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The Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age

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ISBN-13: 978-1625340054
ISBN-10: 1625340052
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Editorial Reviews


"This is the first effort that I'm aware of anywhere to do a book-length profile of an emerging genre―the local online news community. . . . Kennedy does a wonderful job of illustrating this story through people, incidents, anecdotes, and then rolling back into the theory and policy implications. The Wired City is important to participatory democracy and community."―Bill Densmore, director, The Media Giraffe Project

"This book is for anyone who cares about the future of timely, useful community information, and how it helps citizens fulfill their most essential role: participation."―Dan Gillmor, author of Mediactive and We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People

"A thoughtful and nuanced book, The Wired City is a standout in chronicling one of the best stories I've read lately of journalists 'comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.'"―Callie Crossley, WGBH radio and TV host, and producer of the documentary series Eyes on the Prize

"Kennedy's book is unlike any you will read on the business model crisis in journalism. For leverage he goes to one place where lower cost, born-on-the-net, nonprofit public service journalism is working: the New Haven Independent. In digging into that case, The Wired City frames the big picture beautifully: Journalism as a practice will go on. But it takes will."― Jay Rosen, blogger at PressThink and author of What Are Journalists For?

"When we as a democratic society are at what Kennedy accurately calls 'a historical moment when nonprofit media―supported by foundations, donations, and, indirectly, taxpayers, since contributions are tax-deductible―are in many cases more stable than for-profit media,' his book offers a valuable window into one possible future. . . . Researching his book, Kennedy concludes, 'left me profoundly optimistic about the future of journalism.' Reading it will do the same for you."―The Huffington Post

"An efficient primer on the new age of journalism . . . Kennedy shrewdly identifies how a late-20th-century notion (public journalism, which listened more than preached) morphed into an early-21st-century phenomenon (the remarkable growth of online readership) to produce an alternative to an early-20th-century idea (the mass circulation newspaper)."―The Boston Globe

"Dan Kennedy's The Wired City is a modest but informative and at times inspiring book about admirable attempts, on a local level, to combat a pestilence that is crippling the well-being of professional journalism."―The Arts Fuse

"The Wired City transcends the exhausting debate over what journalism startups should look like. It gets at a more fundamental point: that news startups, both for-profit and nonprofit, matter."―Columbia Journalism Review

"The book is a quick read for anyone interested in the future of local news. Recommended."―Choice

"The Wired City is accessible and conversational. Kennedy adopts a breezy, personal tone. He writes poignantly of the financial crisis and staff cutbacks in the newspaper industry."―Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly

About the Author

Dan Kennedy is assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University and has been a working journalist for nearly forty years. He currently contributes to the Huffington Post and the Nieman Journalism Lab. You can follow his Media Nation blog at

Please see his interview on WBGH Greater Boston here


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press (May 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1625340052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1625340054
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deb Nam-Krane VINE VOICE on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
(Quote by Clay Shirky)

Disclaimer: I received a free review copy. This did not affect my review in any way.

The Wired City uses the New Haven Independent, a nonprofit news website that serves the city of New Haven, Connecticut, to help provide a context for the larger story of how news reporting has changed and, more importantly, is changing.

Although most people wouldn't immediately identify New Haven (or most other places in Connecticut) as a hotbed of innovation, we see pretty immediately why that city is a perfect place for experiments in news coverage: it's a city of about 120,000- not large enough to have attracted big name investment that would crowd out individuals with less money but no shortage of ideas; it's a diverse city, with significant white, black and Latino populations; it's a city in which income is not evenly distributed: 29% of its residents are at or below the poverty level; finally, it benefits from the proximity of Yale University, which attracts and to some extent fosters people with clever ideas.

On top of that, many residents in New Haven felt underserved for decades by the city's major paper, the New Haven Register. In part, this was due to the fact that the paper was largely supported by advertisers (as are most newspapers), and a calculation was made that an advertiser's potential customers were likely not in the poorer areas. Also, when poorer areas were covered, the predominant focus was crime. Crime happens- but so do library events, new business openings and gardening victories. The Register had and continues to have very little interest in covering those aspects of city life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill Kirtz on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is an engrossing and enlightening survey of an important trend: non-profit journalism. As traditional media face myriad problems, a wide variety of citizen, quasi-professional and amateur outlets sprout. Deftly surveying their corporate predecessors and profiling their current successors, Professor Kennedy does an excellent job of detailing their successes and challenges. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the news and the public it hopes to serve.
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