The author of this blog is a professor of journalism at New York University's Carter Institute. His most recent books include "Imagine There’s No Heaven: How Atheism Helped Create the Modern World" (Palgrave Macmillan), "Beyond News: The Future of Journalism" (Columbia University Press) and "Journalism Unbound: New Approaches to Writing and Reporting" (Oxford University Press). For a full bio and listings of his writings, including links, see the header above.
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Journalism, which lives so thoroughly in the present, is rarely examined from a historical perspective. But with larger perspectives in short supply — particularly as the field appears to change ever more rapidly — history has much to contribute. The posts here will mostly focus on what is happening to journalism and news today, and seems likely to happen to them tomorrow. It will pounce on some of the limitations of contemporary journalism and call, not surprisingly, for it to become wiser, deeper, broader and more adventurous. These posts will also suggest, and this is more controversial, that journalists ought to worry less about recording the news of the day — currently well recorded in multiple forms all across the Web — and devote themselves more to interpreting the news of the day. The posts here will, often enough, weigh in on the turmoil currently afflicting journalism and what might be born of it. These are, not coincidentally, issues Prof. Stephens is working on for his two current book projects. In their search for perspective on these up-to-the-minute topics, these posts will, however, frequently make use of centuries-old analogies.