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David Mindich (born 1963 in New York City) is a press critic, media historian, and professor at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont where he served as the chair of the journalism and mass communication department from 2000 to 2006. He was named Vermont Professor of the year in 2006 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
He currently teaches Editing and Design for online media, and is the faculty adviser for St. Michael's online student publication, the Echo.
In the mid-1980s, he worked as an assignment editor for CNN. In 1996, Mindich earned a doctorate in American Studies from New York University where he worked under Mitchell Stephens, Carl Prince, and Jay Rosen.
The author of two widely reviewed books, Just the Facts and Tuned Out, Mindich has also written articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, the Wilson Quarterly, the Baltimore Sun and academic journals. Mindich is particularly interested in the history, construction and present health of journalism. In 2006 Mindich wrote a resolution for the AEJMC) that censured the Bush administration for its "anti-press" policies. The resolution passed at the association's national convention in San Francisco with little opposition.
In Just the Facts, Mindich argued that journalist objectivity evolved in stages over a broad period, from the 1830s to the 1890s. Looking at five separate "elements" of objectivity—detachment, nonpartisanship, inverted pyramid writing, facticity, and balance—Mindich pinpointed specific historical moments when newswriting advanced toward its present form. One notable chapter is chapter three, which revealed that it was the government, and not journalists, who were using the inverted pyramid during the American Civil War. Another is chapter five, which is about the practice of lynching. Here Mindich argues that despite its claim of balance, the New York Times couldn't get the lynching story right because of the cultural (and racist) baggage its reporters and sources were bringing to the table.
In Tuned Out, Mindich argues that America is facing a grave threat to its democracy because the public has increasingly "tuned out" from politics and civic discouse. Mindich suggests a number of solutions to rectify the problem, including changing expectations for college-bound high school seniors.
Since the publication of Tuned Out, Mindich has given lectures at universities, high schools, media organizations and civics groups about media and democracy.
Mindich founded Jhistory, an Internet group for journalism historians, in 1994. He is currently an editor of the list.
Mindich lives in Burlington, Vt.
- Just the Facts: How "Objectivity" Came to Define American Journalism (NYU Press, 1998) ISBN 0-8147-5614-X
- Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News (Oxford University Press, 2004) ISBN 0-19-516141-6