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Deadlines and Disruption: My Turbulent Path from Print to Digital Hardcover – September 11, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 2004, at what might have been the age of retirement, longtime Business Week editor-in-chief Shepard decided to take his life in a new direction: he would become the first dean of a new journalism school, based at City University of New York (CUNY). Starting a new journalism school at a time when many experts were predicting the demise of journalism altogether? That took guts. This is two compelling books in one: Shepard’s story of his life in print journalism, and a clearheaded look at the way journalism is evolving due to electronic media, social networking, and the ability of anyone with a computer and an opinion to make him- or herself heard. Is journalism dying? Not according to Shepard. It’s changing, yes, but in some respects it’s also improving: the division between news source and audience is blurring, with the audience now being able to report its own news and to require established journalistic entities to tailor their output to suit the audience’s needs (witness the rise of “hyperlocal” journalism). The author is eminently qualified to write about this subject, and he’s an excellent writer to boot. --David Pitt

From the Back Cover

In Deadlines and Disruption, Stephen B. Shepard chronicles his nearly 50 years in the news business―landing his first job as a reporter, finding stories, meeting deadlines, and working his way up to become editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek, where he presided over some of the most important stories of the age.

Primarily, though, this is a story of upheaval, transition, and the future of news. When Shepard stepped down from BusinessWeek in 2005, journalism was already being transformed by the Internet. At an age when most people retire, Shepard jumped back into the middle of it all. As founder and dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York, he is on the front lines of training the new generation of journalists.

Deadlines and Disruption is a treasure of insight from one of the most respected people in journalism. Anyone concerned with the state of news creation, delivery, and consumption today―and how it all plays out in society―cannot afford to miss this book.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071802649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071802642
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen B. Shepard is the founding dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. He was editor-in-chief of Business Week for more than 20 years, senior editor for national affairs at Newsweek, and editor of the Saturday Review.

An adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism from 1971 to 1976, he co-founded the school's Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism, serving as its first director. He was president of the American Society of Magazine Editors from 1992 to 1994.

A native New Yorker, he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, received his Bachelor's degree from the City College of New York, and a Master's from Columbia. He and his wife, Lynn Povich, live in New York.

His journalistic memoir, "Deadlines and Disruption: My Turbulent Path From Print to Digital," was published in September 2012 by McGraw-Hill.

"Deadlines and Disruption" is a book about journalism at a time of radical disruption, written as a memoir by someone who lived through it. Fundamentally a tale of transition, it is the passage of a working-class kid from the Bronx who rises to the top of the magazine world. It is the story of how he built Business Week into one of the world's best and most lucrative magazines, only to see it later succumb to the imperatives of the Internet age. It is the saga of how, at age 65, he launched a new graduate school of journalism for a new era, struggling himself to understand the topsy-turvy forces at work - and to accept them. And, ultimately, it is the transformation of journalism itself as it tries to find new business models for the digital age.

Here's what Walter Isaacson, best-selling author of "Steve Jobs," says about Shepard's book:

"This is a personal and insightful book about one of the most important questions of our time: how will journalism make the transition to the digital age? Steve Shepard made that leap bravely when he went from being a great magazine editor to the first dean of the City University of New York journalism school. His tale is filled with great lessons for us all."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Newcomer on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of good journalism and the people that bring us stories about our world I found this subject interesting. The author is certainly an expert on the subject, but I felt he held back a lot in this memoir. This book will really be for die hard fans of journalism, but certainly required reading for those going to school to study journalism or who will do any kind of reporting.

The best chapter, and to me was the start of the book, was "Going Global". Shepard does a great job describing going to China, Russia, East Germany. I found this chapter totally engaging. After this chapter Shepard talks about going digital and the new business models that will be needed to keep journalism a true art. Publications certainly have their work cut out for them, but if they have valuable content people will find them and even pay to read (subscribe) to certain sites. The differentiator will be the content, analysis and quality of thought.

Some nice antidotes and stories, but I found this to be a soft read with some good tidbits. Definitely worth a look as the author is intelligent, well-traveled, and well-grounded in understanding his routes and dedication to the profession of journalism. Anyone looking to organize data and articles will find this book interesting. Getting the right information to the right people will still be needed in the future. Shepard points out on a few occasions how some stories in BusinessWeek sparked investigations and led to some amended laws (not to mention leading to some arrests). Use the book to think about the future and how the new platform and opportunities to write and view news and articles will fit into everyone's lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Taylor on June 25, 2015
Format: Hardcover
The author combines a personal biography with a blow-by-blow account of the disruption caused in the print media by the new digital economy & the consumer's resistance to pay for content. Professional writers with journalism training now have to compete with blogs on every conceivable topic. The book surprises with evidence that magazines are making a come back. Introduction of the iPad & Kindle make digital magazines that people would pay for feasible. Printed magazines have reappeared in grocery stores & are still racked at libraries. People are discovering the desktop & laptop computers unsuitable for extended reading.

The content providers are fighting back with metering. Readers get some articles for free every month, with the usual pitches to subscribe. The search engines pick up their articles & take the reader to the content providers website. Advertisers were not getting the results they had hoped for from digital aggregators, so they're returning to digital & printed magazines. Personal contact with the readers via forums is now encouraged in both print & digital. Finally, the journalism profession may have found an answer to the digital onslaught.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marlene Sanders on December 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for anyone who has ever worked in journalism, or hopes to. As a former broadcast correspondent, many of Shepard's struggles were familiar. It was enlightening to see how he coped with changing management, as well as with unfriendly bosses. Like Shepard, I went from a long career of reporting, to teaching journalism at a university; in my case, NYU. In that capacity, I have confronted a new digital universe,unfamiliar and challenging. His thoughts on how to teach students who confront a changing professional environment were useful to me as a teacher. He has had an opportunity to start from scratch at CUNY's new journalism school. I'm sure his students will benefit, as they will by reading his book as well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Hayes on November 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shepherd captures what the world of big J magazines publishing was like, when weekly magazines were an important and essential part of our culture. In the last sections, he trains his experienced and expert eyes on what journalism is evolving into. A fascinating book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Saginaw on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In "Deadlines and Disruption", Steve Shepard has done double duty. He has written his memoirs about his growing up in the Bronx, his City College of New York (CCNY) days, his experiences of 40 years as a magazine journalist and editor, and, since 2005, as the founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to his memoirs, the last part of his book explores various business plans for the survival of journalistic business enterprises, in danger due to reduced revenue streams.

It is not so much that reporting has changed, rather its delivery has declined on the print side while more and more expanding digitally. Therein is the challenge as few publications on the internet have sufficient revenue sources. That is, as Shepard indicates, the "turbulent path from print to digital".

I am a classmate of Steve's at CCNY, where we both graduated in 1961, and our experiences from boyhood through college were similar. Both from the Bronx, Yankee fans of course, and children of middle, or more accurately lower/middle Jewish families whose parents had specific expectations that their sons go into science, engineering, medicine or law while their daughters go into teaching. Steve, coming out of Bronx Science H.S. during the Cold War chose Mechanical Engineering to the liking of his parents (as opposed to his own liking), before entering the journalism field. I later became a lawyer.

The students of CCNY at the time were predominantly Jewish with east European and Russian backgrounds.
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