Jon Franklin. Writing For Story. USA: Plume, 1994.
Franklin was the first Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing. This
book is highly recommended for the beginning writer, and teaches the basics
of journalism craft and structure.
William Blundell. The Art and Craft of Feature Writing. USA: Plume, 1988. Blundell won an American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award. This book is based off The Wall Street Journal guide for writers, and is highly recommended for a more experienced reporter.
Steve Weinberg, ed. The Reporter's Handbook. 3rd Edition. USA: St. Martin's, 1995. Weinberg used to head Investigative Reporters and Editors. This book is an excellent instruction manual on how to approach any beat, particularly in terms of investigative reporting. The 2nd edition of this guide is also very useful, and written in a more personal style by its many authors.
Rene Cappon. The Associated Press Guide to News Writing. USA: Hungry Minds, 1991. Cappon is a veteran AP editor. This book is written in a very lively manner and is chockful of examples, which completely disguises the fact that this is otherwise a copy editing style guide. Then again, so is The Elements of Style.
William Strunk and E.B. White. The Elements of Style. USA: Allyn & Bacon, 2000. These authors need no mention, nor does the importance of this book. For heaven's sake, if you're a writer, much less a reporter, get this book.
Brant Houston. Computer-Assisted Reporting. 2nd Edition. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin's, 1999. Houston is currently the head of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). A user-friendly guide to using spreadsheets and databases to analyze information and develop story ideas. It serves best as an introduction -- if possible, attend one of IRE's computer-assisted reporting seminars.
Deborah Blum and Mary Knudson, eds. A Field Guide for Science Writers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Blum is a Pulitzer Prize winner, while Knudson has taught science writing at Johns Hopkins University. This is the official guide of the National Association of Science Writers. It serves as an excellent compilation of articles on how to cover science.
Louis Rose. How To Investigate Your Friends And Enemies.
St. Louis: Albion Press, 1981. A step-by-step explanation of how to check
and decipher public records. An excellent primer on investigative journalism
that is an easier read than "The Reporter's Handbook," if less
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. All The President's Men. 2nd Edition. USA: Touchstone, 1994. Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal, in case you hadn't already heard. Though it's a cliche to put this book on any recommended reading list for journalists, this book remains as instructive today as it did more than 30 years ago. Do yourself a favor and pick up a cheap copy in a used-book store, however.
David Protess and Rob Warden. A Promise of Justice. USA: Hyperion, 1998. Protess teaches investigative journalism, and Warden is the editor of a law review journal. The true story of how a few journalism students -- aided by professors and private detectives -- helped free four men from prison and find the four actual criminals. Excellent in terms of detailing investigative techniques and the writing isn't shabby, either -- you'll ask yourself how they got such intimate details. Will win many over to the anti-death-penalty camp, though it may put off pro-capital-punishment people.
David Simon. Homicide. USA: Ivy Books, 1991. Simon was a crime reporter for The Baltimore Sun. An excellently written book on police stories -- this book inspired the NBC television series of the same name.
Hunter S. Thompson. The Great Shark Hunt and Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, '72. USA: Ballantine, 1992 and USA: Warner Books, 1992, respectively. Thompson is an absolutely infamous reporter who wrote for Rolling Stone. Thompson is not for everyone's tastes, but is likely to appeal to a certain crowd (like those at my college) given his wildly anti-authoritarian stance, outrageous antics and (frankly) casual position towards drugs. Although Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Other American Stories is his best known work (and highly recommended), for aspiring reporters I would suggest the two former books, because they at least attempt traditional reporting techniques and topics, although they still incorporate Thompson's "Gonzo Journalism" techniques.
Tom Wolfe. The Right Stuff. USA: Bantam, 1983. Wolfe is one of the pioneers of New Journalism, which sought to bring a literary feel to journalism. Like Thompson, it is almost a cliche to bring Wolfe into a journalism recommended reading list. Also recommended is Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
Jessica Mitford. The American Way of Death Revisited. USA: Vintage Books, 1998. A revision by the author of the scathing muck-raking classic, "The American Way of Death." A spectacular expose of the business of death in America. Easily a landmark of investigative journalism.
