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News Junkie Paperback – November 11, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Leopold, one of the reporters who broke the Enron story, is now breaking his own story: how he got addicted to cocaine, committed grand theft, cleaned himself up and found happiness as a "news junkie." While residential rehab programs and an incredibly committed wife were key to his turnaround, what saved his life was his discovery of the adrenaline high of news scooping. After a few small successes, Leopold got lucky when he began investigating insider trading by aides to California's Gov. Grey Davis and stumbled onto the extraordinary scandal of Enron's manipulation of utility deregulation in California. By the time Leopold was pressured into resigning from Dow Jones in 2002, he was one of the few reporters who'd actually interviewed Enron president Jeff Skilling. He then rushed to publish a flawed exposé of the secretary of the army's Enron connections, seriously damaging his journalistic credibility. Disillusioned by the institutional biases of mainstream media, Leopold finally decided to freelance with independent, Internet-based news services. While there's a lot of lying admitted to in this scrappy memoir, from Leopold's hiding of his criminal past to his playing of sources to get his scoops, it's (probably) not an untruthful memoir—indeed, it might become required reading for aspiring journalists. (May 9)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Jason Leopold moved to Los Angeles to marry his girlfriend, and kicked a cocaine addiction. But for the investigative reporter and author of News Junkie, sobriety wasn't the simple fix expected ... [An] amazing life story." -NPR

"I love this book. When other U.S. reporters were licking Ken Lay's loafers, Leopold went for Enron's thieving throat. Leopold is a journalist who insists on real investigative reporting–inside documents, inside sources, hard knife-in-the-gut evidence–detective-style reporting that is just about illegal in the U.S.A. Bravo and my personal Pulitzer to Jason Leopold. Every journalist in America should read this, then quit or riot."
— Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

"Investigative superstar Jason Leopold spares no one, least of all himself, in this devastatingly accurate first-hand exposé. News Junkie provides the best account so far of how, and why, current American journalism has become so pharisaical, spineless, and detached from the truth."
— T. D. Allman, journalist and author of Rogue State, Unmanifest Destiny, and Finding Florida

"Having told the truth for years as a first-rate reporter, Jason Leopold now comes completely clean about himself and also sheds light on his imperiled profession. A riveting account of just how hard the truth can be."
— Mark Crispin Miller, author of Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order

"Frighteningly honest. What Anthony Bourdain did to the world of cooking in Kitchen Confidential, Leopold will do to the world of journalism. It's Sid & Nancy meets All the President's Men."
— Rob Cohen, coauthor of Etiquette for Outlaws

"This memoir is one of the most brutally honest books I've ever read. You will grow to believe, and cheer on, this flawed hero as he gains a liberating knowledge of himself."
— Joe Loya, author of The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Rare Bird Books, A Vireo Book (November 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1940207231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1940207230
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the senior investigative reporter for VICE News. I write about Guantanamo, terrorism, national security, human rights, open government and civil liberties issues. I've been called a "FOIA Terrorist" by federal employees for my aggressive use of the Freedom of Information Act, which has included suing the FBI and forcing the agency to changes its policies. I'm the author of the national bestseller, News Junkie, and an investigative report I worked on for two years, "From Hopeful to Immigrant to FBI Informant: The Inside Story of the Other Abu Zubaidah," is available as an ebook.

A profile about me and my work using the Freedom of Information Act was featured on the front page of the New York Times in July 2015:

And here's a deeper dive by the online magazine Medium:

A radio documentary about my life, based on News Junkie, was broadcast by the award-winning podcast, Love + Radio and featured on NPR:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on October 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a scary book. Jason Leopold was not a nice guy. He was a creep who would screw over anyone for drugs first, then news "scoops" later.

This is a story of a guy whose misdirected intelligence and passion totally screw him up for a number of years. Finally, he starts to get on a path where he's doing some good, but he's still stuck with some very nasty habits that get him in trouble and keep him sabotaging himself, in spite of becoming a serial award winning reporter.

