Janet Cooke caused one of the biggest scandals in the history of journalism when her Pulitzer Prize-winning article, about an eight-year-old heroin addict, turned out to be a fake, along with her doctored resume. Written while a staff writer for the Washington Post, under the regime of the legendary editor Ben Bradlee, Cooke’s disgrace was a jarring wake up call during the heady days of post-Watergate investigative journalism.
This article–a 20,000 word, extended “author’s edition” of the piece that originally ran in GQ–is Cooke’s only in-depth interview. While faithful to the basic fact finding contained in the Washington Post’s internal ombudsman’s report, easily available on line, Sager’s work plums the depths of Cooke’s persona and upbringing, bringing to light the human story behind the headlines. Vilified by history as a fabricator, Cooke’s difficult role as an African American professional woman in the early 1980s is often overlooked.
|Publisher:||The Sager Group|
|File size:||561 KB|
About the Author
Mike Sager is a bestselling author and award-winning reporter. He’s been called “the Beat poet of American journalism.” For more than fifteen years he has worked as a Writer-at-Large for Esquire magazine. In 2010 he won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine award for profile writing. Sager’s career in journalism began in 1978, when he quit law school after three weeks to take a job on the graveyard shift as a copy boy at The Washington Post. Eleven months later, he was promoted to staff writer by Metro Editor Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame. Sager left the Post after six years to pursue a career in magazines. His first collection of articles, Scary Monsters and Super Freaks, published in 2003, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, as was his second, Revenge of the Donut Boys, published in 2007. His first novel, Deviant Behavior, was published by Grove/Atlantic’s Black Cat in April, 2008. A third collection, Wounded Warriors, was published in October, 2008 and received the Military Writers Society of America Founder’s Award and the American Author’s Association Golden Quill Award. A former Contributing Editor of Rolling Stone and Writer-at-Large for GQ, Sager has also written for Vibe, Spy, Interview, Playboy, Washingtonian and Regardies. He is proud to be Editor-at-Large for WordsETC, the first black-owned literary magazine of South Africa. For his stories, Sager has lived with a crack gang in Los Angeles; ex-pat Vietnam veterans in Thailand; a 625 pound man in El Monte,CA; teenage pitbull fighters in the Philadelphia barrio; Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; heroin addicts on the Lower East Side; Aryan Nations troopers in Idaho; U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton; Tupperware saleswomen in suburban Maryland; high school boys in Orange County. Eight of his articles have been optioned for or have inspired Hollywood films. Sager has read and lectured at the schools of journalism at Columbia University, New York University, the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri, and the University of California, Irvine, where he served as a Periera Visiting Writer for four years. His work is included in textbooks presently in use in college classrooms. Born August 17, 1956, Sager is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Emory University and a former intern at the pioneering Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing. He lives with his son in San Diego, California. He is a past recipient of La Jolla Youth Soccer’s “Competitive Manager of the Year” award. The Marinovich Project, a documentary aired by ESPN in 2012, was inspired by ASME winner “The Man Who Never Was” and features Sager as a narrator. For more information, please see www.MikeSager.com and www.TheSagerGroup.com