Introducing CUNY Journalism Press

Andy Carvin’s account of using social media to cover the Arab Spring uprisings is the subject of a book to be published by CUNY Journalism Press.

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism has launched a new academic press to publish books related to journalism.

Dean Stephen B. Shepard said the imprint, CUNY Journalism Press, will release three to five books per year, beginning in 2013.

“We think that publishing more thoughtful, insightful books about journalism at this critical time in the history of news and information is important for journalists, important for writers and, especially, important for readers,” he said. “We plan to do it under a new publishing model.”

He listed four titles that will come out in 2013:

* Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring and a Journalism Revolution, by Andy Carvin, NPR’s senior strategist for social media, recounts his innovative use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networks in reporting the Middle East upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, and beyond.

* Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers, by former New York Times chief counsel James Goodale, tells the behind-the-scene stories of the Pentagon Papers, both in the newsroom and in the courtroom. It also analyzes how the case relates to press freedom issues today, including those surrounding WikiLeaks.

* Investigative Journalism in America: A History, by Steve Weinberg, a University of Missouri Journalism School faculty member and co-founder of IRE, the leading association of investigative reporters and editors, is a narrative that looks at the reporters, publications, and stories that drove the development of investigative reporting.

* The Pleasures of Being Out of Step: Nat Hentoff’s Life in Journalism, Jazz and the First Amendment, by CUNY J-School professor David L. Lewis, a former New York Daily News reporter and “60 Minutes” producer who is also directing a feature-length documentary on Hentoff, is a biography of the noted jazz critic and free speech activist.

The CUNY Journalism Press will operate in partnership with OR Books, an independent publisher based in New York. “We take advantage of new technology, including print-on-demand and e-books, to help publishing partners such as CUNY Journalism Press put out books that might not otherwise get published, and to market and distribute those books economically and effectively,” said OR Books co-founder John Oakes. “We take much of the waste and inefficiency out of the publishing process.”

Professor Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY J-School, and his staff helped develop the publishing model. “We think that books of the future will be published, distributed, and consumed in new and different ways in the evolving digital realm, and we aim to help make that happen,” he said.

The editor of the new imprint is Tim Harper, a CUNY J-School writing coach and visiting professor who teaches the foundational Craft of Journalism course to students in the first and second semesters. He is a widely published author and a freelance writer, and a veteran editorial and publishing consultant.

“We’re looking for anything about journalism, anything about news and the news media – past, present, or future,” Harper said. “We’re interested in skills and how-to books, anthologies, histories, memoirs, anything and everything that adds to what we know about journalism and journalists.”

He said CUNY Journalism Press, in cooperation with OR Books, is pioneering a unique “co-publishing” arrangement. Instead of emphasizing upfront royalty payments to authors in the form of advances against a relatively small percentage of prospective sales, the new model will offer significantly higher returns to authors based on sharing net profits from actual sales.