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New Journalism Essay

2410 words - 10 pages

Inverted pyramid. Unbiased news gathering. Objectivity in reporting. Professionalism. Routines that would regulate news reports, translating information to readers, regardless of geography. Journalism spent the better part of the 20th century routinizing the news, attempting to shed its seedy past of “yellow journalism” amid the challenges of new technologies, first the radio, followed by the television. Then came the tumultuous 1950s and 1960s. Suddenly, the same tides of changes that were sweeping America's cultural and political landscape were also reshaping journalism. Journalistic trailblazers, including Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer and Joan Didion were the known figures that shaped new journalism.
Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr., known as Tom Wolfe, was born in 1931 in Richmond Virginia. He received his educations from Washington and Lee and Yale Universities. Wolfe started as a reporter for the Springfield Massachusetts Union, which began a ten-year newspaper career. As a correspondent for The Washington Post’s Latin American newspaper, he won the Washington Newspaper Guild’s foreign news prize for his coverage of Cuba. He is known as an American journalist and novelist. Wolfe gained his fame from his studies of contemporary American culture in a unique style which is known as New Journalism. While working for the Herald-Tribune, he completed his first book. It was written for New York and Esquire and published in 1965 as The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Wolfe’s book became a bestseller and his literary technique became known as New Journalism. New Journalism is an artistic, creative, dramatic, way of reporting and presenting the subject matter. Wolfe used colorful language and uses capitalization, italics, dashes, etc. He also switches from technical explanations to very slang or everyday turns of phrase, often within one single sentence. A quotation from Kurt Vonnegut says it all, “Verdict: Excellent book by a genius who will do anything to get attention” (“About Tom Wolfe”). Some of his other journalistic works include The Pump House Gang and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in 1968, The Painted World in 1975, and many more controversial pieces. The Painted World was on the American art world. “Wolfe referred to it as the “art village”, depicting it as a network of no more than three thousand people, of whom about three hundred lived outside the New York metropolitan area” (“About Tom Wolfe”). He has also written novels. Some his novels include, The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1987, A Man in Full in 1998, and a more recent novel titled I Am Charlotte Simmons in 2004. A Man in Full lead the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks and sold about 1.4 million copies. Wolfe’s appearance on the cover of Time Magazine was a result of the detailed realism of the American novel. “Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife, Sheila; his daughter, Alexandra; and his son, Tommy ("About Tom Wolfe”).
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