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New Journalism

John J. Pauly


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The term “new journalism” commonly refers to a style of literary reportage created in the 1960s by predominantly young American nonfiction writers such as Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Joan Didion, Hunter Thompson, George Plimpton, Truman Capote, and Michael Herr. Commentators have periodically declared other moments in the history of journalism as new. Most famously, the term was used in 1880s Britain to describe the popular newspapers of George Newness and W. T. Stead, then later applied in the 1890s to the mass circulation dailies being published by Alfred Harmsworth in Britain and by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst in the United States (→  New Journalism, Nineteenth-Century ). More recently, one commentator ( Boynton 2005 ) has referred to writers such as Susan Orlean and Ted Conover as members of a generation of “new new journalists” influenced by the literary experiments of the 1960s (→  Journalism, History of ). In its time, the new journalism of the 1960s proved contentious, especially among journalists, because it seemed to call into question the profession's most cherished values. Critics condemned the extravagant language of Wolfe because it brought reporters into the limelight, focusing readers’ attention on their literary performance rather than on the events being covered. Critics similarly objected to the personalism of writers like Mailer and ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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