Length: 272 pages
First Published: 2022
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Atria Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
MSNBC news anchor Katy Dur recounts a lifetime of chasing news. Her parents Marika Gerard and Bob (now Zoey) Tur gained fame and wealth as helicopter journalists covering such events as O.J. Simpson’s car chase before losing it all. At times her childhood was magical, but her abusive father’s unpredictable behavior left her with a complicated relationship, even before her father transitioned to a woman. Telling of her own rise from local reporter to foreign correspondent and eventually news anchor, Tur ponders on the roles and responsibilities of journalists.
After writing about her work on Trump’s 2016 campaign in Unbreakable, Katy Tur’s latest memoir felt more like a rough draft. Rough Draft focuses on three themes: Tur’s relationship with her father, her adult life and career, and her thoughts on journalism. Yet the themes didn’t intertwine well making the memoir feel rather unresolved on all fronts. I wish that Tur had waited another 5-10 years to add a few more chapters and a little more introspection.
From MSNBC anchor and New York Times bestselling author Katy Tur, a shocking and deeply personal memoir about a life spent chasing the news.
“By the time I was two years old, I knew to yell ‘Story! Story!’ at the squawks of my parents’ police scanner. By four, I could hold a microphone and babble my way through a kiddie news report. By the time I was in high school, though, my parents had lost it all. Their marriage. Their careers. Their reputations.”
When a box from her mother showed up on Katy Tur’s doorstep, months into the pandemic and just as she learned she was pregnant with her second child, she didn’t know what to expect. The box contained thousands of hours of video—the work of her parents, pioneering helicopter journalists Marika Gerard and Zoey (at the time, Bob) Tur. They grew rich and famous for their aerial coverage of Madonna and Sean Penn’s secret wedding, the Reginald Denny beating in the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and O.J. Simpson’s notorious run in the white Bronco. To Tur, these family videos were an inheritance of sorts, and a reminder of who she was before her own breakout success as a reporter.
In Rough Draft, Tur writes about her eccentric and volatile California childhood, punctuated by forest fires, earthquakes, and police chases—all seen from a thousand feet in the air. She recounts her complicated relationship with her father, who was magnetic, ambitious, and, at times, frightening. And she charts her own survival from newbie reporter to globe-trotting foreign correspondent, running from her past. Tur also opens up for the first time about her struggles with burnout and impostor syndrome, her stumbles in the anchor chair, and her relationship with CBS Mornings anchor Tony Dokoupil (the guy with the good hair).
Intimate and captivating, Rough Draft explores the gift and curse of family legacy, examines the roles and responsibilities of the news, and asks the question: To what extent do we each get to write our own story?
About Katy Tur
Katy Tur is a correspondent for NBC News and an anchor for MSNBC. She is the author of the memoir Rough Draft. Tur currently lives in New York City.