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FINDING THE VOICE OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM:

LITERARY JOURNALISM IN THE

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Max P. Quayle
Dr. Maura MacNeil
Quayle 2

Research Methods
April 31, 2010

Introduction: Time Signified

When it comes to social internet communication, there is becoming only one generation:

Users. The invisible nature of modern internet presence blurs the traditional lines between age

groups, allowing partnering and interaction within unlikely peer circles. The resulting literary

trend, which enjoyed twentieth century popularity when called “less is more,” has been

“tweeted,” “texted” and “chatted” down to the literary equivalent of a stump: Less, in the art of

creative non-fiction has become simply – less. A prevailing suspicion is that would-be writers

are actually producing the requisite numbers of keystrokes, but these are simply poured into the

slow rolling “thought eaters” of Facebook, Myspace and other social networking websites,

which in most cases, will never be seen again. Another view maintains that there is a dwindling

market for carefully crafted narrative nonfiction because a “click” or two will provide the outline

of any given news story of our day—indicating a disinterested, or worse an intellectually

incapable, audience. Any work of writing that requires the reader to “turn” even a virtual page,

may be asking too much. Because there has been no lack of dramatic, socially impacting, world

changing events in this millennium, the quiet escape hatch of Internet self expression, may be

creating a lapse in the recording of reactions to these events: Much potentially excellent literary

journalism is simply not being written.


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Definition: Literary Journalism

Before another step is taken, we must consolidate the boundaries of the genre, “literary

journalism.” In 1973, conservative essayist and author, Tom Wolfe, got all the credit for a

movement that has been gathering strength since man first tried to etch out the day’s events in

stone and chalk. He organized and published The New Journalism, a collection of non-fiction

essays from writers of his day. For some time, this became the defining title for any piece of

journalism which employed techniques used by fiction writers to convey real stories.

Oxymoronic and anachronistic, the title has been nearly stripped of usage, leaving the slightly

high-brow, but intellectually comfortable “literary journalism” to head the genre. Surely, since

recorded history began, engravers, carvers–writers–of all types have been burdened with the

weight of recording facts that served to prove that they, and the surrounding world, actually

existed. By necessity, those who got the job done quickly, neatly and (supposedly) accurately got

not only the credit, but the honor of dictating directly into the books from which history is

presumed, and taught today. The resulting inverted pyramid style of reporting—a derivative of a

human interaction technique called progressive disclosure1—places the most “important”

information first, followed by less and less about other observations until the smallest space on

the page is all that is left for the grit, feist and flavor of the events themselves. Indeed it might be

said that if all history were recorded as literary journalism, not only would we be less likely to

1
Progressive disclosure dictates introduction of information in a tiered fashion with most
pertinent information given first and most, followed by second an third etc. with less and less
detail as the presentation concludes. The flaw inherent is that some force other than the causal or
the audience dictates which information gets center stage. Slant, bias and opinion are freely
dispensed, and have been throughout journalistic history. The immersive nature of Literary
Journalism takes the time to present the whole picture-leaving interpretation to the reader.
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repeat the mistakes of the past, but we certainly would never forget the impact they had the first

time around.

For the purposes of this study, literary journalism, creative non-fiction, prose or

immersion reporting, “journalit,” literary or narrative nonfiction and a few others will all serve

the purpose of referring the reader to a non-fictitious, real-life reporting of an event or time that

actually happened (Royal, 2000). These accounts may be first-hand primary source documents,

as in personal essays, autobiographies etc., or a step away through the eyes of a researcher/writer

who gathers the facts from the first-hand primary sources—as found in some magazine articles,

books and the rarest of newspaper articles. In some cases, by necessity, a writer may rely purely

upon secondary sources, but they run the risk of crossing into the related snarl of historical

license, and they should clearly state the lack of primary sources in the introduction or abstract.

The literary journalist abides the ethical codes taken by reporters and journalists and stands ready

to be judged by these same standards2. It is the opinion of this author that anyone who seeks to

mislead by falsification will find a more lucrative career in the world of literary fiction than in

the lonely, midnight oil-lit room of the literary journalist.

Defense: Fusing Toward Transparency

With a working definition in place, it is appropriate to introduce the methodology of my

approach to fleshing out the voice in the literary journalism of the 21st century. While providing

creative nonfiction excerpts from both eras of the study, there will also be an interpretation of the

overarching voice of both the latter half of the twentieth century, as well as that of our day. This

2
The Society of Professional Journalists maintains this standard code of ethics at:
http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
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component of the study will highlight reflections of social events in the writings of the respective

times, and will set forth a metric, or rubric by which the social influence of events can be tracked

within directly related literature. These conclusions draw from the research in and around the

field of literary journalism, and will closely follow the findings of Dr. Thomas B. Connery,

expanding on three areas he sets forth: Disciplinary boundaries of literary journalism, Historical

perspective of the value of older literary journalism, and a review of the bulk of scholarly books

on the topic of literary journalism (Connery, 1995). Since his time, he and a handful of

researchers have followed the field—crossing into the new millennium—publishing occasional

answers to their own questions. At least one “straddle” article will be considered—work

published on the cusp on the new millennium—to isolate the energy that naturally attends the

turn of a century3, and to serve as a point of inflection for trend changes.

