Free College Essays - New Journalism and The Right Stuff

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The Right Stuff - New Journalism The Right Stuff is a great example of the writing style called "New Journalism". Author Tom Wolfe is widely known as a ground breaker in this type of writing. New Journalism has its foundation in fact but uses techniques from the world of fiction to present the information in a refreshingly realistic way. One important fictional technique is dialogue. Seldom in "normal" journalism does a reader come across real dialogue. Through dialogue, an author is able to show the characters' personalities. The reader's ability to hear what a character says is as important as the ability to see how he reacts. For example, when Wolfe shows us Chuck Yeager's last try at a record, the dialogue gives the reader an extra sense into the intensity of the moment. A second important technique taken from fiction is scene-by-scene examination. Traditionally, journalists present news by importance of the events in a story. In New Journalism, the author instead describes only a certain number of important events. The different scenes are used in the same way that a writer of fiction builds the plot of the story as a whole. In an essay on "New Journalism", Chris Anderson states that a "New Journalistic" "writer can not only render the full details of a scene or event but also describe the subjective, emotional life of the characters" (Marowski and Matuz 418). A third fictional tool is descriptive language. In The Right Stuff, for example, Wolfe purposefully uses the insider slang of fighter pilots. Critic Chris Anderson says he is "fascinated with the insider's slang, the power words of the privileged groups and underground cultures he seeks out" (Marowski and Matuz 418). This use of words from a small, elite in-group helps to allow the reader to understand that group's characteristics, thoughts, and emotions. A fourth technique is point of view. Most journalists are taught to keep their own perspective out of the story and never use the first person in writing. "New Journalistic" novels like The Right Stuff balk at this idea. Wolfe's first-person point of view puts a human face on the news.

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