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Shortcut to this page: last updated: June 11, 2010 suggestions:

This is a list of books and websites compiled by the Academic Affairs office with input from Columbia J-school faculty. While this list was originally aimed at M.S. students covering NYC, M.A. students will find some useful reading material here, too. One piece of required reading for all writers is "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. This small classic book should be something you read before you start school. We will have a limited number available for sale at the bookstore when you arrive, but we recommend that you read it in advance. To help you understand New York City, past and present, the faculty recommends you read some of the following books and Web sites. The list is long (though by no means exhaustive), and we certainly dont expect you to pick up every title here. The one book most often recommended by faculty is The Power Broker, Robert Caros Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of master planner Robert Moses. While it is more than 35 years old, it vividly captures the citys development, politics and turmoil. You may want to choose from several categories e.g., an anthology or two, a couple of the classics, and titles in subject areas (like politics or education) that interest you. Weve also listed some books that dont focus purely on New York, but are valuable for the information and insight they offer into media, technology and other topics. Finally, please get into the habit of reading at least a couple of New York newspapers every day in print or online and checking the Web sites of local broadcast stations, web-only outlets and blog. This will acquaint you with the city that will serve as your laboratory during the time youre here, and also the media outlets to which you may wish to pitch your stories.
NOTE: You will be getting online access to the AP Stylebook Online and will be expected to read it regularly.

Anthologies: Dan Barry: City Lights: Stories About New York David Remnick: Wonderful Town: New York Stories from the New Yorker Jamaica Kincaid: Talk Stories

Phillip Lopate: Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan Connie Rosenblum: New York Stories: The Best of the City Section of the New York Times Pete Hamill: Writings on Men & Women, Fools and Heroes, Lost Cities, Vanished Calamities and How the Weather Was

Arts and Culture: Marcia Tucker: A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World David Levering Lewis: When Harlem Was in Vogue Sarah Thornton: Seven Days in the Art World David Hajdu: Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn Ann Douglas: Terrible Honesty Hilton Als: The Women Jed Perl: New Art City Business: James B. Stewart: Den of Thieves Dean Starkman: Power Problem CJR Article Andrew Ross Sorkin: Too Big To Fail Michael Lewis: The Big Short Bryan Burrough & John Helyar: "Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco" Kurt Eichenwald: "The Informant" Cynthia Hetherington: Business Background Investigations Classic guides Federal Writers Project: The WPA Guide to New York City Blue Guide, New York AIA Guide to New York City: The Classic Guide to New Yorks Architecture Classic non-fiction books about New York: E.B. White: Here is New York Meyer Berger: The Eight Million: Journal of a New York Correspondent A.J. Liebling: Back Where I Came From Willie Morris: New York Days David McCullough: The Great Bridge Classic novels about New York: Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man Chang-Rae Lee: Native Speaker F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby Tom Wolfe: The Bonfire of the Vanities

Pete Hamill: Snow in August Bel Kaufman: Up the Down Staircase Colum McCann: Let the Great World Spin

Education: Samuel G. Freedman: Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students and Their High School Diane Ravitch: The Great School Wars of New York City 1805-1973 Alec Klein: A Class Apart: Prodigies, Pressure, and Passion Inside One of Americas Best High Schools Environment: John Keiran: A Natural History of New York City John Waldman: Heartbeats in the Muck: A Dramatic Look at the History, Sea Life and Environment of New York City Margaret Mittelbach & Michael Crewdson: Wild New York: A Guide to the Wildlife, Wild Places, and Natural Phenomenon of New York City Marie Winn: Central Park in the Dark: More Mysteries of Urban Wildlife David Rosner: Hives of Sickness: Public Health and Epidemics in New York City Immigration: Joseph Berger: The World in a City: Traveling the Globe Through the Neighborhoods of the New New York Tram Nguyen: We Are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities after 9/11 Bernard Malamud: The Magic Barrel Junot Diaz: Drown Law and Justice: Greg Donaldson: The Ville Brian MacDonald: My Fathers Gun: One Family, Three Badges, One Hundred Years in the NYPD Eric H. Monkkonen: Murder in New York City Edward Conlon: Blue Blood Don Pember and Clay Calvert, Mass Media Law (required for MS law classes) Life in New York: Adrian Nicole LeBlanc: Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx LynNell Hancock: Hands To Work: The Stories of Three Families Racing the Welfare Clock Jervis Anderson: This Was Harlem: A Cultural Portrait 1900-1950 David Carter: Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution

Jim Dwyer: Subway Lives: 24 Hours in the Life of the New York Subway Jonathan Kozol: Amazing Grace Joseph Mitchell: Up in the Old Hotel Judith Matloff: Home Girl Jim Sleeper: The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York Susan E. Tifft and Alex S. Jones: The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times Gay Talese: The Kingdom and the Power: Behind the Scenes at The New York Times Sarah Ellison: War at the Wall Street Journal Mike Hoyt and the staff of CJR: Reporting Iraq: An Oral History of the War by the Journalists Who Covered It. Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life James McGrath Morris: Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power David Halberstam: The Powers That Be


Photography: Douglas Levere: New York Changing: Revisiting Berenice Abbotts New York Weegees New York: Photographs, 1935-1960 Politics: Robert Caro: The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York Jim Sleeper: The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York Tom Edsall: "Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights and Taxes of American Politics" Nicholas Lemann: "The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America" Religion: Lis Harris: Holy Days: The World of the Hasidic Family Samuel G. Freedman: Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church Nathan Englander: For the Relief of Unbearable Urges Science: Jonathan Weiner: "Long for This World: The Strange Science of Immortality" Steven Berlin Johnson: "The Invention of Air: A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America" Rachel Carson: "Silent Spring" Richard Dawkins: "The Blind Watchmaker" Anne Fadiman: "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down"

James Gleick: "Chaos" & "Faster" John McPhee: "The Control of Nature" - among many others Tracy Kidder: "Mountains Beyond Mountains" Michael Pollan: "The Botany of Desire"h Richard Rhodes: "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" Oliver Sacks: "Awakenings" & "Musicophilia" Rebecca Skloot: "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" Dava Sobel: "Galileos Daughter" James Watson: "The Double Helix"

September 11: Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn: 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers David Halberstam: Firehouse Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins: Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 Anthony DePalma: City of Dust Sports: Michael Shapiro: The Last Good Season: Brooklyn, the Dodgers and Their Final Pennant Race Together Jimmy Breslin: Cant Anybody Here Play This Game? The Improbable Saga of the New York Mets First Year Tom Farrey: Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children Jonathan Mahler: The Bronx is Burning

Technology and the News Business: Leonard Downie and Michael Schudson: The Reconstruction of American Journalism the_reconstruction_of_american.php Todd Gitlin: Media Unlimited, How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives Clay Shirky: Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations Andrew Lih: The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the Worlds Greatest Encyclopedia Avinash Kaushik: Web Analytics Investigative Reporting Guides: Nora Paul and Kathleen A. Hansen: Computer-Assisted Research: Information strategies and tools for journalists Brant Houston: Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide, 3rd Edition

Jennifer LaFleur and Andy Lehren: Mapping for Stories: A ComputerAssisted Reporting Guide

Journalism School sites: (most of the Schools sites from 2009-10 academic year) (RW1 sites from 2009) (showcase of student work) City government sites: Online & Print Media: (RSS feeds of Bklyn sites) (RSS feeds of Bronx sites) Broadcast media: