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In this unique memoir, Primetime CNN anchor Don Lemon takes readers behind the scenes of journalism, detailing his own struggle to become one of the most prominent African American men in television news—and inside some of the biggest stories of our times.
Never one to stop at the surface of the story, Lemon digs deep, exposing his own history with wealth and lack, with family secrets and painful revelations--and explains how those painful early experiences shaped his ambitions and gave him the tools of empathy and fearlessness that he brings to his work. Then Lemon turns the same searing honesty on the news industry itself, taking the reader behind the scenes of September 11, 2001, the DC Snipers, the epidemic of AIDS in Africa, Hurricane Katrina, the election of Barack Obama, and the death of Michael Jackson among other events.
With his clear and compelling storytelling and the rich detail of an Emmy-winning journalist, Lemon reveals his own painful journey from a little boy who dreamed of broadcasting in segregated Baton Rouge in the early 70s, to his current perch at CNN in a fascinating and compelling look at the world of television news and his own experiences reporting in it.
represented almost every country! I know it sounds strange in the 21st century, when the Internet and other technology has shrunk our world dramatically and we’re able to interact with people all over the globe with nothing more than our cell phones or our broadband connections, but in the 1980s, had it not been for Baker High School, I would have had very little interaction with people who looked different than I did. It was even less likely that I would have called someone with a different
like a dream. It didn’t seem like this could ever possibly happen, regardless of the number of meetings I had. I flew from St. Louis to New York, feeling like Cinderella on the way to the ball, knowing well that at midnight my coach would turn right back into a pumpkin. Elena and Pat liked my tape. “We’ve heard really good things about you,” they said. “We think with a bit more time and experience you’ll be exactly what we need at NBC. So we want you to meet with Steve Schwaid, the news
eliminated terrorism as a cause, but in the beginning, the crash of Flight 587 fueled the nation’s angst. As one of the correspondents on the scene, I witnessed the zombie-like looks on the faces of people who escaped when the jet engines, nose gear and wreckage plummeted toward the earth as the plane plunged down onto their homes. The expressions of survivors are something that I’ll never get used to, no matter how many times I see them. Their expressions resonate because they are reminders of
I’d known since childhood, about the hurricane and how it had changed their world. I volunteered, helping to clear debris. Then, when my time was up, I took everything back to the station and said, “Here’s what I did on vacation. Can we use it?” and they did. Since then, I’ve been back to New Orleans every year to volunteer for at least a week. Sometimes I take cameras. Most times I don’t because I’m there as a volunteer, not as a journalist. I feel like it’s the least I can do as a native son
suggest that citizen journalism can replace traditional journalism, especially in repressive regimes like Iran, but there’s a lot more to it than that. While Iranians were tweeting and Facebooking, CNN had reporters all over the region in various bureaus who were working with their sources, verifying the accuracy of what was being posted on social media. There were “big media” journalists working in Iran who were checking to make sure that the video being posted on the social media sites had