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Words & Money

A publishing luminary analyzes the crisis of the media and considers the alternatives.

Ten years after the publication of The Business of Books, his groundbreaking critique of conglomeration in the book industry, André Schiffrin turns his attention to the broader crisis in the media. Just as corporatization and the lowest-common-denominator pursuit of the bottom line have had a parlous effect on publishing, media consolidation has contributed to the ongoing demise of serious journalism in newspapers, magazines, serious broadcast news, and online journalism. Schiffrin compares the media crisis in the United States to the situation in Europe and across the globe, and he demonstrates how the American corporate model has extended its reach. But he also describes and considers a range of alternative policies culled from many countries that, if pursued, could help to save journalism and the media in the US. This is a superlative essay that will make everyone seriously interested in the media and publishing think again.

Reviews

  • “André Schiffrin, a distinguished former New York publisher, has been throughout this decade an indispensable, if rather pessimistic, guide to life after a cultural apocalypse, first in the much-admired The Business of Booksand now in Words and Money. There's a lot that's passionate and useful in Schiffrin's anguished analysis.”
  • “A masterful assessment of the media crisis of our times and a roadmap to workable and effective solutions. This elegant essay is intelligent, informed, reasoned, and humane—exactly the book the world needs at this time.”
  • “A utopian vision, to be sure, but a refreshing one.”
  • “This book reads like a novel. Schiffrin continues to sow ideas for saving the independence of the press, the cinema, and bookstores. Visionary as always.”
  • “A lifelong promoter of independent media, André Schiffrin again leads the charge in Words and Money, offering a host of original and valuable ideas about one of the critical challenges of our day—saving books, movies, and news in an era of chains, blockbusters, and the internet.”
  • “Schiffrin shows how media consolidation is pulling the teeth of serious journalism, and how it can get its bite back.”
  • “Masterfully written and extremely thought-provoking, this work should stimulate a much-needed dialog among those interested in the communications and publishing field.”
  • “A sophisticated voice of reason.”

Blog

  • Emmanuel Macron, A Putsch by the Stock Exchange

    Former L'Obs journalist Aude Lancelin describes how how the En Marche! candidate was utterly fabricated by media in capital’s hands. First published on Agoravox, 21 April, prior to the first round vote. 



    It was late last year, and I had just handed in the manuscript for Le Monde libre (on my eviction from L‘Obs). My gaze wandered to the 24 hour news channel BFM TV images, amidst what remained of a Paris heatwave that had just recently finished. That was when I suddenly understood that 2017 would be a terrible year, and that the coming presidential election would not resemble anything this country had ever seen before. The country’s leading rolling news channel, the flagship of Patrick Drahi’s Altice-SFR group,was certainly not cutting any corners that 30 August 2016. Everything was laid on to cover a quite considerable event, just imagine it: the resignation from the Economics Ministry of a young gun of Hollandism, who even two years previously had still been almost unknown to the public. A scoop of planetary importance, we could see, which certainly merited the general mobilisation of all the teams working for the channel owned by this French telecoms billionaire.

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  • Spanish-language and Latino Media and the US Election: How The News is Sold to Indignation Nation



    The 2016 Presidential campaign has been a very significant one for Latinxs, often referred to as the “sleeping giant” of the electorate. While Republican candidate Donald Trump astonished most media observers with his set of shifting, unorthodox political positions, it’s been his crudely racist and sexist discourse that have become the campaign’s central focus. Yet his relentless attacks demonizing immigrants from Mexico and Central America and conflating them with the national security issues represented by border enforcement--represented by his dubious wall-building dream--have put our interests in a narrowly defined box, obscuring discussion of other issues critical for Latinxs. 

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  • François Maspero: the resistance fighter with an ink-loaded rifle

    François Maspero was a French journalist and author who passed away earlier this year. Verso presents this translated tribute to the founder of Éditions Maspero, the publishing house which has served as an inspiration for radical left publishing since the fifties.


    A pair of texts by Mohamad Yefsah and Aymeric Monville

    François Maspero died on 13 April 2015 at the age of 83. Here we present madaniya.info’s effort to pay tribute to this extraordinary individual and his eminent contribution to the struggle for the liberation of the Third World.

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Other books by André Schiffrin