Summary of Letters to a Young Journalist

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Letters to a Young Journalist book summary
New reporters must remember that journalism is a noble calling: watch carefully, tell the truth and write it clearly.


9 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


American journalism is deeply flawed, but not fatally so, reporter Samuel G. Freedman argues in this clear-eyed critique of his calling. As one deeply steeped in his trade, Freedman offers both a damning indictment and an inspiring call to the next generation. Freedman structures his analysis as a series of letters to one of his students, and manages to strike just the right balance between the theoretical and the practical. He seasons his study with plenty of war stories from the front lines of journalism. In a business full of cynics, Freedman comes across as an idealist, one reporter who believes in the power of the press to change the world, in spite of dwindling readership and advertising revenue. getAbstract recommends this slim volume to anyone who works in the media or needs to understand its best intentions.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why journalism remains a noble calling
  • What principles tough-minded journalists follow
  • How to write and structure a story


A Crisis of Confidence
American journalism faces a crisis of self-confidence and of public credibility. High-profile scandals such as those involving fabricated stories by Jayson Blair of The New York Times and Stephen Glass of the New Republic have focused attention on one of the media...
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About the Author

Veteran newspaper reporter Samuel G. Freedman teaches journalism at Columbia University and works as a columnist for The New York Times. He has written five books, including The Inheritance and Who She Was. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

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