Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five best books about writing for the newspaper

Bob Greene, a columnist and commentator for CNN, is the author of 25 books, most recently Late Edition: A Love Story.

One of his five best books about writing for newspapers, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
The Press
by A.J. Liebling (1961)

Before media criticism had a thousand voices, there was one: elegant, precise, funny, authoritative. It belonged to A.J. Liebling. Readers at their breakfast tables back then may have only vaguely sensed that newspapers were imperfect institutions, not as magisterial and infallible as their publishers liked to promote. After encountering Liebling in the New Yorker, those readers understood exactly why he, with irrefutable, amiable logic, regarded the press as "the weak slat under the bed of democracy." In this collection of his columns, written mostly in the 1940s and '50s, Liebling uses a diamond-cutter's touch to probe the press's flaws—but along the way, by doing it with such care, he inadvertently reveals his own great secret: He loved newspapers. Loved them. Loved them.
Read about the other books on Greene's list.

--Marshal Zeringue