Gay Talese recommends actually talking to poor people

Gay Talese

One of my favorite things about legendary journalist and non-fiction writer, Gay Talese, is that he isn’t a snob — well, maybe he’s a little snobby about suits. Despite being well connected in Upper East Side society, Talese has always felt at home with people from different backgrounds — gangsters, sex workers, voyeurs, black activists and the working class.

When I first met him for dinner at the Mark Hotel, he told me that young journalists were out of touch, that they couldn’t report on big issues like inequality because they were all rich kids from Ivy League schools. Now, after the surprise election of Donald Trump as president, his words sound prophetic.

Talese spoke to Salon about the problem of social isolation in the media, and offered a practical solution: hit the highway and meet some people who aren’t just like you. Check out the video below.