Speaking of Journalism: Twelve Writers and Editors Talk about Their Work

William Knowlton Zinsser, Author William Morrow & Company $20 (192p) ISBN 978-0-06-270115-2

For a course on nonfiction writing he taught at the New School in Manhattan, Zinsser invited 11 of his former Yale students, who are now journalists, to talk ``about how they work and what they believe.'' For aspiring and working journalists, and others curious about the field, these edited talks--divided into categories like politics, people, sports, social issues, etc.--make an instructive collection. The New Yorker 's Mark Singer relates that he reads fiction to help him to develop his own voice. Freelancer Jennifer Allen stresses that a fair-minded editor is more valuable than ``all the exposure in the world.'' Newsweek 's Melinda Beck maintains that editors sometimes only become aware of issues when their friends call them to their attention. Zinsser adds a thoughtful postscript to each chapter; for example, recounting how he gathered emotional content for his book American Places and advising reporters to ``push the boundaries of your subject.'' (July)