Just a Journalist: On the Press, Life, and the Spaces Between

Photo of the cover of the book titled "Just a Journalist."

Linda Greenhouse, the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence at Yale Law School

(Harvard University Press)

In this book, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter trains an autobiographical lens on a moment of transition in American journalism. Just a few years ago, the mainstream press was wrestling with whether labeling waterboarding as torture violated important norms of neutrality and objectivity. Now, major American newspapers regularly call the president of the United States a liar. The old rules of “balance” and “two sides to every story” have lost their grip, the author contends. Is the change for the better? Will it last?

In “Just a Journalist,” Linda Greenhouse tackles these questions from the perspective of her own experience. A decade ago, she faced criticism from her own newspaper and much of journalism’s leadership for a speech to a college alumnae group in which she criticized the Bush administration for, among other things, seeking to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo Bay — two years after the Supreme Court itself had ruled that the detainees could not be hidden away from the reach of federal judges who might hear their appeals.

Calling herself “an accidental activist,” Greenhouse raises questions about the role journalists can and should play as citizens, even as participants, in the world around them.

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