Reporting: Should Writers Be Journalists?

The worst thing a creative writer could do, it used to be said, was write journalism. By turning out facts to please the masses, he would supposedly debase his own style. But with so many writers, from Truman Capote to Norman Mailer, plunging into journalism. Novelist Thomas Fleming (A Cry of Whiteness) has taken the opposite view. A bout of journalism may be good for the writer but bad for journalism.

Because of today's declining market for fiction, says Fleming in this week's New York Times Book Review, writers are producing journalism to make a living—an advance over writing hack...

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