The American newspaper industry is in the middle of the most momentous change in its entire three-hundred-year history. A generation of relentless "corporatization" has resulted in a furious, unprecedented blitz of buying, selling, and consolidation of newspapers, accompanied by dramatic -- and drastic -- change in reporting and coverage of all kinds. Concerned that this phenomenon was going largely unreported, Gene Roberts, legendary reporter and editor, decided to undertake a huge, extended reportorial study of his own industry, what would become the Project on the State of the American Newspaper. Gathering more than two dozen distinguished journalists and writers, Roberts produced a long series of reports in the American Journalism Review, published by the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, asking the crucial question: Are American communities -- in the very middle of the so-called information explosion -- in danger of becoming less informed than ever?
Roberts has a long and distinguished career as reporter and editor. He wasexecutive editor of the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has won 17 Pulizer Prizes. He now teaches in the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.Kunkel, a journalist by training, is now a professional author and Director of the Project on the State of the American Newspaper.Layton is a freelance writer and book editor. He spent 20 years working as a news and feature editor at the Publisher Inquirer and has covered government and politics in both Louisiana and Delaware as a wire service and newspaper reporter.