Professor Victor Pickard’s review of the book Rebuilding the News: Metropolitan Journalism in the Digital Age by C.W. Anderson (Temple University Press, 2013) is published in the journal Political Communication.
American journalism’s death spiral is by now a well-known and much-lamented phenomenon. But precious few accounts offer us on-the-ground views of how journalistic institutions are actually changing. C.W. Anderson offers us such a vantage point in his book Rebuilding the News. He provides a close chronicle of local news organizations’ experimentations and permutations in their attempts to adapt to an online environment. Anderson captures this transitional moment for journalism with a narrative based on an ethnographic study of Philadelphia media institutions. By focusing on a single media ecosystem – one that includes the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Philadelphia Independent Media Center (Philly IMC), Philly Future, and numerous local blogs – Anderson gives us a thick description of news work practices in the digital age.