The narrative journalism oath

1/29/08
Karl Schoenberger author of Levi’s Children: coming to terms with human rights in the global marketplace on narrative journalism:

“When the human rights narrative abandons the pretext of objectivity and crosses over into the realm of pure entertainment, it can become as preposterous as it is insidious.

The problem begins with the occasional purple-prose narrative journalism that reveals shocking tales of egregious human rights violations but neglects to follow up on the factual chain of events or to place the sordid tale into a broader context. The consumer of a newspaper article or a TV newsmagazine expose feels absolved of personal responsibility after experiencing a delicious emotional revulsion to the outrage, without being asked to think about how to prevent it from happening again. For an ephemeral moment, the passive audience for cheesy entertainment journalism can feel good about detesting Nike shoes or virtual slavery on Saipan without any obligation to revisit the intellectual and more challenges of the issue the next day.”

I Kelsey Timmerman, soon-to-be author of Where am I Wearing? do solemnly swear to not use purple-prose (or any other color of prose) in my narrative, to place all sordid tales in a broad context, to avoid having my readers experience any delicious emotional revulsion to outrage, and to cut the cheese out of my journalism.

Thank you.

 
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