Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Capote on Journalism

Defending ‘Hackwork’

“[O]n the whole, journalism is the most underestimated, the least explored of literary mediums. . . . 

“Because few first-class creative writers have ever bothered with journalism, except as a sideline, ‘hackwork,’ something to be done when the creative spirit is lacking, or as a means of making money quickly. Such writers say in effect: Why should we trouble with factual writing when we’re able to invent our own stories, contrive our own characters and themes? — journalism is only literary photography, and unbecoming to the serious writer’s artistic dignity.”

—Truman Capote (1924-1984), author, In Cold Blood (1966), interviewed by George Plimpton, “The Story Behind a Nonfiction Novel,” The New York Times, 1966

Editorial Comment: There’s plenty of room for creative spirit in journalism, even in 2015. Dignity, too.

PeezPix by Ted Pease 


TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD
“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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