Deciding What's News

E-book – $24.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-6196-2

Trade Paper – $24.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2237-6
Publication Date
February 2005
Page Count
416 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Deciding What's News

A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time
Herbert J. Gans

25th Anniversary Edition

For ten years, Herbert J. Gans spent considerable time in four major television and magazine newsrooms, observing and talking to the journalists who choose the national news stories that inform America about itself. Writing during the golden age of journalism, Gans included such headline events as the War on Poverty, the Vietnam War and the protests against it, urban ghetto disorders, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and Watergate. He was interested in the values, professional standards, and the external pressures that shaped journalists' judgments.

Deciding What's News has become a classic. A new preface outlines the major changes that have taken place in the news media since Gans first wrote the book, but it also suggests that the basics of news judgment and the structures of news organizations have changed little. Gans's book is still the most comprehensive sociological account of some of the country's most prominent national news media. The book received the 1979 Theatre Library Association Award and the 1980 Book Award of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters.

This is the first work to be published under the Medill School of Journalism's "Visions of the American Press" imprint, a new journalism history series featuring both original volumes and reprints of important classics.

About the Author
Herbert Gans is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books including The Urban Villagers (Free Press 1962), Popular Culture and High Culture (Basic Books 1999), The Levittowners (Columbia University Press 1982), and Democracy and the News (Oxford University Press 2003).
“Gans does a hell of a job in demolishing the myths of an anti-establishment press.”
–Richard Reeves, The Washington Monthly
“Deciding What’s News is a good study. It tells us that our colleagues who set much of the nation’s agenda have solid, bourgeois, mildly reformist views, respect authority, want to be liked and probably see the unfamiliar as vaguely threatening. The result is that tomorrow’s news is going to look very much like today’s, even if the world does not.”
–Frank Mankiewicz, New York Times Book Review
“Neither burdened by jargon nor boosted by flashy style, the book renders the biases of the media with unusual authority.” –Michael Schudson, Chicago Tribune