In News Junkie, the cutthroat worlds of journalism, politics, and high finance are laid bare by Jason Leopold, whose addictive tendencies led him from a life of drug abuse and petty crime to become an award-winning investigative journalist who exposed some of the biggest corporate and political scandals in recent American history.
Leopold broke key stories about the California energy crisis and Enron Corporation's infamous phony trading floor as a reporter for the Dow Jones Newswires. While he exposed high-rolling hucksters and double-dealing politicians, Leopold hid the secrets of his own felonious past, terrified that he would be discovered.
When the news junkie closed in on his biggest story-one that implicated a Bush administration member-he found himself pilloried by angry colleagues and the president's press secretary, all attempting to destroy his career.
Jason Leopold introduces us to an unforgettable array of characters, from weepy editors and love-starved politicos to steroid-pumped mobsters who intimidate the author into selling drugs and stolen goods.
In the end, News Junkie shows how a man once fueled by raging fear and self-hatred transforms his life, regenerated by love, sobriety and a new, harmonious career with the independent media.
Leopold, one of the reporters who broke the Enron story, is now breaking his own story: how he got addicted to cocaine, committed grand theft, cleaned himself up and found happiness as a "news junkie." While residential rehab programs and an incredibly committed wife were key to his turnaround, what saved his life was his discovery of the adrenaline high of news scooping. After a few small successes, Leopold got lucky when he began investigating insider trading by aides to California's Gov. Grey Davis and stumbled onto the extraordinary scandal of Enron's manipulation of utility deregulation in California. By the time Leopold was pressured into resigning from Dow Jones in 2002, he was one of the few reporters who'd actually interviewed Enron president Jeff Skilling. He then rushed to publish a flawed expos� of the secretary of the army's Enron connections, seriously damaging his journalistic credibility. Disillusioned by the institutional biases of mainstream media, Leopold finally decided to freelance with independent, Internet-based news services. While there's a lot of lying admitted to in this scrappy memoir, from Leopold's hiding of his criminal past to his playing of sources to get his scoops, it's (probably) not an untruthful memoir--indeed, it might become required reading for aspiring journalists. (May 9)
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May 07, 2006
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