Academic journal article Journalism History

Life Story: The Education of an American Journalist

Academic journal article Journalism History

Life Story: The Education of an American Journalist

Article excerpt

Moore, Gerald. Life Story: The Education of an American Journalist. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2016. 376 pp. $25.

In this memoir, former Life journalist Gerald Moore demonstrates the breezy style and ease with words that facilitated his quick rise from New Mexico stringer to senior news editor at Life magazine. Moore worked for Life between 1965 and 1972, leaving shortly before the weekly magazine halted regular publication. He emerges as a character of warmth and humility as he describes his introduction to journalism at Albuquerque Tribune and in New York, his relationships with family and reactions to the changing world around him.

Ihis is such a lovely and sensitive memoir that it seems a shame to point out what it is not. Journalism historians who pick up this book for insight into Life will be disappointed by the lack of an index and the emphasis on the author's personal journey at the expense of workplace war stories. Moore doesn't begin his association with Life until page 176 of the 376-page book. Prominent names from Life's twilight years make brief appearances, including Ralph Graves, Roy Rowan, and George Hunt, and the reader briefly encounters other notable journalists including Lawrence Schiller and Joe Eszterhas, whom Moore paints in an uncharacteristically harsh light. Overall, however, the tone is that of a country boy awestruck by big city life. Equal attention is given to tales about vacations and housing arrangements as workplace politics or protocols.

There are nuggets here for journalism historians. The reporter for Life's notorious 1968 cover story about LSD, Moore was disillusioned that photographer Laurence Schiller organized the LSD party he photographed for the feature and that the participants expected to be paid. …

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