As a writer I found Jason's book very inspiring. Not the nasty stuff-- but Jason describes the creative and energetic ways he went after stories. I've written for national magazines, with my own share of cover stories, and I've done some investigative leg and phone work. But Jason's descriptions of his efforts have already inspired me to go the extra distance to dig further into articles. The first article I applied this to rose to the top five articles of the month on my website, where we've published at least 400 articles so far this month.

Jason writes about how he was tough on his reporters, as an editor. insisting that they go out on the street, covering their beat, not waiting for news to come to them. That's inspired me to take a similar approach in my own writing.

If you're a reporter, this book is different than any I've seen. It's wild and wooly and while a bit apologetic, brutally honest.

Recently, post the writing of this book, Jason reported that Karl Rove was about to be indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the Plame CIA case. It didn't happen. Rove was never indicted. Now you could just write Jason off as an incompetent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Schenwar on June 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
"News Junkie" isn't just a memoir about addiction, though it captures that experience masterfully and compassionately. It examines, through the author's harrowing personal story, the line between passion and obsession, drive and compulsion. Any reader who has ever become attached to something to the point of obsession (that is, probably, every reader) will identify, regardless of whether they know what cocaine feels like. "News Junkie" is also a book about secrets, and Jason Leopold delivers those secrets--even his most carefully guarded ones--with astonishingly candid grace.

This book is a page-turner in the most accomplished sense. There are no cheap tricks or manufactured plot twists here; the suspense is generated by Leopold's empathy and honesty, his ability to bring readers straight into the heart of his story. This is a magnificent book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Soltesz on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Leopold is a tough guy to like. He is a drug addict, a thief, and incredibly self-loathing. He is also a chronic complainer, believing that life has dealt him a terrible hand. Even when things in his life are going well, he manages to sabotage everything around him, almost losing his wife and career. Leopold's instability and ongoing war with himself make for incredibly entertaining stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chip Jacobs on December 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
There is nothing like "News Junkie" out there because there is nobody quite as talented, self-destructive, addiction-oriented and manipulative as Jason was -- before he found love, sobriety and a better way to get at the truth in government, whether it's hidden inside the California energy crisis, where Enron defrauded us all, or Guantanamo Bay, where we house both terrorists and innocents. I'd barely heard of Jason before, except for bits about his infamous experiences at various newspapers that fired him for all sorts of ethical and temper issues. If he weren't a real life survivor of himself, Jason might've been a side character in "Less Than Zero," he was that internally torqued from a bad childhood. At points in this book, you want to club Jason for succumbing to his demons and other times you are rooting for him to not only bust corrupt politicians but square himself so his talent didn't end up in a cemetery before it's time. If not a B.E. Ellis creation, Jason shared more than a little with real-life Charles Bukowski. What a trip it is to see him kicking butt today in alternative journalism, which is lucky to have him, when the trail of affliction and self doubt behind his swagger ran the length of a marathon. If nothing else, Jason Leopold is tough and stable enough today to pull up the floorboards on his unseemly past as a reporter who found the darkest corners in himself. Can't recommend this book enough. You did it, Jason!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jenn Berman on July 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
You don't have to read the paper or even watch the news to appreciate this well written book. Sure, it centers around a fantastic journalistic story. It is also a story of addiction/sobriety, overcoming child abuse and a love story. It is a dark and gritty book that is hard to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jared C. Morgan on May 12, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This should be required reading for any journalist who doubts their skills. As an L.A. journo, I love reading the behind-the-scenes accounts of some of the stories here.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CombatVette on January 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this book having never heard of Jason Leopold prior to opening it. This was one of the best book purchases I have made. News Junkie is exactly what the name implies.

Jason Leopold is the quintessential "junkie." Whether it is cocaine or breaking a story he has to have his fix. In his book he discusses in detail the darkest moments of his life and career. From petty theft as a child to grand-theft as an adult. From battling his cocaine addiction to being blacklisted by the journalist community. Jason provides us with a looking glass into the world he has created for himself.

I highly recommend this book for everyone. Addicts, Journalists, and college kids alike. I promise two things with this purchase. You will learn from his experiences and you won't be able to put it down.
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