For half a century, Lillian Ross has been writing remarkable and timeless journalism for The New Yorker. Her spirited, funny, factual short stories in The Talk of the Town and her unforgettable profiles and other long pieces have won her a legion of admirers. Many credit The New Yorker for the inventive, reportorial breakthroughs that have come to ...
For half a century, Lillian Ross has been writing remarkable and timeless journalism for The New Yorker. Her spirited, funny, factual short stories in The Talk of the Town and her unforgettable profiles and other long pieces have won her a legion of admirers. Many credit The New Yorker for the inventive, reportorial breakthroughs that have come to be called literary journalism, and Ross has been an integral part of its traditions. Her books Picture and Portrait of Hemingway were recently listed as two of the Twentieth Century's 100 best works of journalism, and Hemingway himself called Picture "much better than most novels." With panache, wit, and her own inimitable style, Lillian Ross discusses the questions of what makes a good reporter and what constitutes good journalism. Her years of practicing the art have provided her with much to say about these questions and nowhere is this in better evidence than in her own work-the pieces and profiles long recognized and admired for their freshness, originality, sharpness, humor, and truth. Excerpted here, along with her own commentary, are such classics as "Come In, Lassie!" her first, never before republished piece on Hollywood; her profiles of Francis Coppola, Robin Williams, Adlai Stevenson, John Huston, and Tommy Lee Jones; her two portraits of the Miss America contest-the first one published in 1949; the second fifty years later, and many others. A primer on good writing, a tribute to the art of journalism, Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism is not only a casebook for writing, it is the unforgettable record of Lillian Ross's joy in the pursuit of excellence in reporting.
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-05-06 Ross (Here but Not Here) has written profiles and Talk of the Town pieces for the New Yorker for more than 50 years and in that time has built up an arsenal of journalistic techniques, which she shares here in some detail. In a matter-of-fact style that's never pedantic, she discusses her feelings about journalism, praising her New Yorker colleagues (notably the late editor William Shawn) and offering her definition of journalism (factual reporting built of good writing and singular humor). The majority of the book is filled with Ross's deconstruction of some of her best-loved pieces, including 1949's Come In, Lassie! (about politics in the film business); 1950's How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen? (a profile of Ernest Hemingway); and 1960's The Yellow Bus (concerning a group of tourists visiting New York City). Through her analyses, various methods and principles come to light. For example, Ross believes that a journalist must possess self-confidence and a passion for life. She firmly believes that a tape recorder hinders reporting, and even reveals her preferred notebook (it's a 3-x-5 spiral-bound). Ross says she only writes about people, situations and events that appeal to her; she doesn't write about anyone who doesn't want her to, and she steers clear of ambiguous writing, favoring clarity and simplicity. Indeed, Ross's writing whether about a former president or an Upper East Side teenager is a testimony to refined, literary journalism. Equal parts memoir and writing lesson, Ross's book will be a boon to students and veteran New Yorker readers alike. (June 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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