by Sukey HowardNovember, 1998
Straight talk on the sad state of news
News Is a Verb: Journalism at the End of the Twentieth Century, part of the Library of Contemporary Thought series, is a powerful audio essay by Pete Hamill, a newspaperman who is passionate about his craft and its affect on our lives. Hamill, not alone, sees the last ten months or so as a nadir in American journalism. He's deeply troubled that so many papers have abandoned their responsibilities, that so many are getting dumber, lowering their standards to the sound bites of TV and the blather of talk radio. Newspaper journalism, he maintains, is not about entertainment. It's about bringing the truth to its readers, about separating fact from fiction, offering a solid corrective to the flaws of the quick fix and cynical, postmodern negation. Hamill believes that without this truth, wisdom and democracy are impossible. He reads with the same ardor, dedication, and wit with which he writes. Strong, provocative commentary on audio is most welcome--not that droll drivel doesn't have its place too.
Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.