Reading Group Guide

  1. “Just the Facts, Ma’am” is the journalist’s credo. Do you believe it is possible for reporters to strictly present the facts? Can anyone write with total objectivity? And do you feel that objectivity in news reporting has changed from 1978 to the present?
  2. How does Nora in particular struggle with sticking to the facts? What case does she make for tweaking people’s quotes a bit? What motivates her to do this?
  3. What adjectives would you use to describe Nora? What are her strengths? Her vulnerabilities?
  4. In what ways have Nora’s parents contributed to her sense of fearfulness?
  5. Are Connor and Nora as different as she contends?
  6. As a young, inexperienced woman, Nora must deal with a demanding male editor, and male politicians, businessmen, and bureaucrats. How does she navigate this male-dominated world? Do you think she is treated differently by men in 1978 than a young working woman would be today? And does she ever use being female to her advantage?
  7. Connor accuses Nora of leaving out what is most newsworthy in her profile of General Westbrook, which Nora explains she did at the general’s request. What do you think of her decision here?
  8. What does Nora like most about being a reporter? Least?
  9. How was the world of a print journalist different in 1978 than it is now?
  10. How does Nora grapple with her religious identity?
  11. Do you feel she grows during her time in Maryland? What impact does she have on others?
  12. Do you think Nora makes the right decision at the end of the novel?