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[Commlist] CFP: Disertaciones: The challenges of narrative journalism

Thu Apr 25 20:54:45 GMT 2019

CFP Disertaciones, anuario electrónico de estudios en Comunicación Social

The challenges of narrative journalism

Guest editors:
• Adriana Amado Suárez (UADE, Universidad Argentina de la Empresa)
• Francisco Seoane Pérez (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain)

Deadline for submissions: 30 November 2019

CFP text available in English, Spanish and Portuguese:

"Long breath" journalism is as old as journalism itself. In Latin America it has its roots in brochures full of social and political criticism such as Periquillo Sarniento by Lizardi or Facundo by Faustino Sarmiento. In North America, literary and investigative journalism go hand in hand, with the muckrakers anticipating the New Journalism coined by Wolfe in the 60s and 70s of the 20th century. In Europe, interestingly, the development of narrative journalism is linked to colonialism, with figures such as Albert Londres, George Orwell and Ryszard Kapuścińsk acting as uncomfortable correspondents of their respective metropolises.

Although narrative journalism has been considered the epitome of good journalism, revealing hidden realities through expressive precision and the aesthetic joy of good writing, its closeness to literature has led some authors to engage in pure invention, breaking the pact of truthfulness with the reader through credible fiction. The cases abound, from the recent Claas Relotius scandal in Der Spiegel, to the falsehoods and plagiarism of Jason Blair for the New York Times at the beginning of this century, by way of the historical farces of Janet Cooke (who had to return a Pulitzer Prize because of a story invented for the Washington Post in 1980), the fictitious interviews of Nahuel Maciel for El Cronista in the early 90s, or the fakes of Stephen Glass for The New Republic in the late 1990s, which were turned into a Hollywood film in 2003.

More recently, narrative journalism has been accused of being prone to act as a conduct of hoaxes, or of what we might contemporary understand as 'fake news'. In the wake of the scandal caused by a feature by Rolling Stone on a gang rape at the University of Virginia, which did not properly check the statements of the alleged victim, New York University professor Jay Rosen placed the origin of the error in a practice that he considers usual in magazine journalism: to settle on a narrative (in this case, the impunity of campus rape) and then look for supporting stories, instead of the other way around.

The digital revolution in journalism also presents another dilemma for literary journalism. Have not journals of extended periodicity been the best supports of a journalism that demands extra attention on the part of the reader? Can long journalism survive in the age of tweets and clickbait?

In this call for papers, the academic journal Disertaciones seeks original articles on the challenges of narrative journalism. To wit:

- The boundaries between non-fiction and fiction, and their ethical consequences
- The survival of narrative journalism in the digital era
- Multimedia storytelling as a development of literary journalism
- Relations with ethnography and social anthropology
- The political function of narrative journalism, its ability to influence social and political change
- The star themes in literary journalism: its concern for marginality
- Past and future of narrative genres: profiles and features
- The great authors of narrative journalism, and the undeservedly unknown
- Publication outlets: the book as a dissemination platform
- Financing narrative projects: philanthropy and crowd-funding
- Literary journalism beyond the text: sound and image (including comic-books and animation)
- The relationship between narrative and investigative journalism
- Narrative journalism and online social networks: new ways of telling stories?
- How to name the journalism that tells: narrative, literary, long-form…

Narrative journalism, of deep historical roots in Latin America, is alive and well thanks to figures like Leila Guerriero, Martín Caparrós and Alma Guillermoprieto. However, despite the existence of associations such as the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies, narrative journalism has received little attention from academics. This special issue of Disertaciones wants to awake among communication scholars the interest that literary journalism deserves, by encouraging research on the challenges it must face in this digital age.

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