Kevin G. Barnhurst & John Nerone (2001). The Form of News: A History. (New York: The Guilford Press). x + 326 pp. ISBN 1-57230-637-8. $35 (hardbound). Tables, figures, illustrations, references, index.
This unusual history of (mostly) print journalism tackles the subject from the point of view of form (including typography, layout, and the like) rather than content, personalities or technology per se. In so doing, it deals with the relationships between journalism and civic life-including mass politics, the industrial revolution, the growth of the market economy, and the emergence of the Internet. Although it is organized into four sections mostly dealing with modernism (before, its rise, and after) or pictures, it nevertheless digs more deeply into social meaning than most journalism history texts. While it devotes attention to the possible future of the newspaper, it is in its careful analysis of the last 250 years of journalistic history that this volume is most valuable.
The above article was published in Media Ethics , Spring 2004 (15:2), pp. 31-32.