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10 Must-read books about journalism

10 Must-read books about journalism
Journalism is a profession that’s constantly under fire; with the level of trust in the UK at an all time low, as well as several high-profile cases of reporters killed while working, it’s time to explore journalism for what it was idealistically known for

My Paperchase by Harold Evans

Harold ‘Harry’ Evans was once editor of The Sunday Times. With a paper known for its investigative muscle, The Sunday Times broke story after story, while also campaigning for issues it saw as injustice. Kim Philby was unmasked; the plight of the Thalidomide Victims revealed and compensated; and more. This is a weighty biography of a life in news. With union issues, printing presses, and typewriters, this is the ultimate nostalgia read. 

Good Times, Bad Times by Harold Evans 

In the early eighties, Rupert Murdoch took over The Times newspaper group; this is the insider account of what happened, who did what, and why. It is also a snapshot of a newspaper culture that was changing, and how it developed into something that we see more today. 

Beyond Contempt by Peter Jukes 

Most of the people reading this will remember the Leveson Inquiry, as well as the fallout from reporting by The Guardian. However, they may not necessarily know about the trial, where newspaper executives were on trial. This is a book written by the man who live-tweeted the trial, who also provides us with an analysis of the behind the scenes dynamics. While it’s a slightly dated account, this book can help understand the state and ethics of journalism today. 

Breaking News by Alan Rusbridger 

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The internet had a huge impact on the making of news; print sales declined, advertising was lost, and the local press has since largely disappeared. Written by the former editor of The Guardian, this analyses the current state of journalism, what happens next, and the impact of things such as social media and so-called ‘Fake news’. (Punctuation intended.) Breaking News is also laced with anecdotes from inside The Guardian, which create an illuminating book.

In Extremis by Lindsey Hilsum 

Marie Colvin was a renowned war correspondent for The Sunday Times; known as being a larger-than-life but ultimately flawed character, she reported from some of the most dangerous war-zones ever known. Fellow journalist and friend Lindsey Hilsum was granted access to Colvin’s diaries which allowed her to present a portrait of the woman we all knew. Colvin was ultimately killed by the Syrian government while reporting in 2012, for daring to report from where no one else would. If you read one book this year, it should be this. 

Do I Make Myself Clear? By Sir Harold Evans 

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Language is something that is fluid. However, more often than not, it can be used to distort and conceal meaning; in a world reliant on technology, which ultimately impacts our language, how can we communicate clearly? By reading Do I Make Myself Clear? A book written by a legendary editor, this is the how-to of how to communicate clearly, quickly, and succinctly. 

Under The Wire by Paul Conroy 

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Paul Conroy is a photographer who worked with Marie Colvin; Under The Wire is the book that gives the BBC documentary the same name. The duo were together on Colvin’s final reporting assignment in Syria; this is the epic account of this time. If you prefer, the documentary provides the more visual element that a book cannot necessarily provide. 

On the frontline: the collected journalism of Marie Colvin 

If you lack faith in journalism today, read The Collected Journalism Of Marie Colvin. As we have already said, Colvin was known for her reporting, and staying longer than the rest, often asking why the world was not seeing the horrors she saw. This is a collection of her best journalism; impactful and far-reaching, her reporting was felt and heard on the international stage. 

The View From The Ground by Martha Gellhorn 

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Known as a travel writer and journalist, Martha Gellhorn is considered to be one of the greatest war correspondents—and was even the heroine of Marie Colvin. These are the peacetime dispatches, charting many decades of change around the world. History is caught in the process of unfolding; almost bottled like a message in a bottle, this is the call to stand and bear witness. 

The Face Of War By Martha Gellhorn 

As the title suggests, this is Gellhorn on the frontline, sending the stories of what she saw out into the world. Evoking a portrait of a dynamic many of us are unfamiliar with, this takes you across the globe through various wars and confrontations. 
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