Phoenix Recommended Books on Journalism
By APF Staff
The following are great books about the trade and practice of journalism relevant to those wishing to learn about the practice. Journalism happens when inquisitive minds seek out unreported and unspoken facts, revealing hidden truths to the public. These books do an excellent job capturing some of those concepts in stories and anecdotes, illustrating great features of journalism.
Title: American Aurora
Author: Richard Rosenfeld
This book helps break down the myth that the Founding Fathers were in complete agreement about anything. And for those who complain about polarized media landscapes, it similarly helps offer a contrasting historical view that showed that dissent existed and flourished in the first decade of the American Republic.
Title: Prince of Darkness
Author: Robert Novak
Reporting in Washington for five decades, Robert Novak in his memoir laid bare many truths about journalism. One in particular stands poignant, where Novak describes a Deputy Attorney General, William Sullivan, who tells Novak that he'll be dead in a few months and that, no matter what, don't believe the official story or that it was suicide. Sullivan was dead from a hunting accident several months later and Novak offers no additional commentary. Like a great reporter, he always lets the facts speak for themselves, he lets the natural inferences bloom from when inconvenient facts are placed near one another.
Title: The Day the Presses Stopped
Author: David Rudenstein
When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the contents of a classified history of the Vietnam War to the New York Times, a wide variety of important issues in journalism surfaced in that one simple act: confidentiality of sources, newsworthiness, respect for the government's interest and its interest while at war, prior restraint, responsible journalism, political and social pressure, and more. The Times ended up publishing selected sections in their entirety, though notably omitting the diplomatic history. That decision, and its impact on journalism, is an important historical moment and is well chronicled in Rudenstein's “The Day the Presses Stopped.”