What Is Gonzo Journalism?

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Gonzo journalism refers to the style of journalism epitomized by the work of Hunter S. Thompson, and this style of journalism claims that objectivity gets in the way of telling the real story. Find out how Gonzo journalists insert themselves into the story with help from a journalism professor in this free video on careers in journalism.

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Video Transcript

So what's Gonzo journalism? Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism epitomized perhaps best by the work of Hunter S. Thompson in the nineteen seventies. Unlike conventional journalism, Gonzo journalism doesn't even try to be objective or fair or balanced. In fact it says that objectivity is a myth and that striving for objectivity actually just gets in the way of telling the real story, the try story. So for example, in Rolling Stone magazine sent Hunter S. Thompson to cover the nineteen seventy two presidential election. Well, he lied to McGovern but he called Humphrey a hopeless old political hack. So, and did so just outright so that would get an ordinary journalist fired. He also just wrote the unvarnished experience of the campaign trail, day to day, drunkeness and all. And you know, I suppose maybe a modern example of Gonzo journalism would be the recent documentary, Super Size Me where the author and director and star of the film spent a month just eating nothing day in and day out except McDonalds fast food. And then he documented the effects this had on his body and on his mood and temperament and all sorts of things. It's journalism where the journalist inserts himself or herself in to the story and becomes part of the story and the journalist's you know observations and emotions and feelings and direct personal experiences all become part of the story. That's anathema in traditional day to day journalism.


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