The Book of the Week is “Deadline” by James Reston, published in 1991. This is the career memoir of James “Scotty” Reston. Originally from Scotland, he became a highly respected employee at the New York Times for many years.
In 1928, the author began to attend the University of Illinois’ school of journalism, whose tuition was $28 per semester. In his senior year, the bank from which he wrote the check to pay such tuition, failed due to the Great Depression. Fortunately, the governor of Ohio, a friend of his, lent him the money to continue at the school.
When Reston was 25, the Associated Press hired him to be an urban columnist six days a week. Perks of the job included free restaurant meals, theater shows, opera, etc. with the understanding that there would be favorable coverage of the providing entities.
In the mid 1930’s, the New York Times was one of several newspapers in New York. It competed by sending seventy (!) reporters compared to the others’ twenty, to cover an important story.
Reston wrote about many of the twentieth century’s important political and economic issues– the scandals, wars and international incidents. He lamented over the fact that “The government accuses the press of threatening the national security by printing the truth but sees no such threat when the government itself tells lies.”
A large portion of the book was dedicated to Reston’s opinions on America’s foreign policy through the decades. He believed that the country remained dominant, rich and strong after World War II despite its political scandals and periods of disarray, because its democracy, although imperfect, was still way superior to the kinds fascism, socialism and communism practiced by other nations.
Read the book to learn the details.