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New York Times On Wayne Barrett: ‘Gathering information trumps all else.’

The New York Times takes a hard look at Wayne Barrett, and the result is mostly what you’d expect: Barrett is a fantastic investigative reporter, but also a grumpy old man.

In the piece, the pleasingly gruff Barrett offers up some gems. He notes that he never got an explanation for being forced out at The Village Voice, says he’s never had much use for editors, and on that subject, says, “Tony Ortega is the hardest working editor and the most skillful editor of copy that I’ve ever had. But I’ve never liked him very much.”

Barrett also shows some sympathy to the mayors of the city’s past – who were often skewered in his columns – by telling the Times that his biggest regret is not writing more about the positive things Ed Koch did.

But before you think he’s mellowed out, there’s this:

Mr. Barrett refuses to use a cellphone, insisting that people are not meant to always be in contact with one another; he is more animated and long-winded about this pet peeve than about any of the political corruption he has covered. He refused to use e-mail for years after it had become standard, insisting that his interns deliver their memos on paper to his home in Brooklyn.

Just like we imagine him. An old time – and very excellent – newspaper reporter.

But maybe we should let Barrett sum himself up, as he does so with this perfect line: “I’m not an angry guy. There’s just a lot to be outraged about.”

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