Mr. Bad News Who?

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It can be a harrowing experience, Whitman knows, requiring that the writer become an instant historian, assessing in a few hours the dead man’s life with lucidity, accuracy, and objectivity.

Gay Talese believes “Mr. Bad News” is one of the best pieces he ever wrote. Talese wrote the profile on  New York Times obituary writer Alden Whitman for Esquire in 1966.

The essay was just republished in Longform, accompanied by a podcast featuring Talese himself talking about that story and many others.


Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →