Katharine D. Fishman


Praise for


Other work
by Katharine D. Fishman

Katharine D. Fishman

Links & Credits



Katharine Davis Fishman is an award-winning journalist with broad and varied experience, particularly in education, child mental health, culture, health and medicine, and technology / business. In addition to Attitude!, she has written two books and published many articles in leading magazines. She is skilled in researching a complex field from the ground up; digesting and synthesizing large amounts of material to produce a clear, concise, sophisticated and lively narrative; and interviewing people in all walks of life. Over the years she has spoken to a variety of audiences.

Fishman says, “As a writer, I particularly enjoy playing the outsider’s role to enter enclosed worlds that seem strange and mysterious, finding out how they work, and trying to capture their flavor for the lay reader. I especially like to interview smart, passionate, opinionated people who at least sometimes disagree  forcefully with each other. A challenge in this book was building a relationship with teenage subjects and their families. I felt some common ground because my own daughters were involved in the arts as teenagers and I had struggled with the questions these parents of young dancers faced. With the kids, I didn’t pretend to be “cool”. I simply treated them as adult dancers and asked questions accordingly, as a lay person.


Selected Examples of Previous Work

Speaking Engagements



“As a lifelong New Yorker, I grew up going to the city’s cultural institutions, and they have always been a part of my life. To some degree, my year at Ailey is a natural outgrowth of this. I wrote profiles of the American Museum of Natural History and the 92nd Street Y for New York Magazine during the 80’s. As a young mother, I took my kindergarten child to see Judith Jamison – now Ailey’s Artistic Director – dance at BAM.


Behind The One-Way Mirror: Psychotherapy and Children (Bantam, 1995): 524 pp., with notes. This book, four years in preparation, is a report on current clinical practice in child therapy, encompassing diagnosis (DSM and its background), psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, family systems therapy, psychopharmacology, and residential milieus. In researching the book, I found nationally-known practitioners in each orientation and persuaded them to talk at length about their work, and often to allow me to watch tapes and sit in on sessions (with patients' consent). The book explains the theoretical underpinnings and history of each orientation and describes recent research.

"Therapy for Children," The Atlantic, June, 1991 cover story: the book grew out of this article.

"Problem Adoptions," The Atlantic, September, 1992 cover story: a report on mental health issues in special needs adoption. This article won the 1993 National Media Award of the American Psychological Association and the 1993 Outstanding Article Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and was a finalist for the 1993 National Magazine Award of the American Society of Magazine Editors.

"Cancer: A Huge Leap Forward," More, February, 2013: A report on targeted gene therapy, a revolution in cancer treatment, including comments from leading oncologists, nurses and patients across the country. Also, see the sidebar to this article,"Could a Clinical Trial Help You?"

"Boning Up On Bone Drugs," More, June 2010: an article on bisphosphonates and femur fractures. This article won the Media Orthopedic Reporting Excellence Award, 2011, from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and the Award for Excellence in Science and Medical Journalism, 2011, from the Endocrine Society.


Internet Writing

"Steering the Double Stroller," NYCitywoman.com, January 2011.

"Sailing British-Style to Hong Kong," NYCitywoman.com, May, 2011

"Beating Insomnia," NYCitywoman.com, June, 2011.

"Making Sense of People," NYCitywoman.com, November 2011.



"Get Smart About Your Child's IQ," Child, February, 1996.

“No Free Lunch: Did a Cornell Nutritionist Steal His Student’s Meal Ticket?”, Lingua Franca, February 1999

Articles for New York Magazine on education, written during the 1980's:

"The Joyful Elite," January, 1982 (Hunter College High School)

"Education" news feature for special issue on "What's Really Happening" in New York, June 17, 1985

"The Middle-Class Parent's Guide to the Public Schools," January, 13, 1986 cover story.

"Saint Ann's School," for special issue on Brooklyn, April 21, 1986

Profile of Sandra Feldman for year-end double issue, 1986

"All in Good Time", article on "retention" in private schools, March 2, 1987

"American High," (Seward Park High School), November 23, 1987

For Family Circle,"30 Deans Choose the Best State Colleges and Universities," September 13, 1983.


Technology and Business:

The Computer Establishment,1981 (Harper & Row). 437 pages, with notes. A history and current (then) report on the mainframe computer industry and technology at the dawn of the personal computer era (published just as IBM introduced the PC). When I wrote this book, the world of computers was indeed strange and mysterious to outsiders. After spending some years exploring it, I produced an account which describes how the technology developed from ENIAC through artificial intelligence and interactive television, with portraits of leading personalities; IBM, its history and its culture in depth, including oral-history interviews with four Chairmen and an analysis of the antitrust suits then facing the corporation; "The Seven Dwarfs," (competing mainframe companies); AT&T, its history, the antitrust suit, and ventures into computer technology; software and leasing companies; and social issues raised by computer technology.

"Programmed for Disaster," The Atlantic, May, 1972 (cover story on RCA's $490 Million Computer Debacle).

"Your Telephone Survival Guide," New York, April 23, 1984 (cover story on consumer issues after the breakup of AT & T).

"The Disney World of Supermarkets: Stew Leonard, The Dairy King," New York, March 18, 1985.

"Loaded for Bear at FAO Schwarz," New York, September 8, 1986.

"Moishe Makes His Move," New York, November 21, 1988.

"The Art Sleuth," Manhattan Inc, June, 1989 (an art appraiser.)

"The Golden Apple," Town & Country, September, 1989 (Fifth Avenue real estate.)

"A Woman's Guide to Bounce-Proof Checking," Woman's Day, August 2, 1983.


New York City Institutions for New York Magazine:

"Pop Goes the Y," December 26, 1983

"Dinosaurs and Asteroids: A Great Museum Evolves," January 14, 1985.

"How To Complain," cover story, January 7, 1985


Speeches at William Alanson White Institute and Boston Conservatory, readings at Borders and Brooklyn Public Library in connection with Attitude!

Grand Rounds, Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, September, 1995.

Speeches to executives at AT&T, Digital Equipment and other corporations after publication of computer book.

Radio and television after publication of books.


American Society of Journalists and Authors, 1982-present

President, 1990-91: This position involved running a nationwide organization of 700 free-lance writers: supervising the office staff and dealing with administrative, interpersonal, and policy issues, and representing the organization to publishers, other writers' organizations, and the press.

Executive Vice-President, 1989-90.

Chair, 50th Anniversary Committee, Membership Committee, Program Committee, Planning Committee, Nominating Committee (in different years)

Chair, Writers Emergency Assistance Fund (Formerly Llewellyn Miller Fund), 2000-2003, Trustee, 2003-. WEAF is a small foundation that helps professional freelance nonfiction writers who because of age, illness or extraordinary professional crisis are unable to earn a living. We give qualified writers grants of up to $3500. My work as Chair of the Fund involved directing policy, supervising finances, running fund-raising campaigns, and screening applicants for grants from the fund. Having stepped down as Chair, I continue as a trustee to vote on applications and policy decisions and to offer ideas and counsel..

PEN, 1995- present. Member, Freedom-to-Write Committee.

Authors Guild, 1982-present.


B.A., Cornell University


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Katharine Davis Fishman is the author of Attitude! - a book that follows eight young dance students through a year at the Ailey School