Joseph Mitchell- the quintessential reporter
Today, July 27, is the birthday of New Yorker writer, Joseph Mitchell who was born in Fairmont, North Carolina in 1908. His Southern roots informed his writing although most of his stories were of eccentric characters living on the edge in New York City. He talked with fishmongers, gypsies and Mohawk Indians who worked as riveters on bridges and skyscrapers. He interviewed criminals, politicians and celebrities. He wrote about gin mill owners, con artists and a flea circus operator. Most of his writing is collected in the book, Up in the Old Hotel. Mitchell thought of himself as a good interviewer because "he had lost the ability to detect insanity."