This is a loose follow-up to my post earlier in the week that asked if we should still write about people who don't want us to write about them.
Also, just to be clear: This is just about the nature of journalism in general, and magazine feature writing in particular. I'm not writing this to sling mud at Tom or anybody else, or to call his moral character into question, or to just spit an opinion and argue just for the sake of it. (I believe the term the kids use is "trolling"? I'm not trolling.)
Tom Junod recently gave a gave a talk at the "Power of Storytelling" conference. (That's an annual conference in Bucharest where some of the world's great nonfiction writers get together and talk about nonfiction writing.) The full video is at the end of this post, if you're interested. And if you're not sure who Tom is, he writes for Esquire and he's one of the best magazine writers working today.
None of this really has anything to do with Tom specifically. He just put words to things that have been on my mind a lot lately, and it gave me as good a hook as any for this post. I'm as guilty of all of this as any other journalist. That's why it's bothering me. And frankly, I'm a little uneasy with using Tom and his quotes as specific examples because I respect Tom's work and I'm friends with some of his friends and I don't want to offend anybody because I JUST WANT US ALL TO GET ALONG OKAY?
But, for better or worse—probably worse—I love thinking and talking about things.
So let's talk about journalism and trust.