From ArticleWorld

Gonzo is a form of media where the reporter takes part in the events being observed. The person who documents the news or writes the story puts himself in the role of narrative participant.


Gonzo journalism is epitomized by the works of the late Hunter S. Thompson, who is sometimes inaccurately credited with creating the term. In fact, Bill Cardoso was the first person to use "gonzo" to describe Thompson's work. Thompson's observers note that his style was markedly mischievous, confrontational and sensationalist. Most notably, he consistently wrote about himself as an active accomplice in the events described. He made the news while reporting it. To him, there was no objectivity to be found in journalism, so it was only natural that the journalist abandon the false role of objective observer and become a participant. Thompson also discarded journalistic analysis, opting instead to present events as they occurred, with little or no explanation.

Modern gonzo journalism is concerned with factual representation over commentary. Readily observable facts are emphasized and their larger implications sometimes ignored. There are parallels to gonzo news reporting in the writings of modern journalists Terry Southern and Tom Wolfe. Some critics take issue with gonzo style, maintaining that it is nothing more than a representation of a drug-addled, disorganized chain of thought, and that it is not true journalism.

Gonzo pornography

In the porn industry, gonzo films are distinguished by the involvement of directors and other crewmembers in the action. In some cases the director will talk to the actors. In other cases, he will join the action onscreen. Gonzo pornography is usually without even a rudimentary plot. Traditional intercourse is rare. Instead, such films generally portray a small number of specific sexual activities, such as masturbation, fisting, or fondling of a specific body part. The sexual action is presented without explanation or commentary. Members of the gonzo porn industry aim to present hyper-realistic documentation of sex acts, allowing the viewer to feel involved with the action.

Unintentional gonzo

In certain cases, a news reporter or writer is unable to separate himself from the news subject. This is inherent in documentations of natural disasters such as tornadoes, volcanoes and tsunamis, where the reporter is often either chasing or fleeing from danger. In undercover investigative reporting, it is also often impossible for the journalist to separate herself from the investigation. As an example, it is newsworthy if a particular slaughterhouse uses cruel and unsanitary methods, but it is just as newsworthy that a reporter has managed to sneak into the slaughterhouse with a hidden camera. In such a story, the act of infiltration and surreptitious information gathering is presented as a part of the overall narrative.