journalism

    The news is everywhere. We can’t stop constantly checking it on our computer screens, but what is this doing to our minds?

We are never really taught how to make sense of the torrent of news we face every day, writes Alain de Botton (author of the best-selling The Architecture of Happiness), but this has a huge impact on our sense of what matters and of how we should lead our lives. In his new book, de Botton takes twenty-five archetypal news stories—including an airplane crash, a murder, a celebrity interview and a political scandal—and submits them to unusually intense analysis with a view to helping us navigate our news-soaked age.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, Massachusetts Tuesday night.

When Marie Colvin was killed in an attack in Syria in February 2012, the world mourned the loss of the greatest war correspondent of her generation.

Marie was known for her signature style, her black eye patch and the pearls gifted from Arafat, and her fearlessness in covering some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts. She died while reporting on the suffering of Syrian civilians,sacrificing her life with a cause she believed in- the need to witness the bear anonymous victims of war.

Telling her story for the first time is Paul Conroy, a British war photographer who had forged a close bond with Marie, and was with her when she died. His book is Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment. It is a gripping and moving account of their friendship, and of their final assignment to one of the most hellish places on Earth.

   Simon Winchester has never shied away from big, even enormous, topics—as evidenced by his bestselling biography of the Atlantic Ocean, his account of the Krakatoa volcanic eruption, and his wildly popular The Professor and the Madman, about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.

In his new memoir, The Man with the Electrified Brain, he takes on arguably his most daunting subject yet: his own flirtation with madness, and one of nature’s greatest and most enduring mysteries, the human brain.

 

  From his early 70s dispatches as a critic for the Village Voice on rock and roll, comedy, movies, and television to the literary criticism of the 80s and 90s that made him famous, to his must-read cultural reporting for Vanity Fair- James Walcott has had a career as a free lance critic and a literary intellectual like none other.

With his new career-spanning collection Critical Mass: Four Decades of Essays, Reviews, Hand Grenades and Hurrahs- he gives us his best critical essays and cultural journalism.

    Legendary newsman, Dan Rather, remains one of the few living news reporters who were on the ground in Dallas covering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In a new special airing tonight on AXS TV, Rather provides a personal, behind-the-scenes account of the details surrounding JFK’s Dallas visit.

Dan Rather walks us through a sequence of events involving the reporting of Kennedy’s death and how he became the first press member to confirm it to CBS News, approximately 20 minutes before the official announcement from The White House.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time and Team of Rivals, has returned to the presidency in her latest book, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism.

The former LBJ staffer's latest work demonstrates her blend of scholarship, intellectual rigor, and riveting storytelling with a focus on the turbulent and faithful relationship between two presidents, the rise of muckraking journalism, and the far-reaching ferment of the progressive era: a time in many respects uncannily like our own.

    In his new book, The Frackers, journalist Gregory Zuckerman tells us the back-story. Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcatters were determined to tap massive deposits of oil and gas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissed as a waste of time.

By experimenting with hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shale—a process now known as fracking—the wildcatters started a revolution. In just a few years, they looked to relieve America’s dependence on imported energy, triggered a global environmental controversy—and made and lost astonishing fortunes.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The recent firing of a reporter in North Adams, Massachusetts has garnered national attention.

  Thomas Patterson, a professor of government and the press at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, whose new book is Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism. The book began as a look at what journalism schools need to do to train the new generation of reporters.

Patterson proposes “knowledge-based journalism” as a corrective, believing that unless journalists are more deeply informed about the subjects they cover, they will continue to misinterpret them and to be vulnerable to manipulation by their sources.

In this book, derived from a multi-year initiative of the Carnegie Corporation and the Knight Foundation, Patterson calls for nothing less than a major overhaul of journalism practice and education.

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