Referencing the first decade of this Millennium, a preponderance of scholarly work is

compiled to show a move toward writer education and training. However, preliminary inquiries

do not indicate an organized effort to raise literary journalism to any higher level than it currently

enjoys—a side note in English Composition, and brief mention in Journalism curriculums.

Finally, magazines are included to reveal the location of buried treasure. Harpers, The New

Yorker, Esquire and numerous and sundry periodicals are and have always been the receptacle of

the finest offerings of literary journalism; yet no effort is underway to catalogue, designate and

organize the fruits of the field (Connery 1995).

While clearly written to help the field of literary journalism by offering fresh perspectives

and new thinking, this study stands to reach out in other, unexpected ways to literarily journals,

and persons who cast their mind to the history of writing. Scholars who seek to understand social

reflections in literary journalism may also include economists, social scientists, writers,
3
Works by Cindy Royal and Brad Reagan, each published in 2000.
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marketers and sales executives due to its trend assessing value and forecasting potential. The

attention of other researchers in the field may domino to ignite a new fervor in classifying this

amorphous and unwieldy genre, and it is hoped that the leaving off point of this work will be the

start of many fruitful future inquires. The genre is its own best advocate, if in a small way the

work here contributes to more and better journalistic efforts which call the voice of the new

Millennium center-stage, even briefly, the work will have been well worth the while.

A curriculum or at least an authentic appendage to the English degree is forecast. The

literature supports educating new writers in the techniques of those few writers who have forged

social frameworks for interpreting the reality of modern events. The names in literary journalism

have left a legacy of techniques, talents and dedication to principles which reveal their metal as

socially vocal individuals; their work has blazed the rough markings of a new trail through the

tangled forest of unbridled information which often surrounds world events. If their course is to

be traced, widened and proven effective, this study will be but one cobblestone in the broad path

leading to transparent human communication.

Purpose: The Echo of Fact

This study strives to briefly outline the spectrum of literary journalism definitions, pin-

point cases where the genre has reflected major world events through the lens of a social voice in

the past century, compare these with creative nonfiction work in this century which appears to be

the reflection of world events, and to thereby define the voice that speaks for the new

millennium. Considering literary journalism as one of many optional delivery methods for a

story makes sense—for there certainly are other outlets to gain perspective on world and national
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events. When it comes to literary cultural expression however, there is no form more perfectly

suited to envelop the reader in a tapestry of the times than the archetypal personal essay,

narrative or first hand account. These sources are broad in swath, if narrow in stitch, effectively

showing there is no social event, effect, or even effort that cannot be tailored by the craft of the

literary journalist. Expanding the effectiveness of this distinct cultural voice will serve to slow

society’s entropic descent into sound-byte digestion of the events that define who we are.

Alongside creative non-fiction excerpts from both eras of the study, there will be an

interpretation of the overarching voice of both the latter half of the twentieth century, as well as

in our day. This component of the study will highlight reflections of social events in the writings

of the respective times, and will set forth a metric, or rubric, by which the social influence of

events can be tracked within directly related literature. These conclusions draw from the research

in and around the field of literary journalism, and will closely follow the findings of Dr. Thomas

B. Connery, expanding on three areas he sets forth: Disciplinary boundaries of literary

journalism, historical perspective of the value of older literary journalism, and a review of the

bulk of scholarly books on the topic of literary journalism (Connery, 1995). Since his time, he

and a handful of researchers have followed the field – crossing into the new millennium—

publishing occasional answers to their own questions. At least one straddle article will be

considered—one or more written on the cusp on the new millennium—to isolate the energy that

naturally attends the turn of a century, and to serve as a point of inflection for trend changes.4

With the fertile mind as my guide, I expect to chart the unusual course through post modern

history as it has been marked by the cairns of journalistic literary thought.

4
Works by Cindy Royal and Brad Reagan, each published in 2000.
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Research Questions: Fires in the Mist

Central Question:

Can the phenomenon of a "social voice" be discerned by a review of the literary


journalism that has appeared in close proximity to the major events of the past century? And if
so, can other sources be mined to produce a characterization of the voice for the relatively young,
but socially myriad, 21st century?

[Such a voice “spoke” for previous generations and charged eras of the 20th Century
through literary journalism. This past voice was formed by social reactions to
diverse and interconnected world events of war, social change and equality.]

Sub-questions:

Can analysis of literary journalism reveal a distinct voice in this young century?

How does technology play into the shape and volume of this voice?

Does the internet mute or amplify such a phenomenon?

