Saturday , December 2 2023

Book Review: Girl Reporter Sinks School by Linda Ellerbee

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.

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 working in mental health for the last ten 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.

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