Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Halberstam, RIP

Does anybody else remember this story about David Halberstam? I'm pretty sure it's from Gay Talese's book, The Kingdom and the Power.

Shortly after Halberstam's return to the New York Times newsroom after a spectacular performance in Vietnam, another young reporter about his age, R.W. Apple, walked up and said, "Oh, you're David Halberstam. I thought you'd like to know I was at a party with Punch this weekend and he speaks very highly of you."

Halberstam looked up and said "Fuck off, kid."


  1. It was in Tim Crouse's book, "Boys on the Bus." Calvin Trillin refers to it here

  2. I met Halberstam in 1993 when he spoke to my Nieman group. At one point he pulled out a stack of notes from the baseball book he was working on and passed them around. It was great to see how much he loved reporting -- the substance and process of it.

  3. Great catch, John.


  4. John Robinson5:42 AM

    And if I hadn't been rushed, I'd have thanked you for reminding me of it. It's a wonderful story told about both reporters!

  5. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Howard, your use of offensive words has made this blog hard to read and/or distribute at work (this post isn't the first either).

    My employer has made it abundantly clear that disciplinary action will result from the forwarding of or discussion of blogs with offensive content (such as f-bombs).

    Can you please help me out a bit and try not to be in the 80%.

    Thanks, much!

  6. I'm sorry you found the quote offensive, though I don't think there's any other way to have conveyed the essense of this story for this audience without it.

    You're right in noting that I've sometimes used profanity in other posts. Some have no doubt been gratuitous or lazy, and I'll stop that. But some of it was intentional, for emphasis or to set a tone, and I probably will do that again.

    It's hard to imagine an employer who'd discipline employees over something like the Halberstam post. I hope that isn't a McClatchy employer; if it is, I hope he or she call and discuss this with me.

    Thanks for speaking up. I'll do my best to avoid the cheap stuff.

  7. Anonymous8:09 AM

    Oh please understand that I don't find such trivialities offensive in any way... but there have been those disciplined for forwarding/discussing blog postings with similar content ("for emphasis or to set a tone").

    I'm sorry to say, it wasn't so much a McClatchy employer, but rather within McClatchy Corporate itself.