Hypothesis:

A distinct social voice is not yet defined which encapsulates the impacting social events

of the 21st century. Through analysis of literary journalism of the 21st century a cultural voice

can be identified. There is an ‘internet effect’ component of this modern voice that was not part

of the identification of voices from past eras. This component is measurable due to the open

design of the internet. Therefore:

There is presently, a culturally expressive social voice separate and


distinct from that which defined past eras of change and reorganization;
that voice is intrinsically tied to the internet and can be identified by the
traces it leaves throughout the literary journalism of the 21st Century.
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Consent Between Reader and Writer: Ethics of the Literary Seduction

When I finally made up my mind to write and walked into my first real writing class, I

was asked to share my reason for being there. “I am a vagabond from another time,” I began, “I

write how things should be, when the real thing just isn’t that special.” I am grateful that was a

fiction class! I began a novel, loosely based on the adventures of my estranged older sister,

which grew to twelve chapters in a short time. Every one loved it—even my younger sister who

knows it is more than half bunk—because it is a great, believable story.

The ethical question arises: “What is the big deal?” If the theme and story line are true,

who cares if the details follow, strictly, the known realities? I took a trip to Tijuana many years

ago with a group of friends. We wanted a picture to remember the event, so we hired a street

vendor to snap a black and white of us gathered around a miniature zebra. I love that picture, and

have told the story of the miniature zebra many times. At some point someone noted that it was a

painted donkey. I debated, relented and accepted. Many years later I’m still unsure…my point is

that this particular inaccuracy does not change much. In fact, there is wholesomeness in

admitting that everything (including my memory) was not perfect.

As I pursue the core of my research topic I need to keep my eye on the “donkey.” I will

be critiquing the works of others, lodging time sensitive comparisons and working to forge a

persuasion that there is an identifiable trend moving in the under-researched field of literary

journalism. As the arguments are built, layer upon layer, I will require the reader to offer me

their trust—entering into an ethically bound covenant of honest disclosure. Grandiloquent

disguises, embellishments and literary seductions based only upon a yearning that my findings
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were more noteworthy will do a profound disservice to my topic, and will disable the audience

from giving truly “informed consent” to my theories. In a word, this would be a betrayal.

Early studies in this emerging field have the potential—even likelihood—to become

precedent. My commitment to the journalists, future researchers and readers is to show the facets

that I have seen for myself first, then quote and discuss the views others have had, and finally,

project, by designed analysis, where I think the genre is headed.

Over the course of recent millennia while rhetorical discipline and proven research have

danced like two colliding galaxies, mingling traits and blurring their boundaries. Within this

arena, ethical margins have played the role of gravitational referee; seeing that citation,

interpretation and license leave the core of each discipline intact: Rhetoric to persuade, convince

and assert and research to confer a pattern of responsibility therein. It will be a fascinating

exercise to abide by these precepts while identifying examples of writing that have defined the

method, meaning and personal authority of literary journalism.

Writers desire to attract others to their way of thinking, especially after significant effort

was been invested. According to one source “we want to believe that our opinions are sound, yet

mistaken ideas, even dangerous ones, flourish because too many people accept too many

opinions based on too little evidence.”5 Knowing this, a temptation may arise to abuse the

ignorance of others, by introducing unfounded thinking and pressing our agenda without the

rigor of research. This I will not do, lest I risk undermining the foundations of restraint and

release the intellectual equivalent of anarchy. The goal will remain higher than the mere

5
To spare confusion between the research citations in the next two sections and that used in the preceding quote, I
submit it here: Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Columb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed.
Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. E-Print. (Course Text)
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accumulation of praise; the body of knowledge to which I contribute is greater than the sum of

its donors—a few of whom I acknowledge in the following section.

Literature Abstracts: Reflections from the Pool

Abrahamson, David. "Repercussus Mirabilis: Literary Journalism and Technological

Possibility." Speech. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Miami. 20 Apr. 2010. Www.davidabrahamson.com. Web. 20 Apr. 2010.

<http://www.davidabrahamson.com/WWW/Articles/Lit-J_Technology.txt>.

Abstract:

The original text of a presentation given by the author to the annual conference of the

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. An authoritative—if

brief—definition for the genre of literary journalism is presented. The author sets in order

a non-arithmetic proportion that with the advent of a full blown online social

environment, as much good literary journalism is being produced as bad—there are

simply a deluge of both. Revision, as the key to achieving the pinnacle of the art, is

impressed through the examples of himself and Ron Rosenbaum. He as a word

processing compliant, the other (Rosenbaum) a die-hard typist. Abrahamson extols the

decoupling of project-length and associated cost by virtue of the paperless medium of the

internet. Defines the early 21st century as the new golden age of literary journalism, and

draws corollary to the 1960’s and 1970’s.


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Birkerts, Sven. "Reading in a Digital Age." TheAmericanScholar.org. Phi Beta Kappa Society,

Spring 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.theamericanscholar.org/reading-in-a-

digital-age/>.

