"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
"I want to get the hell deep inside and tell the truth of their story, all of them, the cops and the robbers, the mothers, the gun slingers, the analysts, the guards, the beat up mob friend, the in charge shot caller, the hapless detective, the cop or prosecutor who works 14 hour days and is nailing this thing and no one really knows (I mean, damn, nobody ever knows about Albania here in the States) — no judgements — just a true story for posterity, history, so it will be documented, real."
— Kevin Heldman, who reported on the New York-Albanian mob for a year at Capital New York and has now received a grant to continue his project. Congrats, Kevin!
"The point is, when journalists are called on to redirect the corporate culture of an organization, sometimes it works in a small way, but usually it doesn’t; and almost never on a vast scale. If management’s idea for a brand overhaul is to import cool, or gravitas, or intelligence, the best-case scenario is almost always that the importees exist successfully but completely separately: valuable parts that don’t add much to the sum. (Part Two is they always leave.)"
— Tom McGeveran on Huffington’s cultural revolution at AOL. There are so many quotable passages in this piece that it was hard to pick just one. We recommend you read the whole thing.
"My friends keep talking to me about how they want to start a Web site, but they need to get some backing, and I look at them and ask them what they are waiting for. All it takes is some WordPress and a lot of typing. Sure, I went broke trying to start it, it trashed my life and I work all the time, but other than that, it wasn’t that hard to figure out."
Choire Sicha, in a nice profile of The Awl in the Times, makes a point that even big media companies sometimes miss: This is not impossible. Yes, profits can be smaller online, but there are enough cheap tools out there that make professional-quality publishing available to anyone, and, if you’re smart, most of that money can be used to fund actual journalism. (via markcoatney)