If Gay Talese knows one thing, it’s The New York Times. However, when we read that he told Vanity Fair “I think the Times is now better than ever,” it was pretty surprising. After all, the paper is a lot different now. Hell, everything is a lot different than when Talese wrote about the paper back in 1969. But he said he liked it, so there you have it.
Here’s a few more gems from Talese:
On Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.:
I think the Times is now better than ever. Better than when I worked for it. And Sulzberger the publisher has to take credit for it. And I think that the reporters we celebrate tonight are the quintessential journalists of my lifetime, and the editors too: The Jill Abramsons, the Bill Kellers, and the publisher Sulzberger. Here I am sort of making a belated celebration of and tossing of the hat to and making my genuflection to people I criticized four or five years ago.
Journalism is for the young. Young people who go into journalism as a calling are entering, I think, the most worthwhile profession that is possible, and the reason I say that is that there is no profession or industry or calling that tries very hard to tell the truth and to sell the truth and to make the truth make money.
On the Times’ mission:
The clergy doesn’t tell the truth. Bankers don’t tell the truth. The government doesn’t tell the truth. Bush doesn’t tell the truth. Obama doesn’t tell the truth. Nobody tells the truth as much as the Times tries to tell the truth. And without the Times, we might as well be the Soviet Union in the old days.