The following is a response to the book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. This is posted for an assignment as part of my course Journalism Reimagined.
Six years is a long time to spend researching and writing about a mass murder. After all, in today’s wired newsroom, time is a luxury that most journalists do not have.
Truman Capote showed in his book In Cold Blood that not one of those six years was wasted. Every single relevant detail is painted: the history of the Clutter family, their temperaments, their dreams and their fears, right up to what they were doing on their very last day. I was right there in the house with them, listening in as Nancy talked to Susan, looking on as Mrs Clutter pressed the paper fan into Jolene’s hand.
It was too good a read, almost like a novel. But after learning that Capote chose to forego using notebooks or recorders, and relied entirely on memory when talking to interviewees, I begin to wonder: how true is this “true account of a multiple murder and its consequences”?