has done a signal job of relating how market-driven journalism works and what it is doing to the American news audience. His conclusions are disturbing--and right on the mark. A solid piece of research, this is must reading for every broadcast journalist and anyone who aspires to be one."

--D. Charles Whitney, University of Texas at Austin

Today, the formerly revered practice of news reporting for the public interest has been usurped by the MBA/corporate-driven view that the news is a "product" and the reader or viewer a "customer." This book is the first to provide a comprehensive theory of commercial news production. Its systematic study of the way in which firms deploy resources, such as reporters or photographers, to maximize return to stockholders, leads to an exploration of the ways such practices affect journalistic quality. The author examines the application of market logic to news and, because of its growing importance, particularly to local broadcast news. In the past, local television news was viewed by journalists in other media as fluff, an inconsequential market-driven medium; but this book illustrates that since the mid-1980s, as newspapers and network TV have faced increasing competition and a shrinking advertising market, their programming style has also become increasingly driven by market forces rather than by traditional journalistic practices.

Market-Driven Journalism is a critical companion for all courses on the media and broadcasting, and essential reading for all journalists and scholars in the field.