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Founding Father of New Journalism Talks Writing and Frank Sinatra

Gay Talese is the bestselling author of eleven books. He was a reporter for “The New York Times” from 1956 to 1965, and since then he has written for “Esquire,” “The New Yorker,” “Harper's Maga

Founding Father of New Journalism Talks Writing and Frank Sinatra

Originally aired on February 7, 2008.


Tom Fudge : Those of us who have been to journalism school have learned that writing a news story is different from other writing. You have to be concise. You can’t use a lot of big words. Get the facts right, and cite the source of your facts. There is even that old-fashioned form of writing you learn called the inverted pyramid where the most important information goes in the first paragraph. It's kind of like telling a joke and starting with the punch line.

It isn't all meaningless custom, of course. Telling the truth, and getting the facts, is fundamental. It's not journalism unless you do that. Fans of Gay Talese will point out that he does get the facts. In fact, he will literally spend months learning his subject. But he's become known for the way he tells the story and it's not with the inverted pyramid.

Talese is one of a handful of very well-known writers who have taken reporting to new literary heights. It's a style that's been called “New Journalism.”


  • Gay Talese , bestselling author of eleven books and the founding father of New Journalism.