Storytelling: The Oldest Art Form

This book made an excellent point about the way journalists are trained. We are just told to report the facts and not to put any sort of meaning into our words. We have to stay unbiased. We can’t let our opinion get into our story. It’s all about what happened, not what it means.

But we can’t do that in feature writing. I feel like feature writing picks out things in everyday life and makes them important. The way we make people want to read about these things is to create a story out of it, not just an article. We need to show the meaning behind what is said and make the words have an impact. It’s about showing people what is important, just using a different method.

The reason I originally decided to become a journalist was just because I knew I could write. It was the only thing I liked to do, so I decided to make my major journalism. I didn’t know what else I could do with an ability to write, and I think that’s true for a lot of people. Writers don’t know what to do with ourselves anymore. We can’t go straight to being novelists because we don’t know what will finally get us published. We settle for being journalists because at least we still get to write. And journalists should take a note from these writers.

Don’t just report the facts. Make a story. Make it interesting. What makes you more qualified to tell this story than anyone else? It should be because you can use the words like no one else can. We should practice our storytelling. We should really understand the power of words. I think that is the way to ensure we have better journalists in the world.

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Is having a point of view unethical?

 

First of all, I found suggested origin of the definition of the word piping hilarious: the act of making up quotes or inventing sources which came from the idea that the reporter was high from covering the police busts of opium dens. As light-hearted as this is, I found that the book made very viable point about the ethical principals of telling the truth in journalism. It made the point that just because someone writes fictitiously, does not mean they are making something up on purpose. The memory can affect the truth unknowingly to a certain degree.

As journalists we are to report the truth, but the book brings up another good point- whose truth? Where is the line between hard fact and point of view drawn? If I was covering the same story as another reporter, I may choose to paint the subject in a different light or describe the scene in a different way according to my own personal history and overall point of view. The other reporter may paint a completely different picture of a person or a place, but does that mean that one of us is fictionalizing while the other is sticking strictly to the facts? No. Although subjectivity is necessary in journalism, I think it is hard to achieve since there is no on and off switch for a person’s point of view. I think the main ethical question a journalist has to ask himself is whether or not his story will deceive.