I recently perused my first issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, devoured the new book Hard News: The Scandals at the New York Times and their Meaning for American Media, and consumed the lengthly Atlantic cover piece on the “mercenary world of political talk radio.” Needless to say, my journalistic juices are flowing.
The Columbia Journalism Review was interesting to me because of the little tidbits and niche-focused pieces but won’t appeal to the general reader. Before adding another periodical to my reading list, I thoroughly check out back issues and agonize over whether it makes sense to subscribe. So – I knew CJR was going to be good.
Hard News is a riveting, engrossing “pre-during-post” account of the Jayson Blair scandals which rocked the NYTimes and journalism as a whole. The “Meaning for American Media” part of the title isn’t really represented; instead, it’s a blow by blow of the conversations and events leading up to the implosion and the ensuing fall out. It’s fun to get the inside look at folks you read in the NYTimes every day and also to get a glimpse at the pressure-cooked environment that is the Paper of Record. I recommend this book if you want a great, important story, but don’t want a deep analysis.
The current Atlantic cover story is a little long-winded, unfortunately, but makes some interesting points. Last summer during my trips to rural California I for the first time got to hear the infamous right-wing radio stations I read about. This piece dissects one LA based political, conservative radio station. It’s a good read for anyone who doesn’t get treated to a daily dose of Sean Hannity to understand what the fuss is all about.