Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word "gonzo" is believed to be first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. The term has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavors.
Gonzo journalism tends to utilize personal experiences and emotions to achieve an accurate representation of a phenomenon, as compared to traditional journalism that favors using a detached writing style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more gritty, personal approach—the personality of a piece is just as important as the event the piece is on. Use of sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common.
Among the forefathers of the new journalism movement, Thompson said in the February 15th, 1973 issue of Rolling Stone, "If I'd written the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people—including me—would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."
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“Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once.”
—Cyril Connolly (19031974)