Shelf Life: A Few Words With Jaci Clement asked Jaci Clement, chief executive officer and executive director of the Fair Media Council, about her reading habits.
Question: What are you reading or have read recently, for fun or pleasure or any reason, including professionally?
Answer: I read constantly and simultaneously if that makes any sense. I’m usually comparing story coverage by different news outlets, so where the news I’m reading comes from depends on the stories I’m interested in tracking. Basically, I find a story’s local coverage and compare it to what national publications are reporting. There’s often a stark contrast. I also tend to look at media trade publications, for trends in newsroom decision making and how news is evolving. It’s a fascinating — and challenging — time to be in the news business.
There’s one distinction between my reading for business vs. pleasure and it’s this: business reading is done online. Pleasure reading is old school: actual book or newspaper in my hands.
My reading tastes are pretty eclectic. I’m partial to news topics and devoured John Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood” book. When I was a kid I loved the Fletch series of books which spawned the movies starring Chevy Chase — love Chevy, but loved the books more.
I’m always a fan of self-help of books. “Care of the Soul” is a perennial fave. I’m also a vivid dreamer, so there’s a dream dictionary on the nightstand, along with a couple of novels by Graham Norton. I’ve spent a good deal of time in the UK over the years and became a fan of his talk show. Happy to say his writing doesn’t disappoint.
I have shelves of books written by friends, so I’m not going to name which of those I’ve actually read. I also have at least four or five copies of Rin Tin Tin laying about, which have been gifted to me since it’s not much of a secret I have a German Shepherd. (He has his own Facebook page and Twitter account.)
There is an empty slot on the bookshelf, and that’s reserved for my book, which I really really need to finish soon.
Q.: Favorite author or genre?
I tend to like thrillers, but nothing with gore.
Robert Ludlum-type books are my favorite; they keep you guessing and take you places around the world at the same time. It’s probably why I’m so interested in news.
Q. Preferred format– audio, print, e-books?
I don’t listen to audio books, they just don’t appeal to me. Neither does online video. I do like the immersive storytelling techniques that are fast coming down the pike.
I appreciate hardcover books, printed newspapers and magazines — ranging from Travel & Leisure to Shape. Despite technology’s advancement of news products, there’s just something magical about a printed newspaper to me. It’s like holding the world in your hands, as it takes you on a personal, private journey, page by page.
Anything else you want to add: big reader as a kid?
Huge reader as a kid. I used to walk over a mile to the library every Saturday morning and check out as many books as I could carry.
When I think about that now, I realize what a really weird kid I was.
I started reading newspapers in the fourth grade: my local daily paper, the Youngstown Vindicator, along with the Wall Street Journal (per my father’s request, so I would understand business). While I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, in the summers I lived in Northern Virginia and read the Washington Star. It’s no longer around, and I remember well when it closed down, in 1981. It felt like I lost a friend. promotes literacy by featuring stories about books, literacy,  readers, author events and more. Do you have a story to tell? Get in touch.

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