Books Reviews

Book Review: Melissa McCarty's News Girls Donít Cry

By April Neale Dec 18, 2013, 1:56 GMT

Book Review: Melissa McCarty's News Girls Donít Cry

Book Review: Melissa McCarty\'s News Girls Donít Cry

It's all there on the front cover: Author Melissa McCarty, an attractive news anchor with flowing, dirty blonde tresses, stares stone-faced in a low-cut top framed by the title, News Girls Don’t Cry.

Her look is truth in advertising – what follows inside isn’t for the sentimental, despite outward appearances. Even the endorsement blurbs from the likes of CNN and MSNBC anchors and popular authors are flecked with telling words like “anguish,” “gut-wrenching,” “harrowing” and “inspiring.” The choices of phrasing turn out to be dead-on.

McCarty, whose book is part-memoir and partly a call for an infusion of humanity in the televised news biz, is not (yet) a household name, but her book makes a great case that perhaps she should be. It opens with a suspenseful moment in her life just after college. She has moved from Northern California, away from a troubled past and a brother, Mikey, whose wrenching addiction narrative is omnipresent throughout McCarty’s life as well as the book. In her first broadcasting position with a local news affiliate, she serves as producer, writer, on-air talent and sometime teleprompter operator … for herself. Prepping a 5 a.m. morning newscast, she gets a text from her father: “Missy, something has happened, please call us. Love ya, Dad.”

The way she handles herself in this crisis – fortitude, serious mental exercises – tells the reader much about what’s to come. Namely, that it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Recently, when Larry King and his billionaire investment partner started up a brand-new channel, Ora.tv, they knew they needed a show devoted exclusively to breaking news, and they knew who to call for the task. McCarty, as she details in the book, was just coming off a meteoric, yet hard-won rise from that first job in Colorado to Vegas and, eventually, KCAL 9 in Los Angeles, a CBS affiliate. Now, she can count one of her heroes, Larry King himself, as her boss.

From grinding it out in those early, small-town newsrooms to driving onto the Studio City lot of CBS and realizing she’d hit the big time, McCarty mines her experiences for emotional gold, doing so with grace and the same commitment to uncovering the nugget of truth buried underneath layers of pretense as she has always brought to her career. McCarty applies her hard-hitting reportage to her own life with bravery, wit and unflagging candor.

By unearthing the emotions that are necessarily suppressed by nature of her job as a truth-seeker, McCarty takes her readers on a rare journey into the mind of someone who’s seen too much. From her struggle to process grand tragedy on a nightly basis to her titanic efforts to stave off the same tragedies in her personal life, McCarty serves up her truth without filters. She recalls with melancholy the moment she “sold her soul” for the business, but reveals an irrepressible charm in the process, such as her wildly entertaining stories about trading books with Bill Maher or her college goal of marrying George Clooney.

News Girls Don’t Cry is an unflinching peek behind the tough exterior of a celebrated newswoman, one that places McCarty among the top tier of journalistic memoirists. Her new boss should be proud.



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