According to the rumbustiously named H.R. Knickerbrocker - “Whenever you find hundreds of thousands of sane people trying to get out of a place and a little bunch of mad men struggling to get in, you know the latter are newspapermen.”
Self-described madman and award-winning reporter, Mort Rosenblum has written a field guide for rookie journalists. Besides toting the benefits of cotton underwear, Rosenblum offers advice on how to survive bullet ravaged war zones and the political minefield of newsrooms.
Rosenblum states his motivation for sharing his hard earned tips and tricks, is because “trial and error is no way to cover events that help shape the course of the planet.”
Besides practical safety advice, Rosenblum delves into the nitty gritty of ‘good journalism’ – from structuring an article, interview techniques, acknowledging cultural differences, unearthing potential stories to checking the reliability of sources. Rosenblum also outlines the rise of new media including blogging and youtube reports. Which has inevitably resulted in the downsizing of media outlets, the demise of hardcopy newspapers and the practical implications of outsourcing news stories.
Sounds about as appetising as stale, dry toast? Not true. This an excellent book, with the gonzo sensibility that “a journalist’s job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”.
Well as a sane person, I found it incredibly readable. It’s full of punchy one-liners and is liberally littered with humorous anecdotes from gatecrashing international borders, to how to convince an army battalion to be your bodyguard as you transverse Afghanistan (Note: make sure you keep your iPod charged).
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