Helen Benedict, social justice:
The First Casualty by Philip Knightley. This is a history of war reporting in both the US and the UK from the Crimean War until today — in other words, a history of reporting, censorship and the relationship between journalists and the government. Knightley writes in lively, lucid prose, and will give students a perspective that will inform everything they read from now on.
Richard R. John, history of communication:
Paul Starr’s Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications (2004) is the best single-volume history of American communications policy. Though Starr only takes the story up to the Second World War, his analysis of the political context in which communications media (including journalism) has evolved provides a welcome corrective to common assumptions about the relationship of the government and the press.
Richard Wald, media and society:
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, an almost-true account of newspaper reporting in Africa that is well-written, funny, and depressingly accurate.