Are bloggers revitalizing the old new journalism?

They almost got me. When I read Copyblogger this morning, I was sad to learn that Third Tribe was shutting down.

But as I read the amusing tale that followed, I realized it was an April Fool’s joke. I blame my slow uptake on my 14-year-old son, who did not play any jokes on me this year, so far anyways. Last year he rearranged my keyboard to say “APRIL FOOL” and wrote an embarrassing update on my Facebook page.

I enjoyed Sonia’s post. Some of the readers commented on the Hunter S. Thompson style. However, while the post was a joke, Thompson based his work on the truth.

Although he took daring liberties with the facts and drugs, Fear and Loathing and his other books were always somehow grounded in reality. That’s why this genre was called the new journalism.

No longer were reporters limited by objective perspectives and unflavored facts. Borrowing techniques from fiction, they could offer opinions and provide the details that enabled readers to feel part of the scene.

While the gonzo excesses may have been pruned, the new journalism has had a lasting impact on broadcast and print reporting. Bloggers too.

I think the new journalism was at its best with Truman Capote and In Cold Blood, a true story just as gripping as any novel I’ve ever read.

Another new journalism book I fondly remember is Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catcher. More social commentary and word play but less story telling.

Young bloggers who missed the original bluster of new journalism should check out these and other writers. Me, I’m going to dust off some pre-novelist Tom Wolfe to indulge in on this sunny long weekend. No fooling.

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One Response

  1. Thoughtful…good post!

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