Putting the Storytelling Back into Stories : Creative Non-Fiction in Tertiary Journalism Education.

  • Molly Blair

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This work explores the place of creative non-fiction in Australian tertiary journalism education. While creative non-fiction — a genre of writing based on the techniques of the fiction writer — has had a rocky relationship with journalism, this study shows that not only is there a place for the genre in journalism education, but that it is inextricably linked with journalism. The research is based on results from studies using elite interviews and a census of Australian universities with practical journalism curricula.The first stage of this study provides a definition of creative non-fiction based on the literature and a series of elite interviews held with American and Australian creative nonfiction experts. This definition acknowledges creative non-fiction as a genre of writing that tells true stories while utilising fiction writing techniques such as point of view,dialogue and vivid description. The definition also takes into account creative nonfiction’s diverse range of publication styles which include feature articles, memoir,biography, literary journalism and narrative non-fiction.The second stage of the study reports upon elite interviews with Australian writers who have produced works in the genres of journalism and creative non-fiction. Theseinterviews reveal the close relationship journalism and creative non-fiction share across avariety of approaches and techniques. This study also shows how creative non-fiction can improve the careers of journalists and the quality of journalism.The census of journalism programs further reveals the place of creative non-fiction in tertiary journalism education and prompts the formulation of a two tiered model for the genre’s inclusion in the curriculum. The first tier involves including creative non-fiction in a core journalism subject. The second tier is an elective creative non-fiction subject which builds on the skills developed in the core classes.Through the literature, and the responses of the elites and survey respondents, it was possible to show how creative non-fiction helps journalism students to appreciate the history of their profession, explore their talents and finally to be part of what may be the future of print journalism.
Date of Award8 Feb 2003
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMark Pearson (Supervisor) & William Krebs (Supervisor)

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