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when more became less: my experience in the 24-hour news world
by Tim Ortman
News Division is my personal journey through the last thirty tumultuous years of broadcast journalism. Through honest reflection, enriched by the author’s on-assignment experience and firsthand perspective, Tim Ortman provides a critical examination of the many news events and industry developments which transformed just how our television news is covered and consumed.
Viewing journalism through the lens of network news, Ortman relives a turbulent timeline of both domestic and international newsgathering, where the 24-hour news cycle became the norm. To keep up with the new landscape, the channel lineup grew at a rapid pace, airwaves expanded, and bandwidth increased. In order to continually ‘feed the beast,’ the news had to be repackaged, repurposed, reused, and eventually diluted. The competition for the nation’s news attention was costly, and the consumer paid the price as network public service yielded to profitability and, at times, allowed journalistic credibility to take a back seat to speculation and dramatization.
News Division is an ardent defense of the author’s beloved news media and the kind of bedrock journalism upon which our society is based. Amidst the crowded and expanding backdrop of bias and misinformation, News Division exhibits a brand of journalism that is very much alive and well today, albeit one which is often overshadowed by the more vociferous fringes.
Following his memoir, NewsReal, Ortman’s second book continues to provide a pensive and insightful view into the world of television news as he lived it. It is the perfect read for those of us who wonder how we got to where we are today. While we can never return to the past, an examination of it makes for a more well-informed future.