Hunting the Famous is a meditation on journalism and writing by veteran news reporter John Stapleton. Spanning the decades from the late 1969 to 2009, the book covers everything from the writer and journalist’s early years, saddled with a compulsion to write and not much else, to his years as a general news reporter on Australia’s two best newspapers, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. Prior to becoming a staff reporter Stapleton’s unlikely promise to himself to live or die by the typewriter led to a string of encounters with some of the world’s most famous authors, including Gore Vidal, Dirk Bogarde, Paul Bowles, Joseph Heller, Al Alvarez, Anthony Burgess and Salman Rushdie. Hunting the Famous also includes affectionate portraits of Australian writers such as author David Malouf, poet Vicki Viidikas and hard drinking journalistic legends such as Jack Darmody and Joe Glascott.
As a news reporter Stapleton encountered and wrote stories about everyone from street alcoholics to Australian Prime Ministers, including Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. He covered thousands of stories, from the staple flood, drought, fire and natural disasters of the Australian bush to scenes of urban dysfunction in inner Sydney. Hunting the Famous covers a period of profound change within newspapers as the Information Revolution transformed the nature of the profession. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the craft of journalism and the operations of the media.