Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Journalists Have a Lot to Teach Other Writers . . .

Back in January, I published a post called, Investigative Journalists Are Storytellers, Too…

Here’s an excerpt:

What is an Investigative Journalist?

One set of broad identifiers is on the JournalismFund.EU site:

  • Important subject – only a question of importance for the common good can motivate the amount of effort and resources, that very well may have to be invested in the research as well as the criticism uttered in the publication.
  • Own initiative – journalists/editors decide, what is important.
  • Own research – the reporter gathers information and documents, sometimes in spite of tough resistance.
  • Own analysis – the information gathered and the documents are evaluated. An expert can assist in the analysis, but publication does not depend on what someone says.
  • Exclusivity – the public learns important information, that else would not have been in the open.

Most of what those guidelines indicate could work quite well for essayists, memoirists, novelists, and other writers

That past post featured Jenny Kleeman; and, today, I’ll point you toward the work of two other journalists.

First is Christina Patterson, a columnist (which is a type of journalist) and broadcaster.

Christina Patterson

Christina Patterson

When wondering what a columnist could teach other writers it would be valuable to look at Christina’s About Page — here’s a short excerpt:

“After reading English at Durham, and doing an MA in ‘The Novel’ (with Malcolm Bradbury, Angela Carter and Lorna Sage) at the University of East Anglia, she worked in publishing before moving to the Southbank Centre to organise and present literary events. Writers who took part in the programme ranged from Gore Vidal, Susan Sontag, Salman Rushdie and Umberto Eco to poets hardly anyone had ever heard of.”

Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day

Then, there’s Elizabeth Day—a journalist who’s the author of four novels…

Here are a few comments about her writing from reviewers:

“An acutely observed and insightful portrait of contemporary urban life. Audacious, funny and shrewdly telling – written with tremendous confidence and brio”
— William Boyd, Paradise City

“Day is an empathic observer. She is meticulous in teasing and dissecting each sensation”
— Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

“A moving, terrifyingly real account of how love can be bent out of all recognisable shape”
— The Observer — Scissors, Paper, Stone

The reason I know about these three journalists (writers) is that they all appear regularly on the Sky News segment, Press Preview.

They have all kinds of folks on Press Preview, some quite obnoxious; and, the format is the broadcast presenter leading two people in a discussion of the latest news stories.

The three journalists I’ve featured immediately grabbed my attention—they made sense, they spoke in complete sentences, and they actually gave Considered opinions.


If you’re a writer and you need a fresh approach to what writing is all about, do consider studying a few journalists, even if all they’re doing is talking
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2 responses to “Journalists Have a Lot to Teