Stunt Journalism

How far would you go to write a story that gets read? Is it still journalism when you are the story? At what point is it a journal, like a diary or log, rather than a news story? How far will a stunt journalist go before the story is about the danger of performing your own, untrained and irresponsible stunts?

When did journalism get so physically degrading?

Immersive journalism is not new. In 1887, the reporter Nellie Bly feigned insanity in order to be committed to a New York City insane asylum. Her stay resulted in a landmark undercover account of appalling conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum. Eighty-odd years later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote a manic first-person account of the 1970 Kentucky Derby, which more or less invented the genre now known as Gonzo journalism.

If the modern stunt essay has a film antecedent, it’s Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 hit documentary chronicling his own attempt to gorge on nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days. However jokey it seemed, the stunt served the public interest in clear ways: Spurlock drew national attention to the obesity epidemic, and McDonald’s discontinued its Super Size option shortly after the film premiered. Less journalistic value is accomplished by ingesting nothing but alcohol for a week. Duy Linh Tu, the journalism professor, wonders whether the term “stunt journalism” is a misnomer. “I don’t think all of this is journalism,” Tu says. “I’m not making a quality judgment. It’s all content…. [But] you won’t be able to build a long-term journalistic organization pulling these stunts.”

This is an old journalistic instinct—don’t look for a story, be the story—funneled through new media channels. It’s not the recklessness that’s new (war reporters have long put themselves at risk) but the desperation. Still, what the stunt piece and the personal essay have in common is that the best writing stems from horrible experiences—and that neither of them are going away soon. The stunt craze is liable to change how would-be journalists go about breaking into the industry. Or maybe it already has.

Source: Are We Living in a Golden Age of Stunt Journalism?

Inspirational Writing

Originally part of the Suite101 University ecourses offered for free. This content is being removed by Suite101 and I wanted to preserve some of it so others could take the course and for myself to remember the information.

Inspirational Writing

By Sara Quest



Inspirational publications like “Chicken Soup for the Soul” reveal today’s demand for writers of everyday miracles. Yes, people like you who want to tug hearts are in demand! The original Chicken Soup book expanded to become a series of approximately sixty titles, including ones like “Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul” and “Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul.” All titles combined sold over 75 million copies.

What you are not aware of is, the Chicken authors were once writers with unfathomable dreams. They wanted to share the numerous stories of everyday people like you who inspired them during their motivational speaking careers. And like you, they knew struggle: not one publisher of the one hundred twenty three they approached wanted that original “Chicken Soup” book! But their stories found the way to the right publisher.

The inspirational market is NOW awaiting YOUR contribution! Continue reading Inspirational Writing

My Town Monday

Try being a photo journalist. Take photos and write about your town for My Town Monday.

My Town Monday – Started by Travis Erwin, My Town Monday was picked up by bloggers from across the globe. Each week (more or less) we share our towns, cities, and other places we call ours.

If you would like to participate, drop a line in the comments. All are welcome, whether a frequent poster or a random thing.

Open File for News Writers

For news writers, reporters, journalists looking to add a fresh credit to your resume or for those just getting started, this looks like a good opportunity. It is a Canadian site but I know there are similar networks/ sites in other countries so you can read along and see if this kind of community journalism is for you.

One thing to note is the use of the word ‘contribute’ rather than talking about money/ getting paid. Chances are this is a volunteer kind of thing when you see contribution used. So consider this as a writing credit, something to keep you working and keep your name in a byline more than a way to pay your bills.

OpenFile is a collaborative local news site.

Qualifications: The traditional role of the journalist has evolved, but it hasn’t diminished. The public still needs professional investigators, truth-seekers, watchdogs, fact-checkers and opinion-shapers—maybe now more than ever. Along with traditional skills and expertise, we’re also looking for reporters who value:

Context: The ability to derive meaning from content and information, not merely produce content and information. To compose an effective OpenFile story, our journalists must understand, appreciate and frame it in its larger and/or smaller context.

Facilitation: The ability to lead and curate discussion and participation around a file, not just report it and move on to the next thing. The interactivity of the OpenFile model means that no story ever goes cold or disappears. Our journalists keep tabs on the stories they write and help drive the discussion around Growing and Reported Files.

Writer/ Editor for the TV News?

Everyone has their dream job, usually more than one. I don’t know if mine would be to write the news. It’s a picky thing, requiring perfection, fact checking and someone who really involves themselves with current events. That’s not quite me. But, for someone, writing for the TV news would be a dream job come true.

Here is a real job posting from CanWest Global. Do you have what they want? Could you round out your skills and become the perfect fit?

The Global Winnipeg News Department is seeking a full time Writer/Editor to participate in the daily production of our news and information programming. The successful candidate will be a proven journalist with demonstrable writing and technical skills. He/she will work in a competitive news environment with a motivated team whose newscasts are targeted at viewers in the 25-54 demographic.

The successful candidate will be an experienced journalist with demonstrable skills
Diploma/degree in journalism or similar relevant education
Prior reporting and editing experience an asset
Effective writing skills for both broadcast and online content and a proven ability to meet editing and on-air deadlines
Able to work co-operatively in a large team environment.
Exemplary work ethic and punctuality
Proficiency with MS Word/Excel/Outlook is a requirement.
Experience in new media platforms and posting website content is a requirement

The following is a paraphrase of requirements and primary functions and does not outline all of the duties and responsibilities for this position:

The ability to research and continually develop original and creative story ideas and local contacts.
Edit content and prepare online elements in a non-linear environment.
Edit content and reporter stories for broadcast daily in a non-linear environment.
Write web copy and elements for newscasts with the highest degree of competence, clarity, and accuracy.
Coordinate online content and website maintenance in cooperation with online team.
Strong organizational skills to facilitate daily production coordination
Assignments will include days, evenings and weekends as required.