The News Sorority

The News Sorority

Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour--and the (ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News

Book - 2014
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" Weller rivetingly recounts these gutsy ladies' time on the front lines... an inspiration for future generations of journalists ." -- Vanity Fair

For decades, women battered the walls of the male fortress of television journalism. After fierce struggles, three women--Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, and Christiane Amanpour--broke into the newsroom's once impenetrable "boys' club." These women were not simply pathbreakers, but wildly gifted journalists whose unique talents enabled them to climb to the top of the corporate ladder and transform the way Americans received their news.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with their colleagues and intimates from childhood on, The News Sorority crafts a lively and exhilarating narrative that reveals the hard struggles and inner strengths that shaped these women and powered their success. Life outside the newsroom--love, loss, child rearing--would mark them all, complicating their lives even as it deepened their convictions and instincts. Life inside the newsroom would include many nervy decisions and back room power plays previously uncaptured in any media account. Taken together, Sawyer's, Couric's, and Amanpour's lives as women are here revealed not as impediments but as keys to their success.

Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Diane Sawyer was a young woman steering her own unique political course in a time of societal upheaval. Her fierce intellect, almost insuperable work ethic, and sophisticated emotional intelligence would catapult Sawyer from being the first female on-air correspondent for 60 Minutes , to presenting anchoring the network flagship ABC World News . From her first breaks as a reporter all the way through her departure in 2014, Sawyer's charisma and drive would carry her through countless personal and professional changes.

Katie Couric, always conveniently underestimated because of her "girl-next-door" demeanor, brazened her way through a succession of regional TV news jobs until she finally hit it big. In 1991, Couric became the cohost of Today , where, over the next fifteen years, she transformed the "female" slot from secondary to preeminent while shouldering devastating personal loss. Couric's greatest triumph--and most bedeviling challenge--was at CBS Evening News , as the first woman to solo-anchor a nighttime network news program. Her contradictions--seriously feminist while proudly sorority-girlish--made her beyond easy typecasting, and as original as she is relatable.

A glamorous, unorthodox cosmopolite--raised in pre-revolution Iran amid royalty and educated in England--Christiane Amanpour would never have been picked out of a lineup as a future war reporter, until her character flourished on catastrophic soil: her family's exile during the Iranian Revolution. Once she knew her calling, Amanpour shrewdly made a virtue of her outsider status, joining the fledgling CNN on the bottom rung and then becoming its "face," catalyzing its rise to global prominence. Amanpour's fearlessness in war zones would make her the world's witness to some of its most acute crises and television's chief advocate for international justice.

Revealing the tremendous combination of ambition, empathy, and skill that empowered Sawyer, Couric, and Amanpour to reach stardom, The News Sorority is a detailed story of three very particular lives and a testament to the extraordinary character of women everywhere.

New York Daily News
"This immensely readable book made headlines before publication for its irresistible gossip. It is dishy, but it's also a close up and very personal examination of three women who broke all the barriers."

Publisher: New York :, Penguin Press,, 2014.
ISBN: 9781594204272
1594204276
Characteristics: 481 pages : illustrations

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kpelish
Jun 28, 2017

The author painstakingly details each one of these amazing women and their rise to media power in the face of many obstacles. I liked the fact that she covers their formative childhoods, the good and the bad, how the women decided about motherhood, and how their distinctive style/voice evolved. She also acknowledges the early path breakers like Barbara Walters, who paid a heavy price and didn't quite get the glory. Katie Couric, for example, lied about being fired in order to position herself for help in getting another job, and she winds up being my least favorite of the three--although her husband's death and her recovery is compassionately told. Christiane Amanpour's persistence and sheer bravery in foreign reporting is engrossing, and the mystery of Diane Sawyer's affection for Richard Nixon was interesting to read. Had the book been more tightly edited, I would have added another star; it could be cut quite a bit and not lose the flow.

g
gusmcrae
Dec 19, 2014

I am always intrigued by stories of women taking on roles traditionally handled by men and so I was drawn to this book about the rise of 3 of journalism's most prominent women. Overall, I found this a pretty quick "listen" (I had the audiobook). It wasn't as fascinating as Barbara Walter's recent memoir, mostly because it really is just a bunch of stories from mostly anonymous sources. Although interesting, that does kind of take away from the story some. I would be curious to hear their side of the story from Diane, Katie, and Christiane.

b
bronteside
Oct 30, 2014

This was a detailed, readable but credible work on three of the biggest superstars in the news biz.sheila weller presents an honest look at the highest paid network divas.she balances a lot of juicy anecdotes with documented research..which keeps the book on the honest side of a People mag format.

s
StarGladiator
Sep 05, 2014

Zero content news, without any redeeming value, whether reported by a male without ethics and integrity, or females without ethics and integrity, is still the same insane product. [My soul-jarring final experience of disgust with Diane Sawyer was that despicable interview back in the 1990s she had with the Taliban jet pilot, who lived in America [[again, how was that even possible ??]] and would travel back and forth between here and Afghanistan to bomb the Northern Alliance. Sawyer's inane and amoral interviewing was an atrocity of even corporate news malfeasance!]

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