Journalists were once outsiders looking in, says Gay Talese, but today their proximity to Washington makes them myopic; they'd be wiser to disperse and keep their eyes on the horizon.
Journalists today don’t report like they used to, and they sure as hell don’t dress like they used to either. Gay Talese, a defining figure in literary journalism, here reconstructs the mentality of journalists in the 1950s, when his career began. Compared to now? It’s no wonder the media was shocked by the election results, Talese says. Today’s journalists are glued to Washington D.C, under the influence of the same potion that has seen the rise of celebrity: power, luxury, elitism. Talese suggests the Washington press corps disperse out to the 50 states and report on the end result of policies – how it affects people on the coast and the heartland – as much as they report on the formation of those policies the nation’s capital. Perhaps with an ear to the ground, the next election won’t take everyone for such a ride. Gay Talese's most recent book is High Notes: Selected Writings of Gay Talese.