Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media” as Want to Read:
Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  186 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
On May 11, 2003, The New York Times devoted four pages of its Sunday paper to the deceptions of Jayson Blair, a mediocre former Times reporter who had made up stories, faked datelines, and plagiarized on a massive scale. The fallout from the Blair scandal rocked the Times to its core and revealed fault lines in a fractious newsroom that was already close to open revolt.

Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 9th 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hard News, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hard News

The Daughter of Time by Josephine TeyA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Do you have the...Time?
103rd out of 233 books — 32 voters
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi PicoultCloud Atlas by David MitchellDead to the World by Charlaine HarrisAmerica (The Book) by Jon StewartSuite Française by Irène Némirovsky
Best Books of 2004
250th out of 333 books — 150 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 415)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 02, 2007 Ryan rated it liked it
Completely compelling story. Fascinating look into the newspaper world. I do have to warn anyone ordering this through - because I ordered it, I was recommended a "Mr. Big FlexoFlesh Realistic Dildo (Mulato)" (I still have the screen grab because I thought it was so funny) - I couldn't tell if it was just because the word Hard was in the title, or if Amazon was insinuating a lifestyle suggestion for a woman ordering a non-fiction book about the New York Times. Either way they really n ...more
I thought this was a book about the Jayson Blair scandal (in which it turned out that a Times reporter had not only plagiarized other reporters but also sometimes failed to even make it to the scene where he was supposedly reporting from). Then I thought it was about Howell Raines, the brilliant but flawed executive editor who tried to make the Times submit to his cult of personality. Finally I realized that the book is actually about how highly intelligent and well-meaning people can make decis ...more
Mitchell Hahn-Branson
May 18, 2012 Mitchell Hahn-Branson rated it it was amazing
A clear, fair-minded, sharply written account of the 2001–2003 mismanagement of The New York Times and its consequences, including but not limited to the infamous behavior of one Jayson Blair. Mnookin uses the history of the paper (and of American journalism in general), firsthand interviews, and contemporary news accounts to give us a good context for understanding how the country's most respected paper, with all its money and resources, could be fooled and manipulated by a disturbed, charismat ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Bookworm rated it really liked it
Is this The New York TImes or Game of Thrones? After the relatively recent scandal of the firing of Jill Abramson, it seemed like this would be a good book to add to my list. It was branded as a book about the Jayson Blair saga--a young black reporter who was found to have plagiarized MANY of his articles for the NYT. However, the book was not quite that and it was really more as a story of the Howell Raines time as executive editor (during Blair's time there and would lead to his downfall).