Abstract:

This philosophy of mental perception study discusses the nature of reading

comprehension as it has been influenced by technology. A loose introduction to neuro-

psychology is followed by a complex proposal which likens the inner mind to a great

reality-based storyteller. Immersion in reading set forth as the window into this

storyteller’s domain. Personal reflections on mental intimacy set forth. Conclusion is

comprised of a warning about fundamental neural re-programming as the by-product of

internet reliance. Concentration is to be exercised in order to preserve the natural purpose

of the brain.

Bloom, Lynn Z. "Compression: When Less Says More." Pedagogy 4.2 (2004): 300-

304. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.

Abstract:

Article enhances the need to write qualitatively, not quantitatively for creative nonfiction.

Review of presentation techniques, insights and personal anecdotes from an instructor’s

viewpoint. Bloom cites the reader-response theory of Wolfgang Iser, concerning the

“unwritten” as stimulus for creative participation. Author offers six-point scheme used in
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crafting effective non-fiction. Author identifies the role of the student as an essential

insider in compressing his own work and that of others in peer review.

Chase, William M. "The Decline of the English Department." TheAmericanScholar.org. Phi Beta

Kappa Society, Autumn 2009. Web. 15 Apr. 2010.

<http://www.theamericanscholar.org/the-decline-of-the-english-department/>.

Abstract:

Statistics combine with opinion/case studies outlining several university undergraduate

English Department reductions in quality/content. Self-destructive trend identified among

English faculty alongside reductions. Downward spiral in Humanities major enrollment

figures presented as reason for above. Earnings Potential in English and Literature cited

as cause for spiral. Deductive argument details causes and reactions and concludes with

pleas to return to the known literature in order to preserve the methods of the literary

tradition. A call to re-open the classics in literature is floated.

Birkerts, Sven. "Reading in a Digital Age." TheAmericanScholar.org. Phi Beta Kappa Society,

Spring 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.theamericanscholar.org/reading-in-a-

digital-age/>.

Abstract:

Serving as the introduction to the larger work Sourcebook of American Literary

Journalism: Representative Writers in an Emerging Genre, the article is at once a


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proponent/advocate and investigating effort. Definition for the craft of literary journalism

is outlined in a historical context. Chronology of the genre is set forth. The balance

reduces to a dialogue describing, in the authors voice, the evolutionary course of literary

journalism. Major headings include: Patterns, Types, Names, Roots, Research, and an

extant list of Literary journalists complete with abstracts to their prominent works.

Connery, Thomas Bernard. "Discovering a Literary Form." Introduction. A Sourcebook of

American Literary Journalism: Representative Writers in an Emerging Genre. New

York: Greenwood, 1992. 1-27. Print.

Abstract:

Serving as the introduction to the larger work Sourcebook of American Literary

Journalism: Representative Writers in an Emerging Genre, the article is at once a

proponent/advocate and investigating effort. Definition for the craft of literary journalism

is outlined in a historical context. Chronology of the genre is set forth. The balance

reduces to a dialogue describing, in the authors voice, the evolutionary course of literary

journalism. Major headings include: Patterns, Types, Names, Roots, Research, and an

extant list of Literary journalists complete with abstracts to their prominent works.

Connery, Thomas B. “Research Review: Magazines and Literary Journalism, an Embarrassment

of Riches.” Electronic Journal of Communication (1994): Academic Search Premier.

EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.


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Abstract:

Citing numerous baseline sources for the literary journalism genre, Connery proposes that

the field is in dire need of research work. The premise is that there is a wealth of literary

journalism spread throughout periodicals, which has not been ordered, indexed or even

counted. Bounding the challenge is a charge to apply these samples to world and cultural

events to seek corollary and cause. Endnotes contain an extant listing of authoritative

studies in the field.

Durgee, Jeffrey F. “Using Creative Writing Techniques in Focus Groups.” Journal of

Advertising Research (1986): 57-65. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr.

2010.

Abstract:

This article reviews a number of studies which show the effectiveness of creative writing

as a developmental approach to advertising idea genesis. Cases are cited that immerse the

reader in the process vicariously, directly quoting the writing samples and explaining the

effective points of each. The paper emphasizes the importance of the “idiosyncratic

experiences” of the respondents rather than the “average” responses. The “soul” of a

product or service is offered as the ultimate finding of the technique.

Garret, George. "Creative Writing and American Publishing Now." Sewanee Review 100.4

(1992): 669-76. Print.


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Abstract:

A discussion of the current literature in literary journalism, both pro and con. Decries

tendency of genre to focus on writers not “writing.” Accurate insiders look at the

contemporary writing scene [1992], future predictions set forth. Dwindling ration of new

writers to posts available expressed. Literature reviews echo a need for more/better

literary journalism. Standards in the current market are reviewed. Advice to aspiring

writers given—along with warning of challenging prospects for success in the field.

