Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lillian Ross: Eye on New York

By Emily Maffei

Lillian Ross is not just another “fly on the wall.” When she worked for The New Yorker as a reporter, she always got very involved in the stories she covered. She was not a fly on the wall nor a back seat driver, she always took the so-called reins of every story she developed.

She was born in June 1926 in Syracuse, NY. Started working for The New Yorker as a journalist in 1945 after World War II. Writing articles, reporting news, and uncovering feature stories was her job. She felt as if she was writing real life short stories, except she could only write the hard facts and nothing but the truth.

Over the course of her life she has published numerous articles, reported many feature stories, wrote several books, including her memoir and a collection of writing tips--Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism--and even satirical short stories. In all her writing and success, she has managed to stay out of the public eye. Her private life has stayed almost invisible.

Listening to an interview from December 22, 2006 on NPR, her New York City apartment private life was pleasantly exposed. During “The Long View” interview I was able to hear Lillian Ross’s first hand knowledge of reporting. One thing she made very clear from the beginning was to LISTEN. Pay attention to detail, don’t rely on the technology to record the information for you.

Look at how she writes about teenagers of Manhattan. The rich kids, or as she likes to call them, “The Shit Kickers of Madison Avenue.” Though Lillian Ross is getting older, she still is an amazing woman with a great sense of humor and a close eye on everything that is happening. Always watching, paying attention to detail. And what better city for her to watch then the city that never sleeps, just like her.

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