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Public journalism - a reply to critics

This article analyzes and responds to the most significant criticisms of public journalism made by scholars. After discussing public journalism advocates’ alleged failure to define public journalism clearly, we examine more specific criticisms. Among other issues, few advocates have taken seriously the likely impact of commercial imperatives on public journalism’s modes of operation. We argue, however, that public journalism projects show that reform-oriented news organizations can challenge long-standing journalistic conventions, despite managements’ interests in maximizing profit. Ultimately, we argue, public journalism’s long-term viability depends on continuing, explicit commitment by journalists, its institutionalization within newsrooms and journalism classrooms, and continued theory-development, research, and assessment.
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