Nilanjana Roy on How to be a journalist.
This is an interesting perspective: whether journalists must remain invisible while producing their stories. Roy talks about how Katherine Boo’s work defies the general trend that ‘I’ is everywhere. It is a good professional habit and culture to inculcate for long form reporting – to remain absent from your story.
I was just talking to a scientist friend of mine at the NIH, in D.C., about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. While the book is an astonishing effort in science journalism, one gets the feeling, that there is way too much stuff about the author in the book. Do we really need to know about the tribulations the author faced while writing the book? (For sure, as a journalist, I liked to read about the way Skloot was persistent and the very real challenges she faced in getting the Lacks’ family to talk.) But for a regular reader, I don’t think it matters.
I have not read Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, but I take Roy’s word for it.