Wildly successful proverb investigator Malcolm Gladwell is a writer for The New Yorker, the most prestigious magazine journalism outlet in America. Despite this fact, he says that—as a policy—he does not do journalism.
A basic part of journalism—particularly when writing long, involved articles of the sort that The New Yorker publishes—is interviewing people who are relevant to the story. Sometimes these people may be unfriendly. Sometimes a person may be relevant to a story, and it may be necessary to interview them, even if they do not like you very much, and you do not like them very much. Combative interview are certainly more necessary in, say, the politics beat than in the social sciency beat that Gladwell usually works in. Still, the story dictates who you interview, not vice versa, and there are no guarantees that you'll love everyone you talk to.
With that in mind, we wanted to be sure to flag this quote that Gladwell gave to the New York Times Book Review this weekend:
I also like to steer clear of writing about people whom I do not personally like. My rule is that if I interview someone, they should never read what I have to say about them and regret having given me the interview.
In case you haven't read Malcolm Gladwell's new book, here is my accurate summary of what it says: "Brian Grazer is dyslexic. But that taught him to be a good listener. Now Brian Grazer is a successful Hollywood producer. Coincidence?"
It all makes sense now.