'Entertaining, amusing, even inspirational. Above all, what every good reporter aims to deliver, a great read.' Peter Cole, Professor of Journalism at the University of Sheffield
'American newsrooms need to buy this inspiring book by the carton. David Randall's gripping collection of profiles in inky courage demonstrates that our current malaise amounts to ignorance of the perpetual siege of newsrooms by the powerful and the parsimonious. "The Great Reporters" is rich with the kind of lore that needs to inform the culture of newspaper journalism."
Dean Miller, The Poynter Institute for Media Studies
Who are the greatest reporters in history?
This unique book is the first to try and answer this question. Author David Randall searched nearly two centuries of newspapers and magazines, consulted editors and journalism experts worldwide, and the result is The Great Reporters – 13 in-depth profiles of the best journalists who ever lived. They include nine Americans and four Britons, ten men and three women, whose lives were full of adventure, wit, and the considerable ingenuity required to bring the story home. Among chapters are those on the reporter who:
• Booked himself onto a ship likely to be sunk by the Germans so he could report its torpedoing
• Was called out to a multiple shooting, who interviewed 50 witnesses, went back to the office, and wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning story of 4,000 words in two and a half hours
• Was deemed useless by her teacher but who went on to become the greatest crime reporter in history
• Wrote a story that changed the map of Europe
• Out-bluffed a top Soviet official to get into Russia so he could cover the appalling famine there
• Feigned madness to get herself locked up in an asylum so she could expose its terrible conditions
• Was the best ever to apply words to newsprint
• Became a national hero in America because he stood up for the little guy and his war reporting told it like it really was
• At the age of 63, and after three major operations, went under-cover in Iran so she could report on the regime’s repression
• Was nearly fired for fouling up his first major assignment, but went on to shock his nation with his courageous war reporting
• Wrote faster than anyone who could write better and better than anyone who could write faster
• Single-handedly took on the tobacco industry
• Said no to William Randolph Hearst
Each profile tells of the reporter's life and his or her major stories, how they were obtained, and their impact. Packed with anecdotes, and inspiring accounts of difficulties overcome, the book quotes extensively from each reporter’s work. It also includes an essay on the history of reporting, charting the technologies, economics, and attitudes that made it the way it is – from the invention of the telegraph to the Internet. The Great Reporters is not just the story of 13 remarkable people, it is the story of how society’s information hunter-gatherers succeed in bringing us all what we need to know.