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Literary Journalism

Bridget Bennett


Literary journalism is a form of writing characterized by a particular aesthetic self-consciousness more usually associated with literary creativity than with fact-driven journalism. While conventional descriptions of journalism stress objectivity and clarity (→  Objectivity in Reporting ), descriptions of literary journalism often focus on qualities more usually associated with literary texts. Literary journalism aims to combine a desire to present information objectively with one to do it stylishly, therefore giving it a different kind of impact to the regular fare of newspapers. Some argue that one of its characteristics is that the quality of its craft means that it will be still read in years to come, whereas much journalism has, and is intended to have, a short shelf life. As a term, “literary journalism” is both more, and less, than the sum of its parts. The first word of the term implies its proximity to kinds of writing conventionally thought of as literature: chiefly fiction, plays, poetry. Yet at the same time the second word seems to contradict, even rule out, the first. If it is →  Journalism , how can it also be literary? This may be one reason why the term “creative nonfiction” is also increasingly being used as a less burdened and more precise description. Such a synonym does not run the risk, as “literary journalism” does, of implying that such writing must concern ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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