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Book Review: Girl Reporter Sinks School by Linda Ellerbee

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Well, I found the perfect book bridging my career change.

During the week or two between leaving the journalism profession and starting in the education profession, I was volunteering at a school when I spotted a book with this title: Girl Reporter Sinks School by Linda Ellerbee.

I knew the author, a long-time journalist, from her memoir and for her news shows for kids on Nickelodeon. I scribbled down the title and listened to it on tape over the last week. The story is about Casey, a high school newspaper reporter focused on getting the big scoop each week. She is on top of a story about a cheating ring but in the process of investigating she gets a friend/colleague in trouble.

Ellerbee, writing as a cheeky, smarky, breezy high school girl who says things like “Get real!” brilliantly captures the dilemmas of journalists while also

telling a great story. Casey, the reporter, is so focused on the exciting questions&#8212the who, what, where, etc.&#8212that she gets annoyed when her grandmother, also a reporter, and others suggest she look into the “why,” as in “why would someone cheat?”

The results are fun and fascinating and some of the characters are great since they are more than just stereotypes.

If you’re looking for an interesting look at journalism from the perspective of a veteran writer and/or from the voice of a teenager, or even if you just want a quick, easy read, then get this book. I picked it up from the Hagerstown library where they give you both the audiotape and the book too, presumably so you can read along.

I give it a 10.

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
  • Nickelodeon

    snarky or smarmy

    why did you leave the profession?

  • Oh, that’s a long story. I can link later when I get home to a post answering that.

    The short version is that after 12 years or so of reporting I didn’t feel I was positively impacting society and could better help others – and would enjoy life more myself – as a teacher.

    Plus I came from a family of teachers and the idea of following in their footsteps didn’t seem like such a bad idea after I thought about it for a few years.

  • Fixed the typo on Nick. Thanks.

  • Temple:
    I just put up sort of a primer on me and the career change up at my blog.
    Thanks for asking.

  • Butki education primer is


    I started blogging seriously after leaving the paper. It’s so freeing to be able to have opinions now without fear of bias or conflict of interest allegations.