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The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour—and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News Hardcover – September 30, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (September 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204276
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204272
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kera Bolonik, The New York Times Book Review:
“… it’s hard to come away from The News Sorority feeling anything less than admiration, if not reverence, for Couric, Sawyer and Amanpour, and sympathy for all the women… who had to wrangle with ratings, network politics and defiantly sexist executives, while managing the delicate egos of their male counterparts. And that is, in the words of the old CBS slogan, ‘very good news.’”

Los Angeles Times:
“…a well-reported and refreshingly fair-minded biography of these gutsy and influential newswomen. Given the complexity of the subject matter, the remarkable thing is that Weller has produced a book that manages to be both compelling and resolutely evenhanded. Even when the catnip of rivalry raises its hoary head, Weller chooses balance. There are lots of controversies, but they usually come along with opposing opinions from different observers and in a broader context.”

The Washington Post:
“It’s worth reading The News Sorority as both a handbook of cutthroat office politics and a cautionary tale. These women brought ego, ambition and a willingness to play just as rough as the boys to the newsrooms—and made history because of that.”

Chicago Tribune (Liz Smith)
"[D]aring, dashing... Sheila Weller has written "the" book of the year on TV broadcasting, a thing that may be a dying, rapidly changing art form, but it's definitely still going to need voices and faces and intelligence giving out the news no matter how much our socially gadget-manipulated changing world changes. There will always be stars and TV has had them in spades... This is a terrific book. I marked mine so many times, it is virtually unreadable. Believe me, if you like history and gossip and believe, like I do, that gossip IS history -- you will love reading about the big three."

Vanity Fair:
Weller rivetingly recounts these gutsy ladies' time on the front lines of domestic and international war zones, political battlefields, and live morning television; the prejudices they've faced; the personal sacrifices made and losses suffered, as well as the backlashes that followed their every gain, fueling their ambition and building their resilience. Weller's portrait of how these extraordinary women, in the words of Sawyer, turn "pain into purpose" is an inspiration for future generations of journalists.”

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 in TV news in terms of what it took, where it got them and the price they paid.”

Houston Chronicle:
"Weller is brave to write biographies with more than one primary person at the center. Professional biographers know that such a decision complicates research and writing exponentially. In a previous book, Weller… tackled three female vocalists. That book… deeply touched the emotions of many readers I know, female and male. I suspect The News Sorority will, too. [It’s] a book that makes age-old gender battles seem fresh.”

NYCityWoman.com
"[T]his book is not just the story of the fight against sexism waged by three plucky but different dames. The News Sorority is also a tale about the bygone heyday of network news…  Yet it is filled with important truthsVanity Fair style—about feminism in the news workplace… Weller is terrific in citing genuine and unique strengths: Amanpour’s relentless reporting on the horrors suffered by civilians during the war in Bosnia and the plight of Darfur; Couric’s campaign against the colon cancer that killed her first husband, complete with her on-air colonoscopy; Sawyer’s instinct for inspirational pieces about people like the Chilean miners and her humane yet probing interview with Whitney Houston."

Bloomberg Businessweek:
“Weller’s book is sure to be catnip to TV obsessives and people in the news business.”

Buffalo News:
“This is an important book.”

Kirkus Reviews:
“As she did in her fluid multitiered biography Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon—and the Journey of Generation, Weller takes apart feminist icons of her generation—those who came of age in the 1960s and '70s—to see how they work and how they made it to prime time. Inspiring bios of today's professional heroines.”

Booklist:
“Best-selling author Weller draws on interviews with their friends and colleagues to offer portraits of the will and ambition each mustered to achieve iconic status. Weller details the personal tragedies they’ve dealt with… [and] also explores the unique personalities of these women and the set expectations among broadcast executives and viewers that they have had to overcome.”

About the Author

SHEILA WELLER is the author of the acclaimed memoir Dancing at Ciro’s and the New York Times bestseller Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation, among other books. She is a contributor to Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review, and Glamour, and has written for many other magazines, winning numerous awards for her articles.

