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Gay Talese: 'Sinatra Has a Cold'

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Gay Talese: 'Sinatra Has a Cold'

Gay Talese: 'Sinatra Has a Cold'

Writer's Story on Sinatra Sparked a New Genre of Reporting

Gay Talese: 'Sinatra Has a Cold'

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1424661/1424761" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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In the corner of a smoky Beverly Hills bar, a legendary but fading singer stands, nursing a drink, a cigarette, and — much to his distress — a cold. And when Esquire magazine writer Gay Talese recounted that night in his 1966 story "Sinatra Has a Cold," he started a revolution in journalism — a new genre of reporting dubbed "New Journalism."

With its attention to narrative and style, new journalism is practiced by such literary stars as Norman Mailer and Thomas Wolfe. But some argue the style has enabled, or even encouraged, the careers of slick stylists who add and subtract facts for the sake of a compelling story. Slate founding editor Michael Kinsley recently spoke to Talese about the legacy and future of new journalism.