News of the Day

Adventures of a Wildly Cantankerous Veteran Newsroom Saving Dying Newspapers

Fiction - Literary
332 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2021
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Author Biography

Peter Kelton writes fiction when he’s between news jobs and has written for some of the world’s largest news organizations. Most of his work has been in New York. He has critiqued more than 450 novels in a national column and has written nine novels of his own in a unique erudite literary fiction style of adventure, mystery, suspense, and satire. He grew up in Texas, served overseas in the US Army and returned to Europe as a foreign correspondent. He currently divides his time between his homes in St. Louis, MO and Querétaro, Mexico. He has ghost written for more than 100 clients and is a top-rated writer for the Upwork Global Inc. free-lance agency.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

News of the Day: Adventures of a Wildly Cantankerous Veteran Newsroom Saving Dying Newspapers by Peter Kelton is a satirical and perceptive look at the state of media today, especially the printed word, through the daily newspapers. When it is announced that yet another hedge fund has taken over a newspaper business, there are collective groans of dismay from the staff. A takeover invariably precedes lay-offs, asset stripping, and the eventual closure of a long-running, local and venerable institution known as the region’s newspaper. This time, however, it appears a hedge fund will be the “knight in shining armor”, the “savior” if you will. Having destroyed many local newspapers, a perceptive hedge fund manager has spotted a niche in the marketplace that is not being filled – local news. People are prepared to pay to read news of their community and its happenings. Many areas of the vast United States are now ill-served in this regard and research shows people still want to read about their communities in local newspapers. Using some super-secret 6G technology out of China and recruiting a team of veteran, many already retired, grizzled and cynical news-people, led by the notoriously cantankerous old editor, Burt, The News of the Day sets about to inform the community of everything from obituaries to stories about brown bears roaming the heartland and everything in-between. Has big business found a way to make yet more money and save the newspaper industry from extinction?

News of the Day was a refreshing welcome to my reading itinerary. Perhaps because I used to report for a community newspaper so much of the content was recognizable and reminiscent but, for whatever reason, I found this story to be perceptive, clever, and genuinely funny. Author Peter Kelton has indeed tapped into a universal desire out there for local news that is relevant to small communities that are currently being hopelessly served by the mainstream media. The ensemble cast of grizzled and hard-bitten ex-reporters that the author puts together in this narrative is instantly recognizable and brings levity and a suitable cynical tone to the whole escapade. I particularly enjoyed the camaraderie and relationships that formed between the reporters as they set off into areas of the country that many had never experienced before. Perhaps the most poignant and telling feature of this tale and the state of the industry was that so many of the reporters knew each other before this venture because they were continually having to move and change jobs as their papers were gobbled up and either drastically downsized or closed altogether. This story is presented as an at times farcical and over-the-top romp through the heartland of America but there is a deep underlying premise to it that resonates – that we citizens are being extremely underserviced by our media, especially as it relates to things that really matter to us – the communities in which we live. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and can highly recommend it.

Jon Michael Miller

You might consider Peter Kelton’s News of the Day a modern-day version of the play/film The Front Page as a tribute to the rough and tumble print reporters now struggling against present-day digital news media that have abandoned local newspapers, once the cultural glue of small towns and rural areas. Backed by a hedge fund conglomerate with a 6G algorithm, News of the Day as a business intends to cash in on the dearth of local news. They have assembled a cast of diehard reporters and editors to execute a strategy of placing them as community college teachers out in the boonies. Here they will train student reporters from scratch and attempt to restore small town and rural journalism. All the stats have been computed to project a substantial profit from this idea. But will it work?

Besides the beer-soaked (White Squirrel) Kentucky business meetings and the costumed poker extravaganzas, Peter Kelton provides us with an endearing, comic cast of well-traveled reporters to execute the plan. Pete, our protagonist and narrator, tells us that with this collection of personages, “sooner or later sh-t happens.” Stories start coming in with writing described as “simple, straight stuff with a dash of the ridiculous.” Articles such as a woman clairvoyant communing with a dead horse, or birds learning to dance, or divers rescuing a man’s lost leg from a river, not to mention the obits. But it’s the riotous daily grind author Kelton creates (through Pete’s veteran voice at the copy desk) that activates our nostalgia for the bygone hometown paper that kept us in touch with our neighbors’ lives and deaths. And of course, we, along with the story’s cast, are waiting to see if News of the Day can survive as a business. News of the Day by Peter Kelton is satirical writing at its finest.

K.C. Finn

News of the Day: Adventures of a Wildly Cantankerous Veteran Newsroom Saving Dying Newspapers is a work of fiction penned in the literary style by author Peter Kelton. As the title and subtitle suggest, the work takes place around the world of news and media, in a contemporary setting where a conglomerate of hedge funds aims to rebuild old empires of news which they themselves have destroyed. With Big Burt in charge of a group of hardened reporters with nothing left to prove, this cantankerous bunch will set out to uncover the truth, as well as teach the next generation a thing or two about the real business of reporting the news.

Author Peter Kelton takes a sharp-edged contemporary topic, which anyone with an eye on current world media will instantly recognize and relate to, and uses it to deliver a wonderful story about age, wisdom, and respect where it’s due. One of the particular highlights of this work for me was the varied use of character development and the superb dialogue to complement the cast of wild and wily characters, which always made for interesting reading as we got to know the different veteran reporters and their fascinating personality treats more. I also felt that the author handled the themes well and really used the literary form to create a deep dive into the world of news, and uncover some poignant conceptual truths that readers might not have thought about so deeply before. Overall, I would highly recommend News of the Day: Adventures of a Wildly Cantankerous Veteran Newsroom Saving Dying Newspapers for fans of socially and culturally conscious fiction and masterfully penned literary writing.