Lewis, David, Dennis Rodgers, and Michael Woolcock. "The Fiction of Development: Literary

Representation as a Source of Authoritative Knowledge." Journal of Development

Studies 44.2 (2008): 198-216. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 16 Apr. 2010.

Abstract:

The article proposes a definition for “development knowledge” as a general term

representing social discussion, new thinking and analysis and then claims that fiction is a

necessary tool in the development of that knowledge. A challenge is issued against

convention in the areas of knowledge, narrative authority and representational form. The

core message draws from examples of literary fiction and shows the connections the

works provide which clarify given development topics. Fact and fiction are shown to

share at least some common traits, and arguments are place which question which form is

more advantageous to understanding a given issue.


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Mak, Geert. "Confrontation With Reality." Publishing Research Quarterly 14.2 (1998): 6.

Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.

Abstract:

Article ascribes reality as fundamental storyteller—particularly when employed in the

form of literary nonfiction. Opening excerpt from the execution of exotic dancer and

accused double agent, Mata Hari is the example used to illustrate the historical and

entertainment value of literary journalism. Highlighting international incidents and the

reaction of societies to them, Mak shows an indistinct world view of the acceptance of

the genre. Strong argument for the granting of nonfiction authors the equal status of

fiction writers offered. Reality, he concludes, “is the encounter that binds.”

Muggli, Mark Z. "The Poetics of Joan Didion's Journalism." American Literature 59.3 (1987):

402-21. Print.

Abstract:

A Persuasive declarative essay which defends literary journalism as produced by the

Author Joan Didion. Beginning with a brief introduction/overview of the works of

Didion, Muggli proceeds to the heart of an argument posed by critics of the genre that

Didion’s use of metonym and metaphor introduce more than appropriate journalistic

levels of inference and author projection. The arguments breaks down under the scrutiny

of case by case examples of Didion’s masterful use of the devices; blurring the need for
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fact when the focus of the work is of general classes of people and their predictable

tendencies. Emblem and symbol are defined and examples cited throughout recent works

and their use in literary journalism is supported. Conclusion cites need for “more

appreciation sophisticated poetics of factual literature.”

Reagan, Brad. "Details, Details." American Journalism Review 22.1 (2000): 50. Academic

Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.

Abstract:

Journalist’s how-to for literary journalism. Immersion reporting redefined. Article

balances early “new journalism” techniques with practical reporting guidance in the

modern electronic world. Successful reporters share their findings. Warnings about the

authenticity of sources resound. Piece leans toward Journalism as more exciting than

other genres.

Royal, Cindy. The Future of Literary Journalism on the Internet. Http://www.cindyroyal.com/.

Cindy Royal, 01 Apr. 2000. Web. 20 Apr. 2010.

<www.cindyroyal.com/litjour_croyal.doc>.

Abstract:

Spirited academic paper draws current thinking of internet influence on the genre of

literary journalism. Tom Wolfe used a point by point definition of creative nonfiction

works, and his work is broken into four distinct techniques. Royal uses clever
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comparisons to show the Wolfe footprint is applicable to the internet platform. Voice is

defined and described in terms of the choices by famous Literary Journalists (Capote,

Wolfe, Mailer, and Hemmingway), and conventions set forth in many sub-genres:

“Spectrumism”, humanism, dual narrative and even typesetting conventions are

categorized. Subjectivity vs. objectivity in reporting is contrasted with immersion

techniques. Blackhawk Down case study builds to conclusion recommending the Internet

as the platform for “Cyberbards” and storytellers of the future.

Spinner, Jenny. "When "Macaroni and Cheese Is Good" Enough: Revelation in Creative

Nonfiction." Pedagogy 4.2 (2004): 316-320. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3

Apr. 2010.

Abstract:

Article discusses approaches used in the instructional role. Concept of the “personal

revelation” is presented along with arguments for its inclusion in teaching and writing

literature. Passion is cited as offspring of revelation. Author makes claim that any subject

can incubate into an example of creative nonfiction.

Watson, E. H. Lacon. "XIV Developments in Modern Journalism." Lectures on Dead Authors,

and Other Essays. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1969. 142-49. Print.

Abstract:
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Article presents a skeleton of the body of a “modern” [1929] news outlet. Written from

the English perspective on the topic if effective journalism; the genre’s many formulae

are refreshed, and safe passage is outlined for the aspiring writer of news to follow. The

Charles Dickens standard is re-set. The piece stands extends the breakdown of the

educated news consumer from respectable citizen to the then modern-day gentry and

appropriate jabs are leveled which travel forward through time to our day. Conclusion

recommends that a specialist is needed to bring the true heart of a story, replete with

allusions to literary journalism.

Annotated Bibliography: Fundamental Immersion

Abrahamson, David. "Repercussus Mirabilis: Literary Journalism and Technological

Possibility." Speech. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Miami. 20 Apr. 2010. Www.davidabrahamson.com. Web. 20 Apr. 2010.

<http://www.davidabrahamson.com/WWW/Articles/Lit-J_Technology.txt>.