Ida Tarbell. The History of the Standard Oil Company. USA: McClure, Phillips and Co., 1904. A classic of muckraking. Available in full-text here.
Edna Buchanan. The Corpse Had A Familiar Face.
New York: Random House, 1987. Before she descended into writing potboiler
mysteries, Edna Buchanan was a crackerjack Pulitzer Prize-winning crime
reporter for The Miami Herald. This out-of-print book has Buchanan
fondly going over her days on the cops and courts beat. Not always well-written,
but a good place to mine information on what being a journalist is really
like, and there a few good tips on reporting for the observant.
Ernest Hemingway. "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." No, it's not journalism, but it's a beautiful short story nevertheless. Tops in dialogue, structure and brevity.
David Finkel. "Joy, pain: Her heart is in France and Kosovo." I happen to know David Finkel personally, though not as well as, say, Maria Vesperi. Still, Dave's one of my favorite writers. Ironically, this is far from his favorite story. It's not hard-hitting journalism, but it comes off like poetry to me.
David Finkel. "Shelter in a field of sorrows." Another story in Finkel's Kosovo series. It has a killer lead. Finkel's stories are great resources to learn structure off of.
Rick Reilly. "Duck, you sucker!" I'm not normally a fan of sports journalism, but Rick Reilly's a definite exception. A very versatile man who can go from comedy (as in this piece) to sober tender tribute to bitter diatribe. Highly recommended.
Rick Reilly. "A paragon rising above the madness." This is the aforementioned tribute piece.
Rick Bragg. "A killer's confidant: The man who caught Susan Smith." Bragg is often mentioned as one of the best immersion journalists around right now. He won a Pulitzer for this story, and it deserved it.
Robert McFadden. "In nightmare of anger, store becomes flaming madhouse." McFadden's a veteran reporter at The New York Times, and for this story he won a Pulitzer for Spot News Reporting. I have a soft spot in my heart for crime stories, as this one is, but it's absolutely startling to me that he wrote all this on deadline.
Jimmy Breslin. "It's an honor." This legendary column illustrates an important point for journalists: Zig left when everyone is zagging right. After JFK was assassinated, while every other reporter was at the press conferences or hunting down talking heads, Breslin was at Arlington talking to the gravedigger.
Joanne Johnson. "Lotto jackpot dream gives homeless man taste of glory." A marvelously well-written tale with a bittersweet touch -- the way I personally like them.
Paul Hendrickson. "The supporting actors in the historic bus boycott." To tell you the truth, I'm only a big fan of the opening paragraphs of this story. The rest is all right, mind you, but the story doesn't really have the same dynamism of the beginning.
Ken Fuson. "A stage in their lives." I feel odd recommending this series -- the story subject's a bit too saccharine for my taste. Still, this remains one of the best immersion stories you will ever read, if only for the depth of detail Fuson collects. Don't get me wrong -- I love Fuson's work. Still, this story is very high-school sweet...
Jeff Leen, Jo Craven, David Jackson, and Sari Horwitz. "D.C. police lead nation in shootings." I admit a certain bias here -- Jo Craven was my computer-assisted reporting teacher. But it's a damn good piece nevertheless -- won a Pulitzer.
Lynda Edwards. "Myths over Miami." This is one of the darkest pieces of journalism you will ever read. It's very sad and distinctly horrifying. Not for the light of heart.
Gail Epstein, Frances Robles and Martin Merzer. "Terror rides a school bus." This story still strikes me as one of the best team deadline news reporting I've ever read. Again, I have a crime reporting bias.
David Pratt. "From factory to the firing line: the story of one bullet." As exemplified in the movie "Lord of War," a good way to structure a story is to base it around a character -- in this case, a bullet, from its birth to use.
Romenesko's Media News Booklist. Includes reader recommendations from journalists.