Jason Leopold | News Junkie

As a former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires, Leopold takes the memoir deep into his own rabbit hole of addiction, theft, and eventual recovery.

 

 

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about authors falling short of the truth in their self-proclaimed factual retellings of their life adventures. Think James Frey and his creative, but fabricated junkie-turned-author autobiography A Million Little Pieces.
That’s not to say that Leopold’s life is linear to that of Frey’s. Sure, Leopold’s drug addiction and past problems with journalistic credibility could discredit him here, but he’s not making an appearance on Oprah and proclaiming himself the poster boy for rehab, either. If anything, News Junkie is a cautionary tale of how stressful and sometimes damaging working as a news journalist can be today.

As a former Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires, Leopold takes the memoir deep into his own rabbit hole of addiction, theft, and eventual recovery. Leopold was one of the first reporters to break the Enron story and the California energy crisis, and he provides an interesting window into high-stakes journalism. This style is carried on throughout the book, presenting details of how he fell into his own world of deceit.

Similar to many stories of addiction and crime, Leopold’s life teeters on a threshold, and finally breaks it when he throws his credibility out the window after writing an inconsistent expose of the secretary of the Army’s connections to the Enron fiasco. Leopold eventually seeks treatment for his drug addiction and finds harmony in switching from a journalist for the all-too-hungry mainstream media to a freelancer for independent online news forums.
Some of Leopold’s memories might very well be elaborations of people and ideas he came across during his career. From mobsters forcing him to sell drugs to playing sources to get leads for his stories, it doesn’t quite all add up to one big truth.

Truth aside, News Junkie does manage to capture a world many readers might not even fathom is shaping the realm of journalism today. It’s not all Anderson Cooper, proper in Prada and right on target every time. This book is proof of that.

Leopold definitely dives right in and reveals what it’s like to feed off of coke binges and then scramble to cover your tracks to make sure that life doesn’t spin out of control—which it does. His life comes crashing down, providing a magnified look at what one must go through to ultimately find happiness.

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