Meyer is not necessarily defending literary journalism. Instead, he brings attention to the fact that the writers were so varied and although branching from many previous experiences and writing backgrounds, each has built on the empire of writing. He seems to be defending the merit of the writing more than the ability of the writers themselves. People seem to have discounted the writing of these authors because they do not write traditional news stories in the inverted pyramid style.
On page five, Meyer makes distinctions about the authors and the different genres they write for different literary publications. He does not esteem one author or genre over another; each is portrayed with care and attention that shows his belief that each is necessary to journalism as a whole. Each one has contributed to the growth of publication of the written word (i.e., newspapers, magazines, journals).
Meyer also points out the vocations of the writers before and sometimes after they write for newspapers or magazines. He may do this to show that these authors did not just materialize and begin to write, regardless of skill or experience. He verifies that these writers are professionals and have a solid background in reporting and the field of journalism.
Also, in Sandburg and Hemingway's cases, Meyer points out the usefulness of their careers before poetry and writing, respectively. Before these two notable authors took the stage in other genres, they got their feet wet in the little stream known as literary journalism. In Steinbeck and Hemingway's cases, Meyer relates how the background experience that they had fortified them as writers. Hemingway relied on his experiences of writing in Europe and Steinbeck used his Hooverville sightings in writing The Grapes of Wrath.
The career paths of the writers that Meyer mentions show that literary journalism can be used as an occupational plateau and/or stepping stone for writers. Some of these writers continued to go on and publish more outside of this realm while some created names for themselves in this genre. He shows the effectiveness and questions why some people do not give the full amount of credit due to these writers; they have proven themselves prolific and talented with the ability to relay information and inform their audience as well as entertain.