Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Relevant and Engaging Journalism

This post makes me happy because it discusses the “story” in reporting, and I am, after all, a story fanatic. It also talks about what to do if the journalist is a celebrity. What do these have in common? How do you make the story interesting for readers and what if it’s too interesting? A video created based on one of the chapters I read will give a good overview of the balance between relevance and engaging.

Storytelling techniques like using plot and character make for better writing, be it in a novel or in news. That’s not to say news stories can’t still be relevant and focused on facts – in fact, it should always be. But the inverted triangle is not the only way to write as a journalist anymore. Diana Suggs wrote an article that shows good storytelling in a relevant, touchy subject. I’m excited to see more writing like this, as long as the character-building details are relevant and not just there to add scandal or “hype” any part of the story.

I also read about celebrity journalists and what they do to and for journalism. Celebrities are more likely to get stories others cannot, but there is a risk. This article from the American Journalism Review explains the pros and cons of celebrity journalists. The big problem, I think, is that citizens are inclined to see celebrity journalists as pursuing a big story not to tell the truth or be a watchdog but to increase their fame. People have to be able to trust the motives of the celebrities. That doesn’t mean that I think journalists should retire once they become celebrities, but they would have to work harder to convince the public that they’re on its side.

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