"I don’t think you’re ever wasting your time when you think you’re wasting your time. In one way I can say I waste a lot of time; it’s part of my occupation; I’m an occupational time waster because so much of what you do doesn’t immediately measure up. There’s a terrible expression: the bottom line. There’s no such thing. First of all you have to have belief that what you’re doing is important. And I thought that when I was a cub reporter. I really thought what I was doing was important. I thought, I am a reporter. And I worked for a very important institution, the New York Times. I’d be interviewing these people and some of them were powerful and famous and rich, and I never felt that what I was doing was inferior to what they were doing – in fact I felt what I was doing was superior because I thought, What I’m doing is trying to get the truth, and I’m talking to a bunch of liars. I mean these people are in professions that tolerate lies much more than journalism does. I’ve said this a dozen times but the pleasure and the honor and respect for the profession of journalism that I always had as a kid and have now even more so is because I was in the only occupation that tried not to lie. If you lie, you get kicked out. And the people who kick you out are your colleagues; it’s not somebody on high. You lie on any newspaper, I don’t care if it’s a great newspaper or a struggling newspaper, you’re probably gonna be thrown out."
— Gay Talese quoted in Gay Talese has a Coke*: reflections of a narrative legend, in conversation with Esquire’s Chris Jones | Nieman Storyboard