Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Vonnegut on His Days as a Police Reporter in Chicago

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Vonnegut on His Days as a Police Reporter in Chicago

Article excerpt

The famed novelist Kurt Vonnegut died on Tuesday night at the age of 84, due to brain injuries from a recent fall, The New York Times reports.

As Vonnegut might have commented: So it goes.

A lengthy obituary for the paper notes his accomplishments as a novelist since the 1950s -- first with a cult, then a mass, audience -- but also recalls that in the late 1940s, after returning from World War II in Europe, he worked as a police reporter for the legendary Chicago City News Bureau. He later said seeing all those stories day to day made him a novelist.

He described it this way: "Well, the Chicago City News Bureau was a tripwire for all the newspapers in town when I was there, and there were five papers, I think. We were out all the time around the clock and every time we came across a really juicy murder or scandal or whatever, they'd send the big time reporters and photographers, otherwise they'd run our stories. So that's what I was doing, and I was going to university at the same time."

On another occasion he said that City News, which paid him $27 a week for starters, taught him "how to be a tough guy." This is an odd statement, since he had lived through the firebombing of Dresden just a few years before. …

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