Wednesday, October 10, 2007

News, then and now

"I think very few Americans would argue with the notion that we are at least for the moment the most powerful and strategically important country, and I think for us not to lead the world in the coverage of the world in which we presume to be the leader is a very bad thing. Unless the world is fully reported to Americans, we don’t have the real facts we need in order to hold our leaders accountable." Gene Roberts

Gene Roberts was managing editor at the New York Times in the mid-90s, and before that spent nearly 20 years as executive editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. As a reporter, he covered the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement. He's coming to Nashville this weekend to promote The Race Beat, which won the Pulitzer Prize for history this year.

The quote above is from an interview I did with him, which is up on the Scene's website. Click here to see it. I feel obliged to warn you that it's long, but I wanted to put the whole thing up because I thought he had some interesting things to say about the way journalism has changed, and why. Nashville readers can see a shorter version in the paper.

The Race Beat is a very good read, and worth checking out if you have any interest at all in the history of the civil rights movement. Media coverage was crucial to the success of the movement, and the book gives you a clear sense of the journalists' role in events. Karl Fleming, who covered civil rights for Newsweek, figures prominently in The Race Beat. His memoir, Son of the Rough South (see my review to the right), is a personal perspective on the same story, and makes a fine companion to Roberts' book.


Bozo said...

BG-- You certainly have broad-ranging interests. Love your writing.

Mary said...

Wow, quite an interview, Gracie, and I've sat here and read the entire thing. Thanks for the link!

BitterGrace said...

Thank you, Bozo! I love your comments ;-)

Mary, you win the endurance award. I'm glad you liked it.