Core Knowledge: Early Reporting Textbooks and the Formation of Professional Identity
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This analysis of six influential reporting textbooks published during the first two decades of the twentieth century found that they helped create journalism's professional identity in two ways. The books and their authors, who in most cases taught journalism on the university level, identified the four basic problems of journalism for students: how to recognize news, how to assign it a value, how to collect it, and how to write it. The books, along with a teaching strategy that relied on practical exercises and examples drawn from diverse newspapers, taught students how to solve those problems. The texts and teaching methods also taught journalism students about their place in a distinct professional hierarchy where they exploited sources and readers while obeying editors and publishers.
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