Just the Facts


The author, circa 1978

When English major Nora Plowright finds herself staring at college graduation as if at the edge of a cliff, she decides to become a newspaper reporter — and right away, she manages to get a job at a local paper (which you could still do in 1978). Although fearful by nature, Nora pursues a tip from a stranger and soon is investigating corruption at the Maryland State Highway Authority regarding the controversial placement of a major freeway. The developing scandal, with its shady “players,” tests both her budding reportorial skills and her appetite for danger. Also, her passion for storytelling makes it increasingly difficult for her to stick to the facts.

Just the Facts is a quirky, coming-of-age novel about a young, inexperienced woman finding her way both in her career and in life as she navigates a world of male politicians, businessmen, and bureaucrats. Set in the Seventies, it depicts the old world of print journalism, when reporters used road maps, libraries, and phone books as investigative tools and composed on IBM Selectrics. As a book about a news reporter, it explores whether any writer can be entirely objective, and reveals the trove of stories surrounding us anywhere we live. It is also about the “stories” we’ve been told about ourselves that can hold us back, stories that must be challenged in order for us to grow.