Stephen Romei – editor of the Australian Literary Review – believes all journalists should read On Writing Well, William Zinsser’s classic guide to writing nonfiction.
As part of upstart’s #topjournobooks series, Romei stresses that the mantra of ‘simplicity’ should be the key lesson taken from On Writing Well.
“[Zinsser’s] four principles of writing are hard to beat: clarity; simplicity; brevity; and humanity.”
Sally Heath – editor of A2, The Age’s culture and life liftout – thinks journalism students should read true crime books such as In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper.
Film and music journalist Lynden Barber adds Scoop by Evelyn Waugh to the list, while sportswriter Ashley Browne nominates You Gotta Play Hurt by Dan Jenkins.
Kathy Bail, formerly of The Bulletin and AFR Magazine, thinks we should read James Thurber’s The Years With Ross “for a sense of magazine journalism in an era of typewriters, smoking and drinking.”
Thanks Kathy, but isn’t magazine journalism still the same now?
Minus the typewriters, of course.
Amongst other books, Mike Dobbie, from the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, reckons Waterhouse on Newspaper Style by Keith Waterhouse and Dispatches by Michael Herr are must-reads.
The esteemed editors of upstart also shared what they think every journalist should read. Head honcho Lawrie Zion is a fan of Nobody’s Perfect, Anthony Lane’s collection of New Yorker articles, of which he promised a review very soon.
In upstart’s search for the books every journalist should read, here is what our readers and contributors have listed so far:
A Crooked Sixpence by Murray Sayle
A Writer’s Coach by Jack Hart
All The President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
Cameron in the Guardian by James Cameron
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Death Sentences by Don Watson
Dispatches by Michael Herr
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Fit To Print by Joris Luyendijk
Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Letter from America by Alistair Cooke
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Nobody’s Perfect by Anthony Lane
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Rebel Journalism by William Burchett
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Towards the End of the Morning by Michael Frayn
The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad
The Content Makers by Margaret Simons
The Cricket War by Gideon Haigh
The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
The First Casualty by Phillip Knightley
The Great War For Civilisation by Robert Fisk
The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry
The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper
The White Album by Joan Didion
The Year of Living Dangerously by Christopher Koch
The Years With Ross by James Thurber
This Restless Life by Brigid Delaney
Waterhouse on Newspaper Style by Keith Waterhouse
Vietnam: A Reporter’s War by Hugh
You Gotta Play Hurt by Dan Jenkins
What do you think? Has anything been left off the #topjournobooks list? What book should every journalist read?
Better yet, you could email us at email@example.com with a pitch for a review of your #topjournobooks.
Feel free to check out and comment on the reviews already posted for the #topjournobooks list.