Finding the News: Adventures of a Young Reporter
“Gorgeous prose, great details, lovely story telling voice.”
– Barton Gellman, journalist and bestselling author, contributed to three Pulitzer Prizes for the Washington Post
“Peter Copeland is not only a first-rate journalist but an incredible mentor. As a cub reporter in Washington, I learned from him how to dig deeper, ask better questions, write better ledes and break news. These are all skills that made me a better journalist and author. I’m forever indebted to Peter. My career would have been a lot bumpier without his journalistic guidance.”
– Amie Parnes, journalist and co-author of #1 New York Times best-seller Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign
“Peter Copeland has done it all – chased fires, dogged politicians at city hall, and covered the Pentagon; and bylines form 30 countries, often written while in personal peril. Vivid and revealing, inspiring, Finding the News is meant for anyone who wants to understand the craft of reporting.”
–John Maxwell Hamilton
Founding dean, Manship School of Mass Communication
Louisiana State University, author of Journalism’s Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting
“Copeland provides a compelling tale of a young reporter who uses smarts and wits to learn the ropes of newspapering during the Golden Age of American journalism, eventually rising to head a major news bureau in Washington, DC. In addition, his book offers valuable, relevant lessons for young multimedia journalism students in the art of gum shoe reporting, solid human sourcing and impeccable fact checking, the kind of brilliant reporting that toppled a former U.S. president and is needed more than ever in today’s digital age.”
– Zita Arocha, Professor of Practice and Director of Borderzine at the University of Texas El Paso. Former executive director National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
“Peter Copeland knows where the bodies are buried. Not just the literal bodies, and the entertaining tales they produce of cops and robbers, but the figurative ones as well. He’s a journalist who got it early and got it right. As the newspaper industry fought for its future, he knew that blend of enduring values and new tech could light a way forward. And his work in digital, in magazines and in TV, all provided early models in an industry that still needs them. His voice matters now and to the next generation of news.”
– Ken Doctor, Media Analyst, Newsonomics
In each new place he reported from, he had to learn the ins and outs of the country while still reporting the facts. Sometimes, though, the facts didn’t tell the whole story. “There were many more than two ways to look at any issue,” Copeland wrote. “And being accurate or even ‘balanced’ wasn’t the same as being honest and true.” His struggles with journalistic ethical dilemmas are important and helpful for young journalists to read about.
The lessons he learned about accuracy and fairness during his long career are especially relevant today, given widespread concerns about the performance of the media, potential bias, and the proliferation of so-called “fake news.” He offers an honest and revealing narrative, told with surprising humor, about how he learned the craft of news reporting.
His reportorial skill comes through most via the in-the-moment storytelling…He details building relationships with military commanders and gaining their trust, showing how that led to better access. But he also writes about…the larger challenges of a reporting life, from the strain of being away from his wife and children to the changes to the news business model that were caused by the internet and a never-ending news cycle.
“The best advice I have is to go and do it — to just start writing. Even if it’s on your own personal social media page, just start writing and start reporting. Look for part-time jobs, or strings, or a chance to tag along and meet other journalists. Try to insert yourself into the news business and see what happens…”
“The fascinating tension in Peter’s memoir runs between his journalistic values–just the facts–and the confusion arising from the context surrounding those facts. Again and again, he finds himself in situations that he doesn’t at first understand. They’re foreign. And he has to make sense of them in order to find and describe the facts.”
She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story
By Rhonda Cornum as told to Peter Copeland
“Compelling as it is unsettling … a terrifically readable book.”
– The New York Times, Aug. 30, 1992 NYT Notable Book of the Year, 1992
“This thrilling account of the Gulf war is all the more affecting for its matter-of-fact, unpretentious tone.”
– Publisher’s Weekly
“A fast-paced story as much about war and one remarkable woman as about the tenacity of the human spirit.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“…a gem of a memoir … Peter Copeland … deserves enormous credit for eliciting the details he needed to craft a taut and finely rendered narrative.”
–The Washington Post, Dec. 13, 1992
The Science of Desire
By Dean Hammer and Peter Copeland
“… a surprising delight to read.”
–The New York Times, Oct. 16, 1994.
NYT Notable Book of the Year, 1994.
“…admirably lucid and surprisingly lively …”
– Publisher’s Weekly, Aug. 15, 1994
“…an absorbing scientific detective story …”
– The New Yorker
Living With Our Genes
By Dean Hammer and Peter Copeland
“A fast-paced account …compulsive reading …”
San Francisco Chronicle best-seller April 26, 1998