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Round Five Analysis & Discussion QuestionsBy Melvin J. Dubnick
PoliticsNow Classroom, May 5, 1997
In this final round, ED DIAMOND reflects on the common concerns expressed by the Exchange participants despite differences in background. He sees the link in a strong journalistic tradition that he helps perpetuate in his writings and NYU courses.
PAUL STAROBIN's reflections focus on the significance of the "anti-politics" culture that is so prominent today -- and its implications for political journalism. His biggest fear, he notes, is that the "constituency for good journalism" is shrinking.
SARAH MCCLENDON considers the problem of helping the people learn more about their government. The new technology is creating the demand for more information, but reporters have to improve the range of their coverage and sources have to stop attempts to control the news.
Discussion Questions1. Ed Diamond notes that despite generational and other differences in perspective, he shares an "agreement on so many journalistic craft-related things" with McClendon and Starobin. Do you think the same will be said in the future as emerging technological changes take hold? Is the journalism of yesterday and today likely to survive the computer, the Internet and other new technologies?
2. Paul Starobin regards the dominant "anti-politics" mood of the country as a central factor in the future of political journalism. How strong is that mood? Will it change in the near future, or does it reflect a permanent shift in the attitudes of Americans toward their political system? What are the implications of that shift for the role of political journalism in America's democracy?
3. Throughout this Exchange, Sarah McClendon has expressed her desire to see reporters extend their beats to the agencies and other places outside the White House and Congress. Why are reporters so reluctant to cover those beats? What can be done to get them to do so?