The Times: How the Newspaper of Record Survived Scandal, Scorn, and the Transformation of Journalism (Hardcover)
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A sweeping behind-the-scenes look at the last four turbulent decades of “the paper of record,” The New York Times, as it confronted world-changing events, internal scandals, and faced the existential threat of the internet
“Beneath the utter brilliance of the Times’s front page, Succession-level theatrics broil.”—Graydon Carter
For over a century, The New York Times has been an iconic institution in American journalism, one whose history is intertwined with the events that it chronicles—a newspaper read by millions of people every day to stay informed about events that have taken place across the globe.
In The Times, Adam Nagourney, who’s worked at The New York Times since 1996, examines four decades of the newspaper’s history, from the final years of Arthur “Punch” Sulzberger’s reign as publisher to the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. Nagourney recounts the paper’s triumphs—the coverage of September 11, the explosion of the U.S. Challenger, the scandal of a New York governor snared in a prostitution case—as well as failures that threatened the paper’s standing and reputation, including the discredited coverage of the war in Iraq, the resignation of Judith Miller, the plagiarism scandal of Jayson Blair, and the high-profile ouster of two of its executive editors.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents and letters contained in the newspaper’s archives and the private papers of editors and reporters, The Times is an inside look at the essential years that shaped the newspaper. Nagourney paints a vivid picture of a divided newsroom, fraught with tension as it struggled to move into the digital age, while confronting its scandals, shortcomings, and swelling criticism from conservatives and many of its own readers alike. Along the way we meet the memorable personalities—including Abe Rosenthal, Max Frankel, Howell Raines, Joe Lelyveld, Bill Keller, Jill Abramson, Dean Baquet, Punch Sulzberger and Arthur Sulzberger Jr.—who shaped the paper as we know it today. We see the battles between the newsroom and the business operations side, the fight between old and new media, the tension between journalists who tried to hold on to the traditional model of a print newspaper and a new generation of reporters who are eager to embrace the new digital world.
Immersive, meticulously researched, and filled with powerful stories of the rise and fall of the men and women who ran the most important newspaper in the nation, The Times is a definitive account of the most pivotal years in New York Times history.
About the Author
Adam Nagourney covers national politics for The New York Times. Since joining the newspaper in 1996, he has served as Los Angeles bureau chief, West Coast cultural affairs reporter, chief national political correspondent, and chief New York political reporter. He is the co-author of Out for Good, a history of the modern gay rights movement.
“With impeccable reporting, Adam Nagourney gives us intimate portraits of the men and women of The New York Times who reported upon and wrote the headlines of world happenings, and sometimes (to their embarrassment) made headlines themselves. In the style of a first-rate dramatist, he captures what happens behind the scenes in the newsroom, and in his long, wonderful book I did not find one page that failed to interest me.”—Gay Talese, author of The Kingdom and the Power
“Beneath the utter brilliance of the Times’s front page, Succession-level theatrics broil. Adam Nagourney has completely captured the paper in all its glory and heartbreak, and this book is simply addictive. Journalists will devour it. Readers of the Times will be gripped by the dramas of the inner sanctum.”—Graydon Carter, editor of Air Mail
“Adam Nagourney’s magisterial account of The New York Times’s struggle to reinvent itself for the modern age is utterly engrossing and highly entertaining. Egos rise, careers fall. In this behind-the-scenes look at America’s premier newspaper, the ‘Gray Lady’ comes across as anything but monochromatic or ladylike. Yet Nagourney shows again and again why, for all its flaws, his paper makes the world a better place.”—Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire
“The New York Times is a vital element in the life of the nation, and Adam Nagourney has written a vital book about the internal workings of a powerful but little-understood American institution. With reportorial rigor and a fair-minded analytical voice, Nagourney walks us through years of tumult at the paper, reminding us anew that human forces are forever in play even when they are obscured by the seeming authority of familiar fonts. This is good, important history.”—Jon Meacham, author of American Lion
“Adam Nagourney’s The Times is an insider’s blockbuster account of how The New York Times triumphed over adversity during the past four jangled decades to remain the undisputed newspaper of record. Highly recommended.”—Douglas Brinkley, author of American Moonshot
“Absorbing . . . Nagourney’s account of the Times’ performance during the fraught days after 9/11, the good with the bad, is outstanding. Still, students of the journalism business will most value his study of the halting steps the paper took toward becoming a digital giant. . . . An exemplary work of journalism about journalism, of surpassing interest to any serious consumer of the news.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Drawing on extensive research and original interviews, Nagourney provides astute insight into leadership under crisis as well as a window onto recent decades of polarizing politics. The result is both a valuable case study of an industry in flux and a unique angle on American history.”—Publishers Weekly