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The Evolution of a Southern Reporter
From a gullible cub reporter with the Daily Herald in Biloxi and Gulfport, to the pugnacious Pulitzer Prize winner at the Atlanta Constitution, to the peerless beat reporter for the Los Angeles Times covering civil rights in the South, Jack Nelson (1929-2009) was dedicated to exposing injustice and corruption wherever he found it. Whether it was the gruesome conditions at a twelve-thousand-bed mental hospital in Georgia or the cruelties of Jim Crow inequity, Nelson proved himself to be one of those rare reporters whose work affected and improved thousands of lives.His memories about difficult circumstances, contentious people, and calamitous events provide a unique window into some of the most momentous periods in southern and U.S. history. Wherever he landed, Nelson found the corruption others missed or disregarded. He found it in lawless Biloxi; he found it in buttoned-up corporate Atlanta; he found it in the college town of Athens, Georgia. Nelson turned his investigations of illegal gambling, liquor sales, prostitution, shakedowns, and corrupt cops into such a trademark that honest mayors and military commanders called on him to expose miscreants in their midst.Once he realized that segregation was another form of corruption, he became a premier reporter of the civil rights movement and its cast of characters, including Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Alabama's Sheriff Jim Clarke, George Wallace, and others. He was, through his steely commitment to journalism, a chronicler of great events, a witness to news, a shaper and reshaper of viewpoints, and indeed one of the most important journalists of the twentieth century.
Seymour Hersh has been the most important, famous, and controversial journalist in the United States for the last forty years. From his exposé of the My Lai massacre in 1969 to his revelations about torture at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004, Hersh has consistently captured the public imagination, spurred policymakers to reform, and drawn the ire of presidents.
From the streets of Chicago to the newsrooms of the most powerful newspapers and magazines in the United States, Seymour Hersh tells the story of this Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author. Robert Miraldi scrutinizes the scandals and national figures that have drawn Hersh’s attention, from My Lai to Watergate, from John F. Kennedy to Henry Kissinger.
This first-ever biography captures a stunningly successful career of important exposés and outstanding accomplishments from a man whose unpredictable and quirky personality has turned him into an icon of American life and the unrivaled “scoop artist” of American journalism.
A Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement
Within a few years of its first issue in 1951, Jet, a pocket-size magazine, became the "bible" for news of the civil rights movement. It was said, only half-jokingly, "If it wasn't in Jet, it didn't happen." Writing for the magazine and its glossy, big sister Ebony, for fifty-three years, longer than any other journalist, Washington bureau chief Simeon Booker was on the front lines of virtually every major event of the revolution that transformed America.Rather than tracking the freedom struggle from the usually cited ignition points, Shocking the Conscience begins with a massive voting rights rally in the Mississippi Delta town of Mound Bayou in 1955. It's the first rally since the Supreme Court's Brown decision struck fear in the hearts of segregationists across the former Confederacy. It was also Booker's first assignment in the Deep South, and before the next run of the weekly magazine, the killings would begin. Booker vowed that lynchings would no longer be ignored beyond the black press. Jet was reaching into households across America, and he was determined to cover the next murder like none before. He had only a few weeks to wait. A small item on the AP wire reported that a Chicago boy vacationing in Mississippi was missing. Booker was on it, and stayed on it, through one of the most infamous murder trials in U.S. history. His coverage of Emmett Till's death lit a fire that would galvanize the movement, while a succession of U.S. presidents wished it would go away. This is the story of the century that changed everything about journalism, politics, and more in America, as only Simeon Booker, the dean of the black press, could tell it.
A Guide for Writers, Students, and Scholars
America's Original Personal Finance Columnist
Sylvia Porter (1913–1991) was the nation’s first personal finance columnist and one of the most admired women of the twentieth century. In Sylvia Porter: America’s Original Personal Finance Columnist, Lucht traces Porter’s professional trajectory, identifying her career strategies and exploring the role of gender in her creation of a once-unique, now-ubiquitous form of journalism. A pioneer for both male and female journalists, Porter established a genre of newspaper writing that would last into the twenty-first century while carving a space for women in what had been an almost exclusively male field.
If it is true that the pen is mightier than the sword and that one picture is worth a thousand words, Thomas Nast must certainly rank as one of the most influential personalities in nineteenth-century American history. His pen, dipped in satire, aroused an apathetic, disinterested, and uninformed public to indignation and action more than once. The most notable Nast campaign, and probably the one best recorded today, was directed against New York City’s Tammany Hall and its boss, William Marcy Tweed. Boss Tweed and his ring so feared the power of Nast and his drawings that they once offered him a bribe of $500,000.
Six presidents of the United States received and gratefully accepted Nast’s support during their candidacies and administrations. Two of these, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant, credited Nast with more than mere support. During the Civil War, Lincoln called Nast his “best recruiting sergeant,” and after the war Grant, then a general, wrote that Nast had done as “much as any one man to preserve the Union and bring the war to an end.” Throughout his career the cartoonist remained an ardent champion of Grant who, after his election in 1868, attributed his victory to “the sword of Sheridan and the pencil of Thomas Nast.”
