REPORTING LIVE by Lesley Stahl


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A breezy yet informative behind-the-microphone look at how the news is reported—and at why and how the Fourth Estate has become one of the most reviled professional categories in America today. Veteran CBS reporter Stahl entered TV journalism in an era when women were supposed to provide pleasant filler, but soon she made a name for herself, after she was assigned to cover a “third-rate burglary” that turned into Watergate. And what a niche she carved: two decades covering the White House during the Carter, Reagan, and Bush presidencies, eight years at the helm of Face the Nation, and eight years, so far, as a reporter for 60 Minutes. Stahl writes chattily and incisively of how the news is gathered, giving us insightful glimpses into some of this century’s most important news stories: Watergate, the Carter hostage crisis, Iran-Contra. Still, the book is more than a chronicle of one woman’s rise in journalism and her unreserved account of the trials of making it in a very male world. (Even so, Stahl the mother is refreshingly honest about her professional drive and how she’s managed to combine parenting with profession.) Rather, Reporting Live also takes an intriguing look at how journalism, especially TV journalism, has itself developed. The result is a fascinating chronicle reflecting Stahl’s views on both society and herself. Deregulation, for instance, in her judgment begat more stations even as technology begat more cable—and, yes, even more stations. As a result, TV journalists started “wet-fingering like the politicians, relying on polls so we could give the public what they wanted.” Exit hard-hitting, substantive news; enter tabloid news. News junkies will savor every sound-bite in this sassy memoir. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-82930-4
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1998


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