January 1, 2002

Press Shines at a Dark Moment

by Andrew Kohut, Director
Special to Columbia Journalism Review

The American public’s strongly positive reaction to news coverage of the events of September 11 and the subsequent war on terrorism here and abroad reflects a number of important lessons learned over the years about the relationship between the people and the press. First and foremost, it shows that the public’s need to know trumps everything else. It not only drives public attentiveness to the news, it also shapes evaluations of media performance.

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