Journalism and its objectivity have often been criticized for taking away the truth from news stories. The essential norm of neutrality that restricts a reporter from framing a news story in its bitter truth has often been criticized. With the emergence of the movement of ‘New Journalism’ emerged the term ‘Gonzo Journalism’ too. Gonzo Journalism essentially focuses on representing a news event or story in its originality. This kind of journalism encourages personal approach to a news story wherein the first person narrative is used. Emotions, satires, sarcasms and humor are the basic elements of gonzo journalism per se. The main motto is to provide accurate information without cutting out the essential truth.
Inception of the term-‘Gonzo’
This word was first used in 1970 by Bill Cardoso to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who was a forefather of the new journalism movement. Thompson said, “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.” There are various arguments as to what inspired Bill to use this word. Some trace its origin to french whereas some trace it to a hit album number back then.
Concept of ‘Gonzo’
According to Thompson, a gonzo journalist has to have “the talent of master journalist, the eye of an artist/photographer and the heavy balls of an actor”. These talents were required in order to interpret news stories in accurate ways. Gonzo journalism was more or less an off shoot of new journalism where in the traditional mainstream journalistic practices were condemned. The main aim of gonzo journalism was to represent things in the way they were seen.