At f
Jun 16, 2014 Mona rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
I wanted to read all the details about the Jayson Blair scandal and how it could have happened at the premier newspaper in America. It took a hundred pages in before we got to it. I understand why we needed all the background, but there were so many names and issues to wade through. In fact the book was so full of briefly mentioned staffers that I kept wanting depth on the main players. Perhaps one could liken it to the scrolling down the nearly endless list of every single person who worked on ...more
Feb 18, 2010 Noah rated it really liked it
If you're looking for an accessible book about the changing nature of the news industry, this isn't it. This book is pure inside baseball, a detailed retracing of what happened in the NYT newsroom in the years post-9/11, with particular attention to the Jayson Blair scandal. I enjoyed it a lot, but it's definitely not for everyone.
Sep 14, 2013 Patrick rated it liked it
I was there. He gets a lot of stuff wrong, but I guess the gist is here. Take it with a grain of salt.
Jul 14, 2014 Adam rated it really liked it
great news-dork read. loved the postmodern writing (this book) about writing (NYT self reporting) about writing (Jayson Blair's fabrications). Also a great business story about the imperious leadership of Howell Raines. And caused me to take a step back and realize how much I love the NYT and how important it is to my life, and possibly to the world's life. Glad it's surviving in this brave new world.
May 06, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Reminded of this book after watching a recent documentary on Jayson Blair in which Seth Mnookin, the author of Hard News, was interviewed. I remember really enjoying this book. It is a cautionary tale and a disaster dissection. I am inspired to reread it again soon.
Feb 22, 2015 Ryan rated it it was amazing
I really liked how Seth Mnookin wrote this book. It kept things exciting and made it enjoyable to learn about journalism. It also showed me some of the back end process's of journalism, and made me not be so critical o fit as i used to.
Erica Verrillo
Oct 20, 2012 Erica Verrillo rated it it was amazing
I literally could not put this book down. Seth Mnookin's Hard News is absolutely captivating. Even though we all know the outcome of Jason Blair's enormous fraud by now, Mnookin manages to make the tale so engrossing that you find yourself enmeshed in it right from the start. Mnookin's prose is like looking into a perfectly clear pool of water, and his honest, in-depth portrayal of the embattled Times manages to be both sympathetic and critical. I look forward to reading anything Mnookin chooses ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at a little-seen world, at least for most of us. It is gripping-- I had a bit of trouble putting the book down. Don't be fooled-- this book, though about the newspaper business and the media as a whole-- is a page-turner.
Therman Lee
May 16, 2011 Therman Lee rated it liked it
A bit repetitive and chronologically difficult to follow. Mnookin does a great job of pulling readers into the story, making them sympathetic to the reporters and the conditions they were in in the year following 9/11.
Apr 25, 2008 Morgan rated it it was amazing
The details of the story about Jayson Blair (what a kook!) in this book are reason enough to warrant its purchase, but the rest of it is top-notch as well. I'm hoping it becomes a movie one day. (book-rights pending)
Emily Rueb
Jun 17, 2008 Emily Rueb rated it really liked it
I loved it because it was sensational. My editors say that it was exaggerated, but I have yet to read a more complete story of the Raines era at The Times.
Feb 15, 2013 Ben rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed this read. At the time I was working as a journalist, but it doesn't seem like it was written to appeal to people outside the media.
Apr 16, 2008 Toph rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: News Scholars
Shelves: own
Fairly good book, not a terribly slow read. Interesting if you are interested in the news media, the New York Times, or Howell Raines.
Aug 21, 2007 Chuck rated it it was amazing

The best media book I've read in a very long while (although the writer's objectivity seems to wane down the stretch).
Mar 21, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
An interesting book. Much more interesting when you're working at the Times. I'd recommend it to anyone who's new here.
Jan 13, 2009 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Extremely good look into the problems of ethics that face even the most prestigious of news outlets.
Jan 20, 2009 Phil rated it it was amazing
Even the most hard-core newspaper has scandal and the New York Times has had plenty. The cover may look plain but this reads like a soap opera.....and that's a good thing.
Oct 31, 2007 Tracy rated it really liked it
Apr 19, 2007 vanessa rated it it was amazing
my favorite!
Taylor Engdahl
Taylor Engdahl marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2016
PJ marked it as to-read
Oct 11, 2016
Lynette marked it as to-read
Oct 02, 2016
Geralyn marked it as to-read
Oct 01, 2016
Akunna marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff
  • Lovers' Lane: the Hall-Mills Mystery (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
  • Shocking True Story: The Rise and Fall of Confidential, "America's Most Scandalous Scandal Magazine"
  • Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy
  • Wicked History Of The World
  • A Death in Texas: A Story of Race, Murder and a Small Town's Struggle for Redemption
  • Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy
  • Snowden
  • Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work), in Words and Pictures
  • City Room
  • The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism
  • Oona Living in the Shadows: A Biography of Oona O'Neill Chaplin
  • Moyers on America: A Journalist and His Times
  • Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America
  • Japan and the Shackles of the Past
  • Dial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson
  • The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World's Poorest Patients
  • The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them
Since 2005, Seth has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, where he’s written about the American media presence in Iraq, Bloomberg News, and Stephen Colbert. In 2002 and 2003, he was a senior writer at Newsweek, where he wrote the media column “Raw Copy” and also covered politics and popular culture.

He graduated from Harvard College in 1994 with a degree in History and Science, and was a 2004
More about Seth Mnookin...

Share This Book