Saturday, 10 March 2012

New Journalism - Seminar Notes

New Journalism

* The 1st new Journalism - The Yellow Press - late 19th century
* Sensationalism - Huge, emotive headlines with big, striking pictures
* Exclusives, dramatic stories, romantic stories

American Journalism

* 60s/70s:
- Political and social upheaval, fighting foreign wars, with even more serious military threats building
- Formulaic
- Sexual revolution, free love, student movement
- Experiments with interpretive reporting, new forms emerged, alternate Journalism
- Tom Wolfe was a new breed of Journalist


* A supporter of Zola - Wrote J'Accuse! Zola's article freed Dreyfus from Devil's Island
* Fascinated with the idea of status - Saw us as nothing but parts of a social structure
* Shocked by new features, people were using dialogue

1930's - "All the novelists seemed to be people who came blazing into stardom from out of total obscurity"
1962 - "Arrived at the New York Herald Tribune"
1950's - "The novel became a nationwide tournament"
1960's - "A discovery that showed it might be possible to write Journalism like a novel"

* Wolfe's first feature article contained 'anything that came to mind. Much of it was thrown together in a rough and awkward way'.
* "It showed me the possibility of there being something new in Journalism".
* Wolfe's roles at The Tribune - Two days a week, city desk reporter. Three days a week, 1500 feature piece

Page 46/47

* New Journalism in the 1960's - Journalists are learning the techhniques of realism
* By trial and error, Journo's began to discover devices that gave the realistic novel its unique power

1) Scene by scene construction
* Telling the story by moving from scene to scene and resorting as little as possible to sheer historical narrative

2) Extraordinary feats of reporting Journalists took so they could witness the scenes in other peoples lives as they took place, and record the dialogue in full
* Magazine writers learnt by trial and error that realistic dialogue involves the reader more completely than any other single device
* Establishes and defines character more quickly and effectively than any other single device
* Journalists began to use dialogue in a more cryptic and abstract fashion

3) Point of view

* Presenting the scene to the reader through the eyes of the character
* The reader has a feeling of being in the characters mind
* Journo's often use 'I was there'. This is limited. He can only show the reader his own thoughts. Irrelevant to the story and irritating for readers.
* The Journalist can get inside the mind of another person through an interview about thoughts and emotions

4) The recording of everyday gestures, habits, manners, etc.

* Symbolic of peoples status lives
* Wolfe admires Balzac
* For example, before Balzac introduces the Marneffe's in Cousin Bette, "he brings you into their drawing room and conducts a social autopsy"

Wolfe and POV

* "Sometimes I enter directly into the mind of a character"
* Often I would shift the POV in the middle of a paragraph
* "I switched back and fourth between points of view continually, and often abruptly, in many articles I wrote in 1963, 64 and 65"
* A reviewer called Wolfe a 'chameleon' - Took on the coloration of whoever he was writing about. The reviewer meant it negatively, but Wolfe took it as a compliment
* "I had no sense of being a part of any normal journalistic environment"

Fear and Loathing

* Raoul Duke, gonzo journalist
* Sent to cover a motorcycle race for his magazine
* Him and his atterney decide to search for what they call the American dream.
* Throw away the typical conventions of journalism, do as you wish and let it take you over
* Quite 'hippy'

The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!

* Esquire, March 1965
* First para, extremley descriptive
* Lots of exclamation
* Driving to a stockcar race, North Wilksboro Speedway. Link with Fear and Loathing - This article mentions the 'bootleg turn'
* "Gawdam!" - It's like the writer is chatting to you

Links to Existentialism


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