Journalists Pick Books and Movies about . . . Journalists

I saw this piece today and found it interesting.  Lakerida Chavis, a writer for ProPublica, answered a reader’s question about which books and/or other sources she’d recommend to an interested person who is not in a position to attend journalism school.  Lakerida also solicited ideas from colleagues and you can read the recommendations that include books and movies.

I was really surprised “All the President’s Men” wasn’t included. I always thought that book (and the movie for that matter) was kind of the New Testament for journalism.  It really shows the painstaking process of pulling a complex story together, along with the pressure to get it right and get it first.

I would add a few other books to the list.  “Lincoln and the Power of the Press” is a great reminder that the press has been around since the early days of our country’s existence.  And skilled politicians, like Lincoln, can move the needle on policy when they know how to handle the press. 

Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “The Bully Pulpit” is the story of Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, but it is also a great history of the heyday of muckraking journalism.   

I’d also add “Ball Four” to the list.  Sure it’s a baseball book. But it’s also an unvarnished report on the world Bouton inhabited.  Bouton described what he saw with no filter, in a way that no sports reporter had ever done before.  It changed sports reporting forever. 

For movies, I agree with the pick of “Spotlight.”  But to that list, I’d add “Frost/Nixon” and  “Good Night and Good Luck.”  David Frost learned that journalism is hard work. And once he accepted that premise, he elicited one of the most damning statements ever uttered by Richard Nixon – “if the President does it, it’s not illegal.”  Good Night and Good Luck was just a loving homage to Edward R. Murrow.  I love that it was shot in black and white.

I’d love to hear from my readers.  Any suggestions?