Former Washington Post publisher Phil Graham once called journalism “the first rough draft of history.” At a time when newspapers seem on the brink of collapse and many reporters seem to value access to the powerful over their intended role as skeptics and watchdogs, it is important to remember how essential an unbiased, critical Fourth Estate is to the nation and to history.
This volume looks back at the last half of the 20th century through the work and reminiscences of ten of the era’s preeminent journalists.
Reporters Who Made History: Great American Journalists on the Issues and Crises of the Late 20th Century looks at a series of extraordinary chapters in the American story through the eyes of ten giants of journalism: Helen Thomas, Anthony Lewis, Morley Safer, Earl Caldwell, Ben Bradlee, Georgie Anne Geyer, Ellen Goodman, Juan Williams, David Broder, and Judy Woodruff.
Taking each of these journalists in turn, Hallock focuses on his or her work in the course of a single decade, drawing on the author’s interviews with the journalist, archival research, memoirs, and critical studies. These exemplars of the best postwar American news reporting never took the easy path of simply restating policies and uncritically regurgitating press releases. Instead, their skeptical, independent, and searching methods of investigative and analytical journalism actually influenced the course of the very events they covered and significantly shaped our understanding of our national past.
• Includes over 200 excerpts from primary sources, including original broadcasts, articles, memoirs, and autobiographies, plus personal interviews with each journalist
• Offers a comprehensive index—especially helpful for pinpointing specific issues, events, and stories from the era
• Makes clear the impact of groundbreaking reporting of major events on our ultimate understanding of history
• Follows the cultural and technological evolution of journalism from bulky TV gear, the linotype, and typewriters to hand-held recording devices, cell phones, and computer technology
• Zeroes in on specific history-making cases and stories, such as McCarthyism, Watergate, the Clinton impeachment, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Gives the featured journalists the chance to offer modern-day reflections on the historic events they helped to define