Dr. Abrahamson is very comfortable with all aspects of literary journalism, and his

appreciation and support for those who practice the art shines vividly through his words.

This talk provides two excellent definitions of the craft, along with some advice on form

—for those who would pursue it. His intimate knowledge with both greats and lesser

knowns in the field places this article as an index for connecting names in the field in

both the 20th and 21st centuries. Particularly, he asks and answers the question of what

influence the Internet will have upon literary journalism—a key component of my thesis.
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Birkerts, Sven. "Reading in a Digital Age." TheAmericanScholar.org. Phi Beta Kappa Society,

Spring 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.theamericanscholar.org/reading-in-a-

digital-age/>.

This piece speaks directly to the Internet effect on our brains. Connections are made

which define a concentration disorder and something called the “Google effect” – both of

which dovetail with my hypothesis that reductions in both supply and demand are

dumbing the literary journalism marketplace down. A layman’s science of

comprehension is set forth that may form the basis for some interview work as part of my

study on the shift in the market for literary journalism from past to present. A good

example of current thinking on literature absorption, which can be expanded to reflect an

effect upon conversations in the literary journalism market as well.

Bloom, Lynn Z. "Compression: When Less Says More." Pedagogy 4.2 (2004): 300-304.

Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.

Cozy and inviting, Ms. Bloom draws the reader to her parlor and sets a warm cup of tea

before them. Drawing upon her love for teaching, she sets her ideas out like a lesson

plan, but delivers them like a friend. Her belief in compression resounds with the current

trend to say more with less. I would cite this as a formative influence on the voice of

current creative nonfiction, correlating directly to maximum impact/minimum space

argument. Developing her message almost entirely on her experience of reducing her
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graphic twenty-one page description of her son’s traffic accident to 252 brilliantly potent

words, she delivers her point. Bloom then explicates the short piece highlighting the

“lean, muscular prose” she employs to do her “heavy lifting.” Capping her piece is a six-

point list of precepts designed to guide students through waves of expansion and

compression in their writing: Finding the “heart” of the story, key word/image

illumination, diversion/distraction identification, inference check, final cuts, and add

backs. As it appears in an education journal, it is valuable as a comparative tool to much

older definitions of the creative nonfiction genre.

Chase, William M. "The Decline of the English Department." TheAmericanScholar.org. Phi Beta

Kappa Society, Autumn 2009. Web. 15 Apr. 2010.

<http://www.theamericanscholar.org/the-decline-of-the-english-department/>.

This well-researched piece will be a cornerstone in my argument that there is a significant

drop in the volume of production in literary journalism. Mr. Chase manages to justify the

existence of the English Department despite a carefully reported decline in interest by

students. He reminds those who write that we must be true to our roots, and acknowledge

that the patience shown us, rigor asked of us and necessity fueling our ambitions can all

be traced to our undergraduate work in the English Department. HE carefully redefines

the “baby Boomer” generation through the excellent books they were directed to read-

books which now are no longer visible on campus reading lists. Chase argues that good

reading begets good writing –and warns that deviation from time honored traditions in

classic reading, guided writing instruction and the forging of appropriate intellectual
Quayle 23

connections between these and civilized society must result in a time of literary

wandering with out the proverbial compass.

Connery, Thomas Bernard. "Discovering A Literary Form." Introduction. A Sourcebook of

American Literary Journalism: Representative Writers in an Emerging Genre. New

York: Greenwood, 1992. 1-27. Print.

“True short stories,” Connery continues to be a present force in the shaping of

perspectives on literary journalism. In this introductory piece, the similarity to fiction in

form and reason is laid out in superb detail. Examples with connotations are referenced

along with current theory on shades of literary journalism. Two distinct traditions are

identified: Life and Human Behavior—immersion optional, and Long Term Immersion—

the technique of reporting a lot of surrounding accuracies to “show” the focus in a setting

of supporting context. Curiously, Connery leans toward the, more creative, first category

and adds a curious afterthought by naming the device “American”. This piece of data

alone may introduce a strictly American diversion section to this body of work. The piece

concludes by listing and briefly discussing a trove of articles dedicated to setting forth a

history—a pedigree—of the genre.

Connery, Thomas B. “Research Review: Magazines and Literary Journalism, an Embarrassment

of Riches.” Electronic Journal of Communication (1994): Academic Search Premier.

EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.


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A leading name in the area of literary journalism, Connery has laid out a barrage of the

finer points in the development of the genre. Written on the cusp of the internet explosion

the article provides a snapshot of where the craft has been, and how poorly it has been

researched. The theory that works of literary, or “prose” nonfiction, must be viewed in

light of the “media framework of [their] time,” draws this piece together with the Lewis,

and Mak (see entries) pieces here cited. Together an argument is inferred that the creative

facet of literary journalism is where the marker of history is to be found. My study will

define the term “social fiction” as it applies to the voice of such narratives. The article

concludes with a declaration that literary journalism is the cultural narrative of its

homeland, and cites other articles and essays to support this theme. Connery’s end notes

are a trove of the most recent (to 1994) thinking on this topic, and will be well used.

