Required reading for aspiring journalists

By Maria Davison

From Flickr user Georg Mayer
This semester I’ve been assigned to read a lot of incredible pieces of journalism. We didn’t just read things that were published yesterday, but pieces that spanned history and genres. When the semester ends, I’m going to miss having required reading because on my own, I never know what’s actually worth taking the time to read.

With every bit of advice for young journalists comes the tip that we should be reading and reading. And reading. So what should we read?

When the semester finally ends, and you have some free time to catch up on some reading, here are a few lists of the best writing for aspiring journalists to check out.

1. These 50 titles encompass the basics — Kovoach and Rosentiel’s Elements of Journalism and the AP Stylebook — but it also pulls historical texts that have shaped the way we think about journalism now, like The Jungle and In Cold Blood.

2. The Columbia Journalism Review asked journalists and other professionals what books, article and essays aspiring journalists should read to becoming better journalists. It also includes some web-based long-form work with multimedia elements.

3. Longreads culled this list of syllabi from professors’ courses — mostly courses on narrative or literary journalism. It includes their entire syllabus, so you can see how their using each piece to teach about an element of journalism.

4. This list from Neiman Storyboard also looks at what journalistic writing professors require that their students read during the semester. It includes articles, novels, essays and nonfiction.

What do you think are the most important things for young journalists to read? And what about things to watch and listen to as well? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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