Category Archives: Book Review

A word from the author

In my review of Robert S. Boynton’s 2005 book “The New New Journalism” last week, I ended on a question I was left with after finishing the book: “In today’s changing media environment, how does a young writer who aspires to do this kind of journalism find a viable outlet for his or her work?”

Much to my delight, after I shared the post on my Facebook page, Boynton himself responded with something that – at least in part – answers that question and also offers his views on where journalism is headed.

This month, Boynton published an essay on titled, “The New New Journalism, circa 2011,” in which he addresses many of the Chicken Little-esque pronouncements about the future of journalism, particularly long-form journalism.

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Book Review: “The New New Journalism” by Robert S. Boynton

When I was a journalism teaching assistant at the University of Illinois, I signed up for a seminar called Writing Across the Curriculum, which was designed to help teaching assistants incorporate writing into their classes in more meaningful ways.

During the two-day workshop, one of the activities involved each participant drawing a sort of comic strip describing his or her writing process. Up to that point, despite holding degrees in creative writing and journalism, and having worked as a newspaper reporter for a few years, I had never really given much thought to the individual steps by which I gathered information and turned it into a piece of written work.

As we went around the room and shared our drawings, it was evident that the writing process is incredibly idiosyncratic. It didn’t just vary among academic disciplines but also from each individual writer to the next. Some people’s processes included breaks to go for a jog or to do the dishes. So, while some wrote more efficiently than others, there was no single right way to approach the task.

One of the beauties of Robert S. Boynton’s “The New New Journalism” (Vintage Books, 2005) is that it shows that this phenomenon is not exclusive to a group of a few dozen graduate students at a Midwestern research university.

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