Customer Reviews

And if our project fails, I will take all the blame.
Jesse Kornbluth
Second, she has relied entirely too much upon anonymous sources to get enough salacious material to give her book the zip and zing she needs so it will sell well.
Gentleheart
This book is a remarkably detailed and personal look at the private lives of these three women.
Penguin Chick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you want to pay me $15 million a year, I promise never to say a bad word about you. I will work until I drop. I will be a saint to my staff. And if our project fails, I will take all the blame.

That’s not how it works in television news, which is why there’s enough backbiting, envy and ambition in “The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour — and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News” to fill almost 500 pages.

On one level, “The News Sorority” is a serious book, a valuable history of a transitional era in media that will be read and taught long after no one can remember why “anchor” doesn’t just apply to boats.

For now, though, it won’t be read that way, for “The News Sorority” is a dish fest — if you care what Katie and Diane and Christiane are really like, for God’s sake do not start reading on a Friday night, because you’ll miss Bill Maher and may just be finishing when John Oliver comes on.

How dishy? Like this:

When Diane scored an interview that Katie wanted, Katie asked, loudly: “I wonder who she blew this time.”

Diane, on wardrobe choices for women in broadcasting: “Always wear clothes in fabrics that men like to touch.”

Katie once told an executive she’d been fired — she hadn’t been — so could get a promotion to a job she wanted.

Diane’s such a slick politician that “she thinks she doesn’t leave fingerprints — but she leaves cat paw prints on people’s foreheads.”

Katie gave a Christmas party for her entourage that could be seen by lesser staffers at the lesser party.

Diane once had her then boyfriend Richard Holbrooke call a production assistant and reduce her to tears.

And Christiane? Where’s that dish? Scarce.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gentleheart TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There is no doubt that Sheila Weller has a following from her successful book Girls Like Us in which she profiled three important singer-songwriters, Carly Simon, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell. She uses much the same structure in The News Sorority about Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, and Christiane Amanpour. This time, she is less successful for two important reasons. First, she clearly lacks the deep, abiding affection for this trio of newswomen that she felt for the three musicians. Second, she has relied entirely too much upon anonymous sources to get enough salacious material to give her book the zip and zing she needs so it will sell well.

Suffice it to say that if the passages provided by unnamed, unidentified individuals were colored red, the book would look as if someone bled to death in its pages. And in a way they do. The real question: is it the author or her subjects?

Based upon mere numbers, you would conclude that all three subjects fare well under Weller’s microscope. Over one hundred named individuals and hundreds of hours of videotaped and other media sources attest to their extraordinary accomplishments. Weller repeatedly points out the women’s ingenuity and resourcefulness in overcoming barriers to their success. She details their endless workdays, tireless work ethic, and enormous contributions. She also attempts to show her own feminist sensitivities by focusing upon the sexist attitudes and actions of men in the news industry. Although she characterizes each woman a bit differently, she expresses admiration for all. She ends her narrative with a lofty tribute, “And we also got from them what is underneath the news, what is underneath all news: We got humanity.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I just finished this book and may return to flesh out my reactions to this book later. I liked this book and thought it told the story of three network champs who managed to break the glass ceiling in regard to their careers.with accuracy. There were some similarities between the three. They were all extremely bright and obviously driven. They didn't take garbage from men or women and were willing to take chances to move up in pecking order despite barriers. They could be chameleons when the situation called for it; whatever appeared on the surface wasn't necessarily true. In the brutal environment of broadcast journalism, they might be considered manipulative/tough/conniving. However that actually seems more like the norm for network stars in general as I progressed through this book. My take on this is women have to be tough skinned, think smarter, and react quicker to survive in a crazy alter universe.
This book was not written with assistance from the trio. All is based on supposed reputable sources. I see this as a highly credible story and one that is fairly consistent with what I know about the industry as a whole. Had these ladies cooperated fully or even partially with this project I suspect this might have been a different and flawed book for obvious reasons. Journalists control the news and always control the story presented. As it stands, an awful lot of what is reported is corroborated by multiple sources. Authorized biographies based on my reading experiences are usually flat and celebrate people that are so perfect they can't exist in reality.
Author Sheila Weller has done extensive research in telling this story which comes off successfully as a three pronged unauthorized biography of the news mavens. I read her book Girls Like Us (GLU) and loved it.
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