Whatever Happened To “Good” Journalism? A Look Back at a Bygone Era

Although numerous polls reflect plummeting public trust in the media and despite the renewed attention given to the exploits of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, good journalism did not end with coverage of Watergate. Neither did it begin there. The search for what Bernstein has called “the best obtainable version of the truth” has been motivating serious journalists since there was such a thing as “news.” It’s true not only of mainstream media, but also in specialized publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, a fiercely independent and highly influential trade publication that’s been publishing continuously since 1910.

(PRWEB) June 29, 2005 -- Although numerous polls reflect plummeting public trust in the media and despite the renewed attention given to the exploits of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, good journalism did not end with coverage of Watergate. Neither did it begin there. The search for what Bernstein has called “the best obtainable version of the truth” has been motivating serious journalists since there was such a thing as “news.” It’s true not only of mainstream media, but also in specialized publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, a fiercely independent and highly influential trade publication that’s been publishing continuously since 1910.

"It is vital to keep telling the truth, no matter who might be offended," says Mort Sheinman, one of the authors of the recently published Fashion, Retailing and a Bygone Era: Inside Women's Wear Daily (Beard Books, 2005). In the book, Sheinman and six other former long-time editors look back at their careers at Women’s Wear Daily and examine what’s changed and what has not.

“Although the technology that goes into producing a newspaper has undergone a revolution since I started at WWD, the basics of solid journalism ­– accuracy, fairness, clarity, credibility – have remained constant,” says Sheinman, who worked at the influential paper from 1960 to 2000 and was its Managing Editor for almost 30 years.

“Trade publications are generally much more vulnerable to pressure from advertisers than the mainstream press, but WWD has managed to resist that pressure,” continues Sheinman. “We risked losing advertisers and we risked losing access, but we were taught that if we played fast and loose with the truth, we’d risk losing our credibility.”

Sheinman and contributors Marvin Klapper, Isadore Barmash, Edward Gold, Sandy Parker, Sidney Rutberg and Stanley Siegelman share their war stories of working for an authoritative publication known for its spirited coverage of the fashion world and the social, political and cultural influences that help shape it.

Klapper, for example, writes that even though WWD has long provided vigorous coverage of the social scene in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and other major cities, the emphasis was always on the business of its core readership. WWD’s primary mission was---and still is---to provide thorough coverage of the fashion, beauty and retail industries.

The newspaper became a daily "must-read" for designers, manufacturers, trend makers, fashionistas, marketers and international financiers by maintaining its integrity and having a steadfast commitment to not only getting the story first---but getting it right.

Says Sheinman: “The paper has lasted almost 100 years because it never forgets its mission: to give its readers the facts that will help them make informed and intelligent business decisions.”

For a review copy of the book or to set up an interview with Mort Sheinman for a story, please contact Jay Wilke at 727-443-7115, ext. 223.

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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/6/prweb255903.htm