Newspapers: The World's Elite

Most of the world's newspapers practice a "splashy, superficial, thoughtless and tenuous" journalism that offers readers only a "heterogeneous hodgepodge of triviality." After making that harsh generalization in an ambitious new book that assesses the press on a global scale, John C. Merrill, a professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, nonetheless contends that the number of "serious, intellectually oriented journals with cosmopolitan outlooks" is growing steadily. They constitute what he calls "the elite press," and that is the title of his book (Pitman; $7.95). Merrill not only ticks off the top...

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