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The Last Newspaperman

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  67 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The Last Newspaperman is a story about tabloid journalism in the 1920s and 30s, and how it created the crime-saturated and celebrity-obsessed media we have today. Author Di Ionno—award-winning columnist for The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper—will make numerous personal appearances in support of the novel’s national launch this fall.

“While much of the action is
Hardcover, 219 pages
Published September 2012 by Plexus Publishing, Inc.
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is an interesting little small-press novel written by a guy who spent many years as a journalist. It's short on plot, but rich in commentary about the newspaper industry in the 1930s. They sold their soul and their purpose in favor of cheap titillation and ghoulish stories that sold a lot of papers. How much has changed since then? Not enough. One point he makes really resonated with me. He points out that fame used to come from some sort of great accomplishment, but nowadays all you need i ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Picked this book up completely on a whim and it ended up being an utterly enjoyable read. In his fiction debut Di Ionno writes what he knows, this book is about New Jersey and journalism, particularly the latter. At the heart of the narrative there is an exploration of the real cost of a story to one's integrity and character. Set in an explosive 1930's, when news were not only noteworthy but also sensational and sensationalized, we get to follow four fascinating historical cases as told by some ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I kept having to remind myself that this was a novel, not a memoir. In the beginning it had a Tuesdays with Morrie feel. A journalist goes to a retirement home, looking for a human interest story and finds Freddie Haimes, one of the biggest tabloid reporters of the 30's, when people still got their news from the papers. Freddie covered big stories of the time with flair. He covered most of the big events of the time, like the Hindenburg explosion, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and my favorite, ...more
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-favs
This is one of my new favorites. Interesting, often unexpected prose presented in a very direct manner. If you're expecting a hackneyed re-hash of a story about "a hard-drinking, street wise reporter with a gruff exterior but heart of gold who runs afoul of the Police while standing up for justice" , etc, you will be completely suprised here. This book is an all too human tale about a changing (maturing? deepening? awakening?)man in a shifting industry and how his life plays out. Well realized c ...more
Tom Lawson
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So well done, I didn't realize it was fiction. Enjoyed this one.
Asbury Pulp
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Must read for New Jersey!
Michael Redmond
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Heads, up, Jersey!


I had the pleasure Tuesday of attending a book event at the Summit NJ Public Library featuring Mark DioIonno, one of The Star-Ledger's top columnists, who is out there on the hustings promoting his first novel, THE LAST NEWSPAPERMAN (Plexus Publishing, ISBN 978-0-937548-74-5).

Plexus describes TLN as an exploration of "the roots of tabloid journalism and the rise of the celebrity media culture ... an absorbing account of four major 1930s news stories through th
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Looking for a human interest story, a local newspaper journalist wanders into a retirement home, looking for a human interest story. He finds much more than he ever expected. He finds Freddie Haimes. Freddie was one of the best of the tabloid reporters in the 1930's, back when newspapers were kings. He covered all the big stories; the execution of Ruth Synder, the burning of the Morro Castle cruise ship, the explosion of the Hindenburg. He also covered the biggest story of them all, the story th ...more
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
The Last Newspaper Man Left Me Breathless

This novel is about finding and maintaining personal integrity in a culture aimed at destroying it. Paradoxically, that culture can be a crucible that permits authenticity to grow. This book is exactly up my alley. I did a great deal of coursework in philosophy as an undergraduate and hold an MA in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling. The personal journeys that form the story are profound, and yet they’re rendered here with spareness and clarity that
Jan 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more than I did. It takes place in New Jersey, which is where I live. And it's about journalism, which is what I studied in college. However, the book took me a few chapters to get into, and I'm still not sure I like the way the story was told: through a present-day conversation between two men, with one guy retelling his story to the other, and snippets of that guy's memoir as read by the other guy. It was an interesting story: Fred Haines was a newspaperman in Jersey ...more
Rachel Carr
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The story moved along nicely, character development was ok. I was initially drawn in by the prologue which dealt with the narrator, so I was expecting to learn a bit more about him as well at some point later in the story. That didn't happen and was a disappointment, but otherwise, I thought the book was well written and thought out. There were moments that were a bit "preachy" when talking about the media today. I definitely agree with the feelings expressed, it just ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this fascinating book at Book Expo. It's the debut novel by award-winning journalist Mark Di Ionno, telling the story of Fred Haines, an ambitious New Jersey reporter who will do just about anything to get a story, including making one up and/or bribing witnesses. Eventually no respectable paper will deal with him, and he becomes the go-to guy in tabloid journalism, just as America becomes obsessed with celebrity worship and the need to know everything about anyone in the pu ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I WAS A GOOD READS FIRST READS WINNER OF THIS FASCINATING BOOK.this book takes place in 1999. Fred Haines if being interviewed about his work as a newspaperman back in the 1930s. this when "yellow journalism' was huge. he worked for a paper called the Daily Mirror. during his employment he covered some big stories of the day. the biggest part of this book covers the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.he also was "there"for the Hindenburg disaster, the fire of shop Morro Castle cruise, and even covered t ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Goodread's first-read giveaway.

Rating: 4.5/5

Very interesting, mesmerizing book on journalism and the news business. A young talented journalist met up with Fred Haines, an old hand, in the twilight of his days, who took the narrator back on a journey through New Jersey of the 20's, through his career as a newspaperman. The story of Haines, going from an ambitious, egoistic young brass, through failures and tragedies, of others and his own, to a repentant old man, explored how often, in the news
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read this one in two sitting over the course of an afternoon and evening. The story is fast-paced.

Within the framework of a retired reporter at the end of his life presenting his story - and several famous stories of New Jersey in the 1930's - to a younger reporter come ethical questions, spin doctoring and the cut-throat world of journalism that are probably familiar to many reporters, young and old. (I certainly recognized some of-to-a lot of what went on in Fred Haines' world in newsrooms wh
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
'The Last Newspaper Man' is an Interesting look at journalism and the newspaper business, then and now. I found myself searching the Internet quite often, performing my own research about events and times I thought I knew but obviously, not as well as Mr. DiIonno.
I started the book on Friday and finished it on Sunday.
I look forward to DiIonno's next book!
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
interesting commentary on the newspaper industry and events in NJ in the 1930s, including the Lindbergh kidnapping. Not suitable for kids. Well-written; you almost can't find the line between fact and fiction.
Ella Rue
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a great read. It felt a good deal like a memoir as the author is also a journalist in New Jersey. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Mark Di Ionno is a lifetime newspaperman and a four-time winner of the New Jersey Press Association’s first-place award for column writing. In addition to his twice-weekly column in The Star-Ledger, his “Mark in the Morning” online column appears daily on His pieces have followed the most controversial Garden State stories including in recent years the Dharun Ravi trial and Governor James ...more
More about Mark Di Ionno