Journalism – story-telling versus reporting

There seems to be a trend towards more story-telling and self promotion (as part of the story or via ‘opinion’) in journalism as opposed to reporting balanced bullshit-less news.

Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu):

I don’t know how our journalists came to see “storytelling” as the heart of what they do, and “storyteller” as a self-description. I can think of 4-5 elements of journalism more central than “story.”

Truthtelling, grounding public conversation in fact, verification… listening.

Links:

  • Umbreen Bhatti (NiemanLab): THE STORY DOESN’T END FOR THE PEOPLE WE QUOTE
    “In 2019, I hope to see us talk more about the implications of approaching journalism as the work of telling stories — specifically, what it means for the people in those stories.”
  • Jeff Jarvis (A medium): The Spiegel Scandal and the Seduction of Storytelling
    “In journalism, the story too often becomes a self-fulfilling creation.”
    “The real problem, of course, is that we have let our means of production determine our mission rather than the other way around (something I’ve heard Jay Rosen reflect upon often). I hear journalists say their primary role is as storytellers. No. I hear them say their task is to fill a product — a newspaper or magazine or show. No. Our job is to inform the public conversation. And now that we can hear people talking and join in with them,  I’ve updated my definition of journalism to this: to convene communities into civil, informed, and productive conversation. This means our first job is not to write but to listen to that conversation so we can find what it needs to function. Then we report. Then we write — or convene or teach or use other forms now available to us
  • Jay Rosen (PressThink): “I had just arrived in the Chicago bureau and I needed a story…”
    I stopped listening at that point, but not because he was boring. Something struck me about that phrase, “I needed a story.”
  • Jay Rosen (PressThink): Rolling Stone’s ‘A Rape on Campus.’ Notes and comment on Columbia J-school’s investigation.
    The key decision Rolling Stone made was made at the beginning: to settle on a narrative — indifference to campus rape — and then go off in search of the story that would work just right for that narrative.