View Gallery


Reporting Back

Notes on Journalism

List Price: $16.95

July 8, 2003 | Paperback |  5.4 x 8, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781582432861
Order Now From Indiebound

"[Ross] turns in a journalistic memoir that is itself very like a "Talk of the Town" piece: lively, detailed, and filled with humanity and wit." —Booklist Starred Review

For half a century, Lillian Ross has been writing remarkable and timeless journalism for The New Yorker. Her spirited, funny, factual short stories in The Talk of the Town and her unforgettable profiles and other long pieces have won her a legion of admirers. Many credit The New Yorker for the inventive, reportorial breakthroughs that have come to be called literary journalism, and Ross has been an integral part of its traditions. Her books Picture and Portrait of Hemingway were recently listed as two of the 20th century’s 100 best works of journalism, and Hemingway himself called Picture, “much better than most novels.”

With panache, wit, and her own inimitable style, Lillian Ross discusses the questions of what makes a good reporter and what constitutes good journalism. Her years of practicing the art have provided her with much to say about these questions and nowhere is this in better evidence than in her own work—the pieces and profiles long recognized and admired for their freshness, originality, sharpness, humor, and truth. Excerpted here, along with her own commentary, are such classics as “Come In, Lassie!” her first, never before republished piece on Hollywood; her profiles of Francis Coppola, Robin Williams, Adlai Stevenson, John Huston, and Tommy Lee Jones; her two portraits of the Miss America contest—the first one published in 1949; the second fifty years later, and many others.

A primer on good writing, a tribute to the art of journalism, Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism is not only a casebook for writing, it is the unforgettable record of Lillian Ross’s joy in the pursuit of excellence in reporting.

About Lillian Ross

LILLIAN ROSS, long a staff writer at The New Yorker, is the author of eleven books, including Portrait of Hemingway, Vertical and Horizontal, Reporting, The Player, and Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism. She lives in New York City.


“[Ross] turns in a journalistic memoir that is itself very like a “Talk of the Town” piece: lively, detailed, and filled with humanity and wit. Her tour of good writing takes the form of letting the reader in on the origins of her favorite pieces, talking about the challenges of reporting on their subjects, and then dissecting the final published pieces. Ross’ method is, always, to find the story embedded in the facts… A wonderful journalism handbook, memoir, and addition to books on The New Yorker.” —Booklist Starred Review

“…Ross’s writing whether about a former president or an Upper East Side teenager is a testimony to refined, literary journalism. Equal parts memoir and writing lesson, Ross’s book will be a boon to students and veteran New Yorker readers alike.” —Publishers Weekly


Related Products