The 11 Best News Books of 2021

by Aaron Finch

From building a better democracy to defeating climate change, understanding the news is critical to maintaining an active and engaged society. 

But how do you stay on top of the latest developments in a constantly evolving world?

 With the 11 best books on journalism and the news released in 2021, here are some easy ways to keep up with current events.

The 11 Best News Books of 2021 :

1. “News as a Catalyst for Change” (2019/20) by Lane Kirkland

Eminently readable, this book by the chief digital and communications strategist for the Democratic National Committee explores how social media, YouTube and Facebook have changed news delivery for better or worse. 

Kirkland presents an array of examples from the current political climate to explore how these platforms influence public opinion and its impact on democracy.

2. “The News: A User’s Manual” (2019/20) by Sarah Lewis

This is not your typical news book. Instead, it flirts with philosophy, absorbing readers with analysis of everything from Mark Zuckerberg to the history of photography in response to current events. 

The former curator of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art explores how a series of remarkable news photographs can influence policy, culture and even art. 

An immersive book that provides both a disconnect from everyday life and an interesting snapshot into the future.

3. “The New Yorker Book of Longform Journalism” (2019/20)

The latest New Yorker anthology features what many consider some of the best examples of long-form journalism, including Ronan Farrow’s exposé on Harvey Weinstein, Masha Gessen’s article on Putin’s Russia and Ernest Hemingway’s eyewitness account from D-Day, “The Invasion From France.

4. “The Future” (2019/20) by Al Gore

If you want to study the impact of technological advancements on our modern world, then look no further.

 The former Vice President of the United States is the author of this book, which surveys technological changes like artificial intelligence and automation, environmental issues and broadband solutions that are coming to solve some of the world’s most crucial problems.

 Gore’s predictions focus on environment and healthcare, but his recommendations will likely resonate with anyone wishing to be ahead of the curve in terms of current events.

5. “The New Journalism” (2019/20) by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel

This comprehensive book explains how the rise of the New Yorker magazine and other top publications created a revolution in journalism. 

Using examples from the classic publications of publishers like William Randolph Hearst and Edward B. Montgomery, this book showcases how the debate over “objectivity” and “fairness” have driven these changes in reporting style, politics and readership. 

It also analyzes how President Trump has reinvigorated an older narrative of journalism, strip-mining coverage for drama while losing readership as a result.

6. “Democracy for Realists” (2019/20) by Matthew MacWilliams

If you’re still trying to understand why the 2016 presidential election happened, consider this book, which draws on insights from psychology and political science to explain how our brains interact with politics in ways that are difficult to assess. 

The author uses vast amounts of data to measure voter patterns and clashes with the traditional belief that demographic factors drive voters’ decision making.

 He also challenges the assumption that support for Trump represented support for his policies or his style of leadership.

7. “Why the News Matters Now More Than Ever” (2019/20) by John McCain

This political book focuses on the role of a free press and solutions to fix journalism’s problems. The latest offering from Sen. 

John McCain (R-Arizona) surveys the past 11 years and looks back on how far we’ve come. 

He provides new ideas for improving media literacy, ways for citizens to stay informed and recommendations for how to create a more effective way of communicating with local news outlets.

8. “News for All” (2019/20) by Jonathan Alter

This book explores how we talk about politics today—and how that conversation has divided us in a way we aren’t anticipating.

 Alter explores these challenges via an array of examples and a deep dive into media studies and polls.

 He especially focuses on how the media has changed and how the shift from print to mobile has influenced our consumption of news.

9. “Code Red” (2019/20) by Christopher Cerf and Jean-Louis Gassée

If you love learning about emerging technologies, this book is for you. The former CEO of Google discusses emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing and virtual reality in a way that’s accessible to everyone.

 He also explains why big ideas can be terrifying, and regularly searches for solutions on a wide range of topics, including topics like climate change, immigration and health care.

10. “The Web of Debt” (2019/20) by Ellen Brown

This book offers a deep analysis of the history of debt and where our financial future is headed. The author goes through a history of banking, corporate governance and financial debt.

11. “Greater Expectations” (2019/20) by Jeff Jarvis

This book features the latest trends in digital culture, including the New Yorker’s recent move to pay its writers more money and how Snapchat isn’t simply a messaging app but has become a social network that influences everything we do.

 He also discusses how the current political climate has made us distrust what we feel from politicians and the media landscape, which sometimes seems fake or biased.

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