Was she the mother of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s — the movement that showcased the deep reporting of people like Truman Capote and Gay Talese? Many people thought so. Lillian Ross, who died Sept. 20, 2017, at the age of 99, was doing that kind of reporting and writing for the New • Read More »
Archives: Gay Talese
If it is to be literary journalism, the writer must be a journalist, not a fiction writer. That is, the writer cannot make anything up. The facts, descriptions and quotations must be true. They must be things that happened. Sometimes, for the sake of the story, writes create “composite” scenes or characters. If they do so, the writer is obligated to tell the reader that this has happened. Ultimately, however, such fictionalizing is unsatisfactory to the true journalist who is dedicated to the factual presentation of information.
For decades now, readers and critics have focused on Gay Talese’s writing style. In the 1960s he was a pioneer of the New Journalsim, which used fictional and literary techniques to tell his nonfiction stories. But what readers should have been focusing on was his reporting, which is meticulous, exacting and precise. Talese, according to the New York Times, is about to release his memoir, A Writer’s Life, which should give us some insight into his reporting methods. It will be a welcome addition to the literature of Talese and for his legion of fans.
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