October 14, 2012
Book Review - Deadlines and Disruptions - My Turbulent Path from Print to Digital
I will not review Stephen B. Shepard’s fascinating memoir Deadlines and Disruption: My Turbulent Path from Print to Digital mainly because I do not know enough about journalism or the revolution that has transformed how we receive information since the advent of the digital age to be able to do so. Nevertheless, I recommend Steve’s book not only because he is a friend (I receive no kick-backs for this recommendation – just the pleasure in knowing that some of you might buy this book and gain in wisdom, as did I in having read it), but also because Steve is positioned as few people are in America to reflect authoritatively on what has happened in the past 40 years in print and digital media.
The Editor in-Chief of Business Week Magazine from 1984 to 2004 and the founding Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at City College of New York (CUNY) since 2005, Steve has done and seen it all. He reviews not only some of the top stories during his tenure at Business Week, but reflects intelligently on what is now happening in news and media.
The following are reviews of his book by people who do, in fact, understand Steve’s world, and they speak for themselves:
A Top Editor's Take on the State of Journalism Today and His Prescient Forecast of Its Future
'This is a personal and insightful book about one of the most important questions of our time: how will journalism make the transition to the digital age? Steve Shepard made that leap bravely when he went from being a great magazine editor to the first dean of the City University of New York journalism school. His tale is filled with great lessons for us all.'
"This is two compelling books in one: Shepard's story of his life in print journalism, and a clearheaded look at the way journalism is evolving due to electronic media, social networking, and the ability of anyone with a computer and an opinion to make him- or herself heard."
More About The Book - A composite of comments by others
'My personal passage is, in many ways, a microcosm of the larger struggle within the journalism profession to come to terms with the digital reckoning. Will the new technologies enhance journalism . . . or water it down for audiences with diminished attention spans? What new business models will emerge to sustain quality journalism?'
Stephen B. Shepard … helped transform [Business Week Magazine] into one of the most respected voices of its time. But after his departure, he saw it collapse - another victim of the digital age.
In Deadlines and Disruption, Shepard recounts his five decades in journalism - a time of radical transformations in the way news is developed, delivered, and consumed. Raised in the Bronx, Shepard graduated from City College and Columbia, joined Business Week as a reporter, and rose to the top editorial post. He has closed the circle by returning to the university that spawned him, founding the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.
In the digital age, anyone can be a journalist. Opinion pieces are replacing original reporting as the coin of the realm. And an entire generation is relying on Facebook friends and Twitter feeds to tell them what to read.
Is this the beginning of an irreversible slide into third-rate journalism? Or the start of a better world of interactive, multimedia journalism? Will the news industry live up to its responsibility to forge a well-informed public?
Shepard tackles all the tough questions facing journalists, the news industry, and, indeed, anyone who understands the importance of a well-informed public in a healthy democracy.
The story of Shepard's career is the story of the news industry - and in Deadlines and Disruption, he provides peerless insight into one of the most critical issues of our time.