In this book, Martin Tolchin describes his journey from New York Times copy boy to White House correspondent, and as founder of The Hill and co-founder of Politico. He tells of the talented and eccentric colleagues he encountered en route, and the conflicts and tensions that beset him during his 40-year news career. Along the way, he tracks the evolution of political journalism from mostly all-male, smoke-filled newsrooms to the high-tech world of the 24/7 news cycle. As a local reporter in New York City, Tolchin saw his articles change public policy and re-direct millions of dollars in public funds. Nationally, Tolchin reported on some of the country’s most important political leaders, including Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Tip O’Neill, among many others. As a Washington correspondent he was involved in Iran Contra, the Anita Hill hearings on the nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas, and Washington’s response to the New York City financial crisis. Mr. Tolchin writes with extraordinary candor and optimism. His story is one that will inform and inspire students, scholars, and general readers in an era in which fake news has sometimes overtaken legitimate reporting. He believes in the power of a free press to guard and guide free people.
Table of Contents
1.The Evolution of Journalism and How I Got My Start 2. From Idaho State to The New York Times 3. Finally, I’m a Reporter 4. Washington, Here I Come 5. A Broader Canvass 6. The Hill and Politico 7. Life after Journalism and Life Lessons 8. A New Day in Journalism
Martin Tolchin spent 40 years at The New York Times, equally divided between New York and Washington. In New York he was City Hall Bureau Chief and a political and investigative reporter. In Washington he reported on Congress and the White House. He then founded two publications, as Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The Hill, and Senior Publisher & Editor of Politico, and served on the jury of the Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism. Mr. Tolchin then was appointed a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Mr. Tolchin was born Sept. 20, 1928 in Brooklyn, N.Y. His father, a furrier, and mother, a housekeeper, were Russian immigrants. He was educated at the Bronx H.S. of Science, Idaho State College, the University of Utah and New York Law School, where he received an L.L.B. With his wife Susan, a professor of government at George Mason University, he wrote eight books, one of which, To the Victor: Political Patronage from the Clubhouse to the White House, has been cited in five U.S. Supreme Court decisions. They had two children, Charles and Karen. Mr. Tolchin lives in Washington, D.C.
“Martin Tolchin’s memoir not only describes a very interesting life but also reminds us of how essential a free press remains for the preservation and advancement of our democracy in a time when our governing authorities are describing the press as ‘the enemy of the people,’ a phrase reminiscent of what Hitler and Stalin believed.” --Robert Dallek, Author most recently of Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life
“This superb memoir traces the evolution of journalism and its impact on politics and history.” --Bill Kovach, Former Washington Bureau Chief of The New York Times
“Tolchin’s memoir is written with the same clarity and elegance that characterized his news stories. Readers will delight in this opportunity to get to know the person behind the reporting!” --Lauren A. Wright, Princeton University and author of Star Power
“Martin Tolchin is a witness to history, not just as a Washington reporter for The New York Times over several decades, but also as a veteran journalist who transitioned from that pinnacle of traditional media to the innovative new media news outlets of The Hill and Politico. A superb writer with a journalist’s keen eye for the details that bring a story to life, Tolchin has created a compelling read of great interest to Political Science and Communication scholars -- and their students.” --Stephen J. Farnsworth, University of Mary Washington and author of Presidential Communication and Character