Synopses & Reviews
Over her four decades of working in newsrooms big and small, Margaret Sullivan has become a trusted champion and critic of the American news media. In this bracing memoir, Sullivan traces her life in journalism and how trust in the mainstream press has steadily eroded.
Sullivan began her career at the Buffalo News, where she rose from summer intern to editor in chief. In Newsroom Confidential she chronicles her years in the trenches battling sexism and throwing elbows in a highly competitive newsroom. In 2012, Sullivan was appointed the public editor of The New York Times, the first woman to hold that important role. She was in the unique position of acting on behalf of readers to weigh the actions and reporting of the paper's staff, parsing potential lapses in judgment, unethical practices, and thorny journalistic issues. Sullivan recounts how she navigated the paper's controversies, from Hillary Clinton's emails to Elon Musk's accusations of unfairness to the need for greater diversity in the newsroom. In 2016, having served the longest tenure of any public editor, Sullivan left for the Washington Post, where she had a front-row seat to the rise of Donald Trump in American media and politics.
With her celebrated mixture of charm, sharp-eyed observation, and nuanced criticism, Sullivan takes us behind the scenes of the nation's most influential news outlets to explore how Americans lost trust in the news and what it will take to regain it.
“An insider's view of U.S. news reporting urging the restoration of public faith in the press.” Library Journal
“Sullivan surveys the travails and triumphs of being a woman in the industry, detailing the difficulties of being an editor for one of the nation's most read papers….The insider's view into American journalism is engrossing.” Publishers Weekly
“A veteran journalist recounts her life in the newsroom while prescribing cures for the media's current woes….A welcome memoir of time in the reportorial trenches.” Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Margaret Sullivan is currently the media columnist for the Washington Post and has been a journalist for over four decades. She has served on four Pulitzer Prize juries, including as a chairwoman for the Commentary jury, and was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board from 2011 to 2012. A faculty member of Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, she has also taught journalism in the graduate schools at Columbia University and City University of New York. She was the first woman editor of her hometown paper, the Buffalo News, and she was also the first woman public editor of The New York Times. She won the 2021 Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism for her Washington Post columns, with the judges saying her work "sets the standard" for American media criticism. She is the author of Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy. She lives in New York City.