Daily Archives: 12 January 2007

A reading list for journalists and wannabes

The other day, a young reporter asked, “Sir, can you suggest some books that I should read?”

The question at once underscored two things. One, how little our journalism schools and colleges inculcate the reading habit in journalism students. And two, how little information there is out there for an eager journalist to pursue her interest.

There was a third point that came across in the question. Namely, how we journalists are still to learn to make optimum use of the internet. There are thousands of websites offering reading lists. That we should still ask reveals a little.

Nevertheless, Sans Serif is pleased to unveil a reasonably comprehensive but unapologetically subjective list of books that journalists and soon-to-be journalists may like to read. The only consideration in their selection is their readability.

Click on the “What You Should Read” button on the left for the full text.


Bold, edgy, intelligent. What’s that?

One day in the year of 2043, predicts Philip Meyer in his recent book The Vanishing Newspaper, a reader will set aside the final copy of a printed American newspaper as new technology, diminishing advertising returns, and plunging readerships take their toll.

But newspapers aren’t dying but committing suicide, says columnist Molly Ivins:

“What really pisses me off is this most remarkable business plan: Newspaper owners look at one another and say, ‘Our rate of return is slipping a bit; let’s solve that problem by making our product smaller and less helpful and less interesting’. If there has been a model of American newspaper innovation in the past three decades, it’s this: Never do something bold, edgy or intelligent when there is a predictable and useless gimmick into which energy and resources can be dumped for a few years. “

Read the full article: Newspapers… and After?

Your privacy ends where my nose begins

Kate Middleton, the girlfriend of Prince William, has been in the eye of a photography storm, with the paparazzi pursuing the woman many believe may become the wife of a future King of Britain.

But Simon Jenkins, the former editor of The Times, London, provides a compelling contrarian view on the breast-beating that accompanies such intrusions by the press:

“Everyone has some right to privacy, but it is calibrated to their fame and susceptible to little more than taste… if 20 policemen can protect Tony Blair‘s front door from anti-war protesters and others, surely a couple can be spared to keep photographers on the far side of Middleton’s street. There is no such thing as compulsory fame, even for royal families. Many European monarchs live unobtrusive lives and do not involve their relations in public events. The rich and aristocratic are uniquely blessed with means of avoiding crowds. They can disappear to castles, islands and estates and associate only with others like themselves. They are not required to go to fashionable nightclubs, and if they do they can hardly complain about being pictured.”

Read the full article here: This scrutiny of the famous and the powerful is unpleasant but necessary