Nast’s work is still familiar today. It was Nast who popularized the modern concepts of Santa Claus and Uncle Sam and who created such symbols as the Democratic donkey, the Republican elephant, and the Tammany tiger.
With more than 150 examples of Nast’s work, Thomas Nast: Political Cartoonist recreates the life and pattern of artistic development of the man who made the political cartoon a respected and powerful journalistic form.
The Life and Times of George McLean, a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher
In 1924, George McLean, an Ole Miss sophomore and the spoiled son of a judge, attended a YMCA student mission conference whose free-thinking organizers aimed to change the world. They changed George McLean's.
But not instantly. As vividly recounted in the first biography of this significant figure in Southern history, Tupelo Man: The Life and Times of a Most Peculiar Newspaper Publisher, McLean drifted through schools and jobs, always questioning authority, always searching for a way to put his restless vision into practical use. In the Depression's depths, he was fired from a teaching job at what is now Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, over his socialist ideas and labor organizing work.
By 1934 he decided he had enough of working for others and that he would go into business for himself. In dirt-poor Northeast Mississippi, the Tupelo Journal was for sale, and McLean used his wife's money to buy what he called "a bankrupt newspaper from a bankrupt bank." As he struggled to keep the paper going, his Christian socialism evolved into a Christian capitalism that transformed the region. He didn't want a bigger slice of the pie for himself, he said; he wanted a bigger pie for all.
But McLean (1904-1983) was far from a saint. He prayed about his temper, with little result. He was distant and aloof toward his two children--adopted through a notorious Memphis baby selling operation. His wife, whom he deeply loved in his prickly way, left him once and threatened to leave again. "I don't know why I was born with this chip on my shoulder," he told her. Tupelo Man looks at this far-from-ordinary publisher in an intimate way that offers a fascinating story and insight into our own lives and times.
My Life in Radio
The host of The Bob Edwards Show and Bob Edwards Weekend on Sirius XM Radio, Bob Edwards became the first radio personality with a large national audience to take his chances in the new field of satellite radio. The programs’ mix of long-form interviews and news documentaries has won many prestigious awards. For thirty years, Louisville native Edwards was the voice of National Public Radio’s daily newsmagazine programs, co-hosting All Things Considered before launching Morning Edition in 1979. These programs built NPR’s national audience while also bringing Edwards to national prominence. In 2004, however, NPR announced that it would be finding a replacement for Edwards, inciting protests from tens of thousands of his fans and controversy among his listeners and fellow broadcasters. Today, Edwards continues to inform the American public with a voice known for its sincerity, intelligence, and wit. In A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio, Edwards recounts his career as one of the most important figures in modern broadcasting. He describes his road to success on the radio waves, from his early days knocking on station doors during college and working for American Forces Korea Network to his work at NPR and induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2004. Edwards tells the story of his exit from NPR and the launch of his new radio ventures on the XM Satellite Radio network. Throughout the book, his sharp observations about the people he interviewed and covered and the colleagues with whom he worked offer a window on forty years of American news and on the evolution of public journalism. A Voice in the Box is an insider’s account of the world of American media and a fascinating, personal narrative from one of the most iconic personalities in radio history.
A Memoir of Fifty Years in Chicago TV News
Walter Jacobson’s highly readable book Walter’s Perspective: A Memoir of Fifty Years in Chicago TV News provides a unique glimpse into the rough-and-tumble Chicago news business as seen through the eyes of one of its legendary players. From his first news job working as a legman for Daily News columnist Jack Mabley in the 1950s to his later role as a news anchor and political commentator at CBS-owned WBBM, Jacobson battled along the front lines of an industry undergoing dramatic changes. While it is ultimately Jacobson’s story, a memoir of a long and distinguished (and sometimes highly controversial) career, it is also an insider’s account of the inner workings of Chicago television news, including the ratings games, the process of defining news and choosing stories, the media’s power and its failures, and the meddling by corporate and network executives.
As a reporter, Jacobson was regularly contentious and confrontational. He was fired on a number of occasions and was convicted of libeling tobacco company Brown and Williamson, resulting in a multimillion-dollar federal court judgment against him and CBS. Yet it was this gutsy attitude that put him at the top of the news game, enabling him to get inside information on Chicago government and politics, and helped him become the first local television reporter to be granted a visa to visit Communist China. With an engaging writing style, Jacobson relates these experiences and much more. He recollects his interactions with Chicago mayors Richard J. and Richard M. Daley, Jane Byrne, Harold Washington, and Rahm Emanuel; recounts his coverage of such fascinating news stories as the violent 1968 Democratic National Convention and the execution of convicted mass murderer John Wayne Gacy; and recalls his reporting on and interviews with Louis Farrakhan, governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, and Barack Obama. More than a memoir, Walter’s Perspective is the extraordinary journey of one reporter whose distinctive career followed the changing face of Chicago’s local news.