NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

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Veteran journalist and writer Pete Hamill fondly remembers the nearly 40 years he spent working in the newsrooms at the New York Post and the New York Daily News. “[At the Post,] We had Murray Kempton [on staff,] who wrote like an 18th century restoration dramatist. We had Nora Ephron, who was a brilliant writer when she was a kid, walking into the city room. We had William F. Buckley in the paper,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies. “These were not people who thought the audience was stupid. They thought the audience was smart and they wrote up to the audience instead of down. I think that’s the kind of paper that’s rapidly fading.” Hamill’s latest novel, Tabloid City, is a thriller that partially takes place in an old-school tabloid newsroom, where a gruff editor-in-chief named Sam Briscoe is struggling to keep his print paper afloat amidst rapid digital changes. Hamill says going digital has changed the makeup of newsrooms, which used to be noisy, smoke-filled dens filled with reporters and editors typing away under deadline. “More often than not, the city room now resembles an insurance company,” Hamill says. “It’s not that old-raucous, bawdy, yelling-over-somebody — the obscenities, the casual bad language, the urgency of people’s speech. The new technology is not noisy. You don’t hear the printing guys one floor down banging away on lead type on the stone. But I think the passion is still there — I think people work on newspapers not to get rich, God knows, but because they believe in the craft.” MORE

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