Six books and several dozen Sports Illustrated articles into his journalistic career, George Plimpton still couldn’t type the words “participatory journalism” with a straight face. “‘Participatory journalism’—that ugly descriptive,” he writes in the first pages of Shadow Box (1977), sighing over his Underwood. Though he became nationally known as the subgenre’s paragon and the term pursued him into his obituaries, Plimpton was only a journalist in the sense that James Thurber was an illustrator and Robert Benchley a newspaper columnist. He went places, spoke to people, and wrote down his observations, but the reporting wasn’t the point. What was the point? The storytelling, the humanity, the comedy.--NR
I was a big fan of Plimpton's work, particularly Paper Lion.