Letters to a Young Journalist (Art of Mentoring (Paperback))

Letters to a Young Journalist (Art of Mentoring (Paperback))
By Samuel G. Freedman

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Product Description

It is no secret that journalism's mission is seriously imperiled these days, but in Letters to a Young Journalist, Samuel G. Freedman shows that the craft is not only worth pursuing but more crucial than ever. Freedman draws on his thirty-year career as an award-winning practitioner and professor of journalism to inspire students and seasoned professionals alike with wise guidance, penetrating insights, and astonishing anecdotes. In this updated edition, Freedman also addresses the recent unprecedented transformations within the industry—changes with which journalists at every level now have to contend.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #661729 in Books
  • Brand: Freedman Samuel J
  • Published on: 2011-11-08
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.00" h x .50" w x 5.00" l, .35 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 208 pages


  • Letters to a Young Journalist

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Former New York Times reporter Freedman is a professor of journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism; you'd expect this to be a book of practical tips and advice for students of the craft. It is not. Instead, Freedman has much to say about journalistic integrity, plain language and honest legwork, castigating recent malefactors like Jayson Blair, Judith Miller, and Dan Rather, and even scolding Janet Malcolm for her famous indictment of the journalist as "confidence man, preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse." The book is partly a memoir, looking back on the author's career, partly a lament over the state of today's journalism, a bastion of "chic misanthropy" or sheeplike conformism; and partly a heads-up to youth—he despises undergraduate journalism classes, counseling wannabes to choose almost any other major in favor of practical experience on the school newspaper. Not until halfway along or so does Freedman offer specific advice. Not a journalism primer, this could be an inspirational tract alongside one. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal
Adult/High School–Freedman began his 30-year career by covering municipal meetings in northern New Jersey. He went on to write books, teach at Columbia, and become a columnist for the New York Times. Letters is not simply his reminiscences, nor is it a screed about the decline of journalism, though he lets his feelings about certain publishers be known. The book is fundamentally a manual that addresses how to be a journalist and how to succeed in the business. The authors experiences writing, reporting, and teaching allow him to compare different approaches to the newspaper business and to give suggestions for newcomers to the field. He offers valuable advice based on his experiences and the collective wisdom of his colleagues, including the need to adhere to such standards as trust, accuracy, and relevancy. Aspiring journalists can profit from this concise and purposeful guide.–Ted Westervelt, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
Former New York Times reporter and Columbia University journalism professor Freedman offers a frank, heartfelt look at the practice of American journalism. He recalls his own achievements and shortcomings over a long career as well as other great and not so great moments in American journalism: Nick Ut, who photographed the Vietnamese girl running naked after a napalm attack and later took the girl to the hospital; a freelancer who photographed a Sudanese toddler collapsing near a feeding station and did nothing for the child; and a journalism student whose coverage of firemen after the 9/11 attack led to a book. Drawing on conversations with students, other reporters, and editors, Freedman speaks very directly and personally, offering encouragement with equal portions of reality about the state of modern journalism from corporate influences to the blurring of lines between truth and propaganda. Noting that the current lack of popularity of journalism will drive out the uncommitted, Freedman devotes his message to those who continue to believe in the value and necessity of a free press. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Great Read
By Mrs. E.A
I had to read this book for a J-school class. It was deep and personal. After reading this book, I decided that I didn't want to be a journalist. Nevertheless, it was a great book and I was fortunate enough to meet the author when he came to my school. He teaches at Columbia J-school.

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful.
5The best of journalism's traditional values, updated for a new generation
By Jonathan Groner
I was a journalist for 17 years and have a son who is entering the profession (who's therefore a part of Freedman's target audience of "young journalists"), and Freedman gets it absolutely right. This brief introduction to journalism upholds all the traditional values that need to be upheld in the profession: hard work, integrity, the ability to ask the right questions and to listen to what people tell you, the importance of starting at the bottom and learning one's craft.

Most important, Freedman conveys the importance and the excitement of being a journalist. One doesn't have to cover the White House to be a success; Freedman, a former New York Times reporter who now writes books and teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism, never did that. Rather, good journalism means getting it right, telling the reader how people live day to day, what people care about, how they think and how they feel.

Freedman weighs in not only against the Jayson Blairs of the world but against any nonfiction writer who fudges the details in the interest of a better story, who uses composite characters, or who makes himself or herself the story. But he's no fuddy-duddy. The unique camaraderie of newspaper work, the late nights, the deadlines, even the rounds of drinks at seedy bars --they're all here. And he gives more than adequate thought to technology, recognizing that many of the young journalists he's addressing may be writing for Web sites rather than traditional newspapers.

And he cares about writing. Freedman argues for "a certain kind of subtle, dignified, formally correct prose against the slickness that too often passes for literary style, that grab-bag of sentence fragments, cliches, and elaborate metaphors." He quotes a colleague: "When the reporter in you is finished, then the writer in you has to lock the reporter out of the room. And when the writer in you is finished, then the editor in you has to lock the writer out of the room."

All told, this is an indispensable book for anyone who's starting out as a journalist.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Inspiring Read for an upcoming Journalist!
By MaryAnn Gibson
I gave this book to my oldest daughter, who is a 2nd year college journalism major! WOW...I am so glad I discovered
this telling book for her on Amazon! A MUST READ for any student with a journalism major or just an interest
in it. Years from now, she will look back at certain advice in this book! BRAVO!

See all 8 customer reviews...

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