10 Media Books that Deserve a Spot on Your Bookshelf – By Glenn Halbrooks
Media books can bring enlightenment and entertainment to any media pro. These 10 media books offer glimpses of media history, while revealing how certain media trends developed through the decades.
All The President’s Men is considered one of the most captivating political novels of our time. But it is also a novel in journalism, detailing how two reporters from The Washington Post, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, unraveled the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. You’ll learn how much patience and determination it took both Woodward and Bernstein and their bosses at the Post to report one of the biggest news stories of the 20th century.
Anchorwoman Jessica Savitch was a star on NBC News during the early 1980s, until her death in a bizarre car crash. You’ll track her meteoric rise through local news in the 1970s, and learn of how Eyewitness News and Action News formats got their start in television, as women were first thrust onto the anchor desks long dominated by men. You’ll also read about the behind-the-scenes struggles of Savitch in her professional and personal life.
Linda Ellerbee is widely known for her work on Nick News on the Nickelodeon children’s cable TV channel today, but she also had a long career at NBC News. She rose quickly through local TV news to join NBC News. But her candid and often hilarious book shows that even at the network news level, crazy decisions are made every day. Ellerbee isn’t afraid to poke fun at herself or those around her, which makes this book a joy to read.
You’ll take a trip back in time to the late 1970s, when journalists and TV executives thought Ted Turner was a fool for wanting to start a 24-hour-a-day cable channel devoted entirely to news. His dream was only possible through the breakthrough of satellite and computer technology, which we take for granted today. After reading how his brainchild was started in a ramshackle building in Atlanta, Georgia, you’ll be amazed that CNN was ever a success.
A common misconception is that journalists don’t have opinions about the world around them. Legendary TV newscaster David Brinkley will make you realize that journalists have some of the sharpest, most well-informed opinions of anybody, even if they don’t get to share them with the public. His iconic voice leaps off the pages as he reveals his attitudes toward politics, business and America.
Former ABC news reporter Sam Donaldson shows how any journalist can be tough, but fair. The longtime White House correspondent made his career by shouting probing questions to President Jimmy Carter and President Ronald Reagan — one a Democrat, the other a Republican, but neither spared of Donaldson’s determination to get answers. If you want to get information that no one else can, learn from the master at this form of reporting, who withstood accusations of media bias to become one of the most respected journalists in America.
The full title of this book is If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground. Its author, the widely quoted Lewis Grizzard, was known throughout the South for his humor, personal stories and his dedication to newspaper journalism. You’ll learn how he worked on a start-up newspaper that set out to topple the dominant paper in town, and how he left his rural Georgia roots to work for a Chicago paper, before the lure of his home state brought him back. You’ll laugh and be touched by his heartfelt stories that made Grizzard one of the best writers in America.
We’ve all watched Saturday Night Live and probably wondered if the cast members got along with each other and with the pressures of putting on a live, 90-minute show that America counts on to be funny. Tom Shales gives you an all-access pass to the rivalries, bitterness and heartbreaks that happen long before the on-air light goes on each week. Find out how SNL has evolved from its groundbreaking and drug-addled early days, through several near-collapses into the iconic slot it occupies on NBC’s schedule and in the lives of millions of Americans.
Critics often complain that everything on TV looks the same. Roone Arledge is a man who broke the molds of both TV sports and news through a long career with ABC. Arledge is the genius behind the sports shows ABC Wide World of Sports and Monday Night Football, taking routine sports events that everyone covered and turning them into dramatic theatre, thanks to camera and TV production techniques that were revolutionary in its day. He turned most MNF announcers, including Howard Cosell, into household names. His shift to news brought the creation of ABC World News Tonight, which finally put ABC on par with CBS and NBC, after long being stuck in third place. Arledge was one of the greatest innovators of technology, storytelling and producing that television has ever known.
You’ve probably seen clips of historic news events, like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. This book details dozens of breaking news reports with descriptions and photographs. What makes it unique is that it includes audio CDs so you can hear the announcer describing everything from the attack on Pearl Harbor to the death of Princess Diana. It’s your chance to own pieces of news history that changed the news business and relive how announcers from recent years and decades ago informed the nation that important news was happening.
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