Nobody’s really happy with the term “literary journalism.” But we need to learn to love it, says Josh Roiland, assistant professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine, and a Storyboard contributor. Roiland published By Any Other Name: The Case for Literary Journalism in the Fall 2015 issue of Literary Journalism Studies. It’s well worth reading. Even as a peer-reviewed essay in an academic journal, it’s got a scene and a shifting point of view. But it runs almost 20 pages, not including the 114 footnotes. Here’s his main argument, in three tweetable doses:
- It’s literary journalism, not literature. Literary techniques don’t replace or embellish but increase the reporting’s social impact.
- Long form’s been around a long time. A literary journalism anthology was produced in 1937. Forma firma, not flash in the pan.
- Don’t call it longform, or longreads, or narrative. These can be journalism, but they can be many other things, too.
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