Marty Linsky is currently a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Linsky is the author of several publications, including The New Corporate Activism, co-authored with Ed Grefe, and Impact: How the Press Affects Federal Policy Making.
Works discussed in this essay:
What Are Journalists For? by Jay Rosen. Yale University Press; 338 pages.
Jay Rosen chronicling the so-called public journalism movement in 1999 is a little like Gloria Steinem doing the same for women's liberation in 1969. As a key intellectual architect of the movement, Rosen can hardly be expected to be even-handed. Nevertheless, Rosen's new book What Are Journalists For? is a significant contribution, although perhaps not exactly in the way he intended it to be.
Public journalism and civic journalism are the two labels most often attached to a 1990s movement (or, as Rosen says, an argument, a debate, an adventure, and an experiment as well) in U.S. journalism circles. The movement seeped into broader consciousness among the chattering classes on the coasts and among real people in the communities where the deepest experiments took place and left their mark.