Journalism Legend Gay Talese Still Doesn't Use A Computer Or Voice Recorder When Reporting

Gay TaleseGay Talese.

Technology can be an extremely valuable tool when it comes to reporting and news gathering. But it’s hard not to feel a bit cheap when you’re rotely reblogging or sourcing things from Twitter or shooting off emails and IMs for comment at lightning speed.Especially when someone like Gay Talese comes along and reminds you of the skill that went into the journalism of yore, which is admired by many yet practiced by few.

“Get rid of your laptops. Go out and see the world,” was the advice the 78-year-old journalism icon gave to a crowd of Indiana University j-students this past Wednesday, according to the Herald Times of Bloomington.

Yes! We’d love to do that! Now tell us more, wise Mr. Talese:

When Talese, 78, comes home at night, he copies his notes by typewriter. He doesn’t own a voice recorder, and he only uses phones to make appointments.

Technology, Talese said, makes journalism quick but not enriching. It turns journalism into a clerical profession, not an art form.

“What I do,” he said, “is actually old-fashioned journalism. It’s being there. It’s hanging out, doing serious research.”

He also had a few words for the Washington Press Corps:

Talese, who learned to listen in his mother’s dress shop at age 11 and began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, told the packed crowd of newspaper enthusiasts he thinks journalism has missed the boat.

He scorned “Washington journalism,” packed with news leaks, anonymous sources and a too-cozy rapport with government officials. A lack of substantive investigative reporting, he said, is “the kind of reporting that got us in the war in Iraq.”

Totally! Seems like it was a really great speech, right? And now that he has us feeling all motivated and inspired to write the next “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” well … back to blogging. Sigh.

Read more at The Herald Times >>

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