rusq: Vol. 50 Issue 2: p. 187
Sources: Encyclopedia of Journalism
Samantha J. Gust

Samantha J. Gust, Electronic Resources Librarian, Niagara University Library, Niagara University, New York

This six-volume set edited by Christopher H. Sterling (professor of media and public affairs and of public policy and public administration at George Washington University) is now the go-to traditional reference source for this wide-ranging and rapidly changing discipline. Due to its coverage of U.S. and foreign journalism, it is broader in scope than the single-volume Encyclopedia of American Journalism (Routledge, 2008).

The first four volumes follow an A-to-Z arrangement and contain more than 350 readable entries of 1,000 to 4,000 words on contemporary and historical topics from blogs and citizen journalism to muckrakers and the newspaper Publick Occurrences. Written by experts and scholars, each entry also contains a section of further readings and “see also” references when appropriate. Photos and illustrations are, sadly, rare. A list of the entire set’s entries opens each of these volumes, and a complete index of these volumes closes each.

Volume 5 has its own editor—Glenn Lewis of York College and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism—and is a collection of key journalism documents. This volume’s four sections are “Journalism, Media, and the Law,” “Codes of Ethics/Newsroom Policies and Standards,” “Journalism Education: Preparation for Change,” and “Data on the Status and Practice of Journalism.” Examples of documents included here are the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)—Code of Ethics, and Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC)—Accrediting Standards.

Volume 6 contains appendixes covering awards and prizes, country ratings with regard to journalistic freedom, and a guide to recent literature about the field. The latter provides a nice jumpstart to students doing literature reviews, but it is not comprehensive, obviously, because more literature has since been published.

Unfortunately, reference books covering rapidly changing fields are often outdated before they’re published, and with dwindling acquisitions budgets, the price tags for the print and online versions of this set might scare some off. However, this is a unique resource that all academic libraries supporting communication studies and journalism programs should invest in because of its scope and high-quality information. Public and news organization libraries should seriously consider adding it if funds allow.

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