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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.
Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 19782012, is the first book to comprehensively examine career patterns in American journalism.
In 1978 Brookings Senior Fellow Stephen Hess surveyed 450 journalists who were covering national government for U.S. commercial news organizations. His study became the award-winning The Washington Reporters (Brookings, 1981), the first volume in his Newswork series. Now, a generation later, Hess and his team from Brookings and the George Washington University have tracked down 90 percent of the original group, interviewing 283, some as far afield as France, England, Italy, and Australia.
What happened to the reporters within their organizations? Did they change jobs? Move from reporter to editor or producer? Jump from one type of medium to another from print to TV? Did they remain in Washington or go somewhere else? Which ones left journalism? Why? Where did they go?
A few of them have become quite famous, including television correspondents Ted Koppel, Sam Donaldson, Brit Hume, Carole Simpson, Judy Woodruff, and Marvin Kalb; some have become editors or publishers of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, or Baltimore Sun; some have had substantial careers outside of journalism. Most, however, did not become household names.
The book is designed as a series of self-contained essays, each concentrating on one characteristic, such as age, gender, or place of employment, including newspapers, television networks, wire services, and niche publications. The reporters speak for themselves. When all of these lively portraits are analyzed one by one the results are surprisingly different from what journalists and sociologists in 1978 had predicted.
Praise for other books in the Newswork series:
International News and Foreign Correspondents
"It is not much in vogue to speak of things like the public trust, but thankfully Stephen Hess is old fashioned. He reminds us in this valuable and provocative book that journalism is a public trust, providing the basic information on which citizens in a democracy vote, or tune out." Ken Auletta, The New Yorker
"Regardless of one's view of American news media, one cannot help but be influenced by the information Stephen Hess puts forth in International News and Foreign Correspondents. After reading this book, it is not likely one will scan the newspaper or watch television news in the same way again." International Affairs Review
"Readers of all backgrounds will find this a provocative text." The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics
Live from Capitol Hill
"Hess is a treasure a Washington insider with a sharp sense of the important, the interesting, and the mythological. This book is essential reading for Hill practitioners, journalists, and scholars of Congress and the media." Steven S. Smith, Washington University
The Washington Reporters "A meticulously researched piece of anthropology that represents the first major look at the men and women who cover the government since Leo C. Rosten's classic 1937 book." Newsweek