Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pete Hamill on journalism, a must-read

Great interview with Pete Hamill on about journalism that should be read by every aspiring journalism. Following is his answer on writing columns:

"The editor is part of it. If you’re writing a column and the editor says go cover the Vietnam War or go cover the World Series or the last fight of Sugar Ray Robinson, you go. But most of the time you’re making choices. What I did as a columnist because I liked (Jimmy) Breslin and (Murray) Kempton and a lot of people after that, the opinions in the column were based on the reporting. You went somewhere. My routine was to call in fairly early and see what was on the AP datebook and the paper datebook and see what was the best thing for me to cover. And make sure nobody else was going to be there.

"I was a generalist. I wanted to cover politics on Monday and the Rolling Stones on Wednesday and whatever I felt like, a good murder, on Friday. You learn more that way. You can tell when a guy is at his 27th World Series. The prose flattens out. The sense of surprise is gone. It’s like another day at the office. If you can keep enthusiasm going for a lifetime, then it’s better to be a generalist. . You can pick assignments that force you to read three books before you show up if you want to."

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