Dr. Kimberly Meltzer’s new book, From News to Talk: The Expansion of Opinion and Commentary in US Journalism, was published in April 2019 by the State University of New York Press. The book examines what journalists think about the movement toward often opinionated, sometimes uncivil, talk in news. It provides an important intervention in debates about the future of news by investigating what journalists themselves perceive as the forces affecting this movement, the effects of this shift on audiences and political culture, and how the movement from news to talk affects their roles and authority in society. Drawing on more than thirty interviews with journalists and other industry professionals and a decade of published journalistic materials, Dr. Meltzer uncovers the technological, economic, cultural, and political forces affecting the movement toward opinion and commentary “or talk” in television, online, print, and radio news. From CNN’s Brian Stelter, to Fox Business Networks Maria Bartiromo, the Washington Post’s Paul Farhi, and many other journalists from CBS, USA Today, POLITICO, and HuffPost, the interviewees are key figures in journalism.
Her analysis centers around several key case studies, including the increase in opinionated talking heads on television and the ushering in of a new era of talk and entertainment programs, the strategy by CNN to broaden its definition of news by adding non-news programs, and the bevy of star journalists starting their own self-branded sites.
Dr. Meltzer is Associate Professor and Chair of the Communication Program at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Meltzer worked for news organizations including CNN, NBC, and local and regional newspapers. Her new book builds on her previous book, TV News Anchors and Journalistic Tradition: How Journalists Adapt to Technology.