Lost Storytellers
The Information Apocalypse in the Modern Newsroom

John Pendygraft

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Community journalism in the era of clickbait  
“Anyone who cares about the future of journalism—and American democracy—should read this book.”—Craig Pittman, author of The State You’re In: Florida Men, Florida Women, and Other Wildlife  
“Essential reading for every former, current, or future journalist. Pendygraft addresses the decline of public trust in the press and the alarming rise in ‘news deserts’ and ‘ghost papers’ across the country while simultaneously offering hope that aspiring journalists can rebuild trust through ‘culture-building storytelling’ and long-term solutions that serve the public good.”—Bernell Tripp, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications  
An incisive and firsthand look at the landscape of community news today, Lost Storytellers argues that the decline of local journalism threatens the future of democracy. Award-winning photojournalist John Pendygraft asks: How did Americans lose trust in the media, and how can their local newsrooms earn it back?            
Pendygraft uses his own experiences at Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, to illustrate why trusted local reporting matters more than ever in the era of “fake news,” clickbait, conspiracy theories, and social media. Through interviews with his colleagues, the history of his own paper, journeys into the evolutionary psychology of storytelling, and examples of the ways multinational media conglomerates hook readers on news cycles of chaos and crisis, Pendygraft argues that community journalists can reclaim their roles as local storytellers—and that the public good demands that they try. Lost Storytellers offers insights for all who feel confused about the media, politics, and the well-being of their communities in the information age.  
John Pendygraft is a photojournalist who has received national awards for feature writing, video, and still photography from the American Society of News Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, Scripps Howard Foundation, National Headliner Awards, Pictures of the Year International, and the Emmys. He is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at the University of South Florida.
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