This American Life’s Ira Glass, who oversees what we journalists think is one of the last great hopes for “long-form journalism” (as it is so haughtily called), doesn’t necessarily call what he does journalism at all. From a Times Q&A leading up to his new Showtime video version of the show:
Q: How do you think your work differs from traditional journalism?
A; We’re taking the tools of journalism and applying them to people whom you wouldn’t normally apply them to — people who aren’t famous, people who aren’t powerful, people just like you and me.
Q; What are you talking about? Journalism has always had human-interest stories.
A; But a newspaper probably wouldn’t run an article where a cop remembers one weird incident with a squirrel when he was a rookie. That’s too far from any kind of normal news hook.
I’d say that’s false journalistic modesty. If journalists are storytellers, Glass & Co. are the masters of the craft.