Durgee, Jeffrey F. “Using Creative Writing Techniques in Focus Groups.” Journal of

Advertising Research (1986): 57-65. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr.

2010.

Assigning human characteristics, such as personality, soul, hero/heroine, etc. to consumer

products, Jeffrey Durgee illuminates the high-pressure world of advertising research in

the mid-eighties. His study of a quantitative sampling of consumer creative writing

correlates to my analysis of definitive literary journalism by comparison. Currently,

advertising themes are so unrelated to product/service cores that often the product isn’t

even shown. Similarly, much modern creative journalism data is subject to highly varied

interpretation—a randomized effect. His work with random respondent descriptions may
Quayle 25

provide quantitative comparison between creative advertising and identification of the

modern voice of creative non-fiction. His analysis of Levi’s jeans is of particular note;

Durgee shows that unusual responses outweighed the standard responses in their

effectiveness to personalize the product. Some of the least related comments were of the

type that some future commercials were made, i.e. “a warm bath” may have translated

into the image slipping off your Levi’s. Durgee taps into a diverse perception among

respondent’s idiosyncratic experience of the products, incidentally illuminating an

alternate method by which modern creative nonfiction may be considered.

Garret, George. "Creative Writing and American Publishing Now." Sewanee Review 100.4

(1992): 669-76. Print.

George Garret presents a problem that can be solved. This short article is a toungue in

cheek complaint—with names. Boldly striking at personal peeves, the author paints the

future of literary journalism, if the present course is not altered. More a motivational

example for my expose, there are direct—if nervy—quotes and an abnundance of

resources listed in footnote form. Primary complaint is outlined as trend in literary

journalism focusing more on writers than writings. Conclusion is filled with odd

references for a literary journalist to peruse, including work reviewing the crafting of

fiction, poetry and a return to the comprehensive study of the English language.
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Lewis, David, Dennis Rodgers, and Michael Woolcock. "The Fiction of Development: Literary

Representation as a Source of Authoritative Knowledge." Journal of Development

Studies 44.2 (2008): 198-216. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 16 Apr. 2010.

Primarily a study of the influence fictional representations may have on knowledge

development; Lewis, et al, argue that the ground that lies between fact and fiction is

actually common to them both. Though it is a work of nonfiction (scholarly paper), it

carries the detail and emphasis of a work of literary journalism—with rolling similes and

sudden, effective metaphor. Crucial to bridging the gap between literary fiction and

literary journalism, the article establishes a framework for unifying the many different

shades of each. Long used as a delivery system for varieties of social understanding and

clarity, fiction is installed as a critical component to fully understanding any given

developmental issue—it is an interpretive tool to be used with nonfiction for full

comprehension. The study rings familiar with works by Mak and Manis (see entries).

Unique to this study is a list of recommended reading which is proposed to support the

thesis. The list is a curious tool that I may exploit as literary evidence to emphasize that

much change was afoot at the turn of the new millennium; for much of the list are new

(post 1990) works—and all address topics of our day.

Mak, Geert. "Confrontation With Reality." Publishing Research Quarterly 14.2 (1998): 6.

Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.


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Labeling literary nonfiction writing as the “grey zone,” Mak identifies the borderline

between literature and “something like journalism” as hazy and thin. This position places

him well within my study as a proponent of literary journalism as a voice of times.

Anchoring with a historical account of the execution on Mata Hari, he invites history to

the table of literary journalism. A European influence prevails as he indoctrinates his

audience on the power of language as the distinguisher between fact and fiction. The

article stands out as a lone example of international/multi-lingual correlation of the

efficacy of creative nonfiction used as source journalism. Some time is spent

acknowledging the nonfiction writer as an employer of any/all literary techniques.

Clearly a purist, he writes under the palpable gaze of fact, extolling source as the “holy

grail” of creative nonfiction.

Muggli, Mark Z. "The Poetics of Joan Didion's Journalism." American Literature 59.3 (1987):

402-21. Print.

As articles go, this one is hefty. At thirty-odd pages (without notes), there is ample

review needed to truly encapsulated the work presented. Suffice it to say, Mark Muggli

would install Joan Didion at the top of the literary journalism heap. His personal affection

for her work is driving each page and he covers his bet well. Narrowly dividing the

literary “expressors” symbol and emblem, he tries to dissect the ghost line that divided

fact from fiction in interpretive expression of true events. By explicating work after work

he builds a case for the admission of personal flavor in the genre—and even identifies

where some have crossed the line. Certainly, Muggli has gone furthest to circumscribe
Quayle 28

the gray areas of literary journalism, and by doing so with the work of one author has set

a precedent. This work will become crucial to identifying voice in the 21st Century due to

its careful analysis of the writers use and freedom within the devices of emblem and

symbol.

Reagan, Brad. "Details, Details." American Journalism Review 22.1 (2000): 50. Academic

Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.

The how-to of compelling literary journalism, Details, Details tries to capture the silken

threads, which sustain the well-written story—but it does not. Brad Reagan instead

marches a series of successful literary journalists before us, focusing not on their talent,

but on their own unique management of the same facts everyone else has. Anne Hull (St.

Petersburg Times) uses index cards that will later be re-arranged to find a successful

combination of chronology and fact. Gary Pommerantz (Atlanta Journal/Constitution),

upon receiving a plane crash assignment, reported directly to a mechanic who showed

him an identical plane from which he drew real setting and lifelike texture. Reagan builds

a case for connections, as they reveal the deeper, softer underbelly of the story. Five

bullet points are offered freely to anyone who feels they have the knack. He speaks of

“working the source” citing rapport, schmooze, and relentless digging as infrequently

successful compared to patience and genuine interest in people. The luxury of time

distinguishes the literary journalist from the rank and file reporter, but once good habits

are formed, sparkling prose can become second nature. A hybrid literary journalist is
Quayle 29

described in this piece, which may prove exceptional to my other findings that imply the

voice of this millennium is the product of events rather than reporters.

Royal, Cindy. The Future of Literary Journalism on the Internet. Http://www.cindyroyal.com/.

Cindy Royal, 01 Apr. 2000. Web. 20 Apr. 2010.

www.cindyroyal.com/litjour_croyal.doc>.

With a few a few strokes of the brush, Ms. Royal’s extensive paper could easily assume

my thesis. Luckily, it is nearly exactly 10 years old and thus ripe for revisiting. She has

set numerous precedents for objectively considering the effect of the internet on literary

journalism as a genre. Now that we are in the future she posted, her work will be of

particular value in setting forth the perceptions of the next ten years-which, in internet

fast forward may be consumed in the next couple of years. She Coins the Phrase

“journalit”, and leads the reader through an extensive genre definition masterfully. Hip

and ‘clicky’ with internet terms her work is valuable as a possible bridge between

established English language instruction and a younger, savvy generation of so-named

liberal artists. Royal treats subjectivity and immersion in the context of the “now” world

of instant access to the world, showing the time travel effect of advancing faster in less

time that before the turn of the 21st Century. A critical study for parleying the reality of

the past into the framework of the future of literary journalism—the ‘internext’
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Spinner, Jenny. "When "Macaroni and Cheese Is Good" Enough: Revelation in Creative

Nonfiction." Pedagogy 4.2 (2004): 316-320. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3

Apr. 2010.

The details of her journey from trivial topics to juicier stories are Jenny Spinner’s

instruments. Espousing deeper digging, she reminds the reader how thin the surface

really is. Personal presence is prerequisite to existence in writing creative nonfiction, but

she warns of compulsive disclosure. This is a rare, direct correlation to what I refer to as

the “voice of the new millennium”. What may play out as the divorce effect, 9-11 effect,

or Gulf War and Desert Storm effect on writing in this century is tangible here. Control in

the issuance of the freedom of self asserts the writer in his/her role as guide to the reader.

From scowling students to Virginia Woolf, she explores and celebrates the breadth of the

creative nonfiction genre. She casts her lot in with older essayists citing Geoffrey Wolffs

adage, “the fruit of ripened experiences…brings…realism,” as both certain and

disenchanting. This suggests the genre of the personal essay is better suited to a middle-

aged audience and speaks directly to what I will describe as the “loss of age” in current

creative non-fiction. Whether wrong or right, significant or trivial, Spinner concludes

with the necessity of artistic distance to properly treat a very personal subject—and this is

the voice I seek to isolate and verify, that the modern essayist/literary journalist disguises

him/herself to cut ties to their work leaving dead ends for the readers intuition concerning

authenticity in authorship.
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Watson, E. H. Lacon. "XIV Developments in Modern Journalism." Lectures on Dead Authors,

and Other Essays. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat, 1969. 142-49. Print.

Intelligent and witty, this article represents thinking which is appropriate in its time

[1929] and today on the subject of audience receptivity of literary journalism. Watson

berates the schools of his day for turning out persons barely capable of grasping basic

intelligible thought, never mind complex and articulated reasoning. Written just prior to

the Great Depression, he captures a primary instance of writers accepting that journalism

might be spiraling toward short, blunt, depthless ‘imprintation.’ His foresight was eerily

accurate, and still applicable to writers who desire to weather the world of journalism.

Pertinent to my study—which by necessity, may expand to include pre-20th Century

sampling—is his observation of the relatively rapid (30-40 years) of intellectually

stimulating journalism. His views are set within the framework of divisions found within

the ordinary news pressroom: managers, editors, typesetters and the writers. Elegant in

phraseology and rife with wit, Lacon Watson argues for change even as the powers of

status-quo publishing are gathering thick around him.