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From AJR,   August/September 2012  issue

Composite Characters   


By Unknown
     

"If it's a memoir or an appearance as a journalistic source the material better be true," Rem Rieder wrote in his column about off-Broadway performer Mike Daisey. I wonder how you would apply this maxim to President Barack Obama's memoirs using "composite" characters? I ask since his memoirs are both memoirs and have been extensively used as a source for journalists.

H. Michael Sarkisian
Wenigzell, Austria

Rem Rieder replies: I don't like the composite approach at all. At least Obama disclosed his use of the device. I wouldn't be comfortable with using material from the book in reporting unless it was carefully characterized.