Josh Roiland

Josh Roiland

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:

  1. It’s literary journalism, not literature. Literary techniques don’t replace or embellish but increase the reporting’s social impact.
  2. Long form’s been around a long time. A literary journalism anthology was produced in 1937. Forma firma, not flash in the pan.
  3. 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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