STEPHEN HESS, (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Books, 1996), 135 + pp. $24.95 hardcover. (ISBN 0-8157-3634-7).
News & Newsmaking is a compilation of sixteen essays by Brookings Senior Fellow, Stephen Hess. The essays span nearly fourteen years of observation and study of the Washington press corps. Although revised, the essays have not been updated. The book is intended as a journey, not a scholarly analysis of press corps behavior. In fact, original footnotes have been eliminated, forcing scholars back to original essays for citations and documentation. The essays come from public lectures, published articles, op-ed pieces, and previous published book chapters.
Topics of discussion are broad in scope and include an overview of the news business, the role of the Washington reporter as insider, an overview of the Washington press corps, the role of leaks in news gathering, foreign policy reporting, and the use of "sound bites" in today's news, to name only a few. The collection is an easy read. For scholars, they contain very little new information or insight. However, as a collection, the short essays provide a historical perspective of newsmaking. The essays help in understanding the "process" of newsmaking, especially within the infamous beltway.
Although dated, there are some interesting statistics throughout the book. Most notable are those that detail media usage in America, the profile of the...