American Journalism is a storied career path going back centuries, and it will persist as long as there is news fit to print. Whether you’re already part of this great career or just starting, we’ve put together a list of the books you should read as a journalist.
“Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” by John Carreyrou is about the rise and fall of blood-testing startup Theranos, and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes. This thrilling book about one of the most successful and hostile entrepreneurs ever and how they fooled investors is as entertaining as it is informative, filled with advice from the author on how to chase tips and sources.
All the President’s Men
This book by journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward is a complete account of their investigation into the Watergate Scandal, which many consider the best example of reporting in the 20th century. Told from the third person, it reads like a detective novel and is so full of fascinating events that there is little time to stop and breathe—a must-read for any journalist.
In Cold Blood
“In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote is a classic of true crime writing. It investigates the murder of a small-town Kansas farmer and his family in a gripping fashion, with interviews from the townsfolk and law enforcement and a chillingly human look at the murderers. Though many may critique it for its honesty, and the ending is laid out from the start (the murderers were caught and executed), it’s still a thrilling read.
The Light of Truth
This book is a collection of the writings of Ida B. Wells, a former slave freed by the Emancipation Proclamation who went on to become a civil rights activist and investigative journalist. From her early writing to her travels abroad and later journalism, Wells is perhaps most famous for her articles on the horrors of lynching. This book is an enlightening and fascinating look into one of the most significant figures in American history.
Fully titled “The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune” by Richard and Phyllis Kluger is about two great American newspapers, the Tribune and the Herald. They competed in the 19th century before forming into a mega-paper in the early 20th. It once competed with the New York Times, but a series of bad business decisions led to it permanently folding in the 1960s. Now, it reads like the death of all newsprint in America.
The Corpse Had a Familiar Face
“The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America’s Hottest Beat” is by Edna Buchanan, perhaps the most outstanding crime reporter who ever lived. It covers the Pulitzer Prize winner’s 18 years on the police beat in Miami for the Miami Herald and details how she overcame sexism and the natural perils of her career to become who she is known as today- a phenomenon.
So there you have it: six of the best books about journalism, each of them a must-read for any journalist, whether they are an experienced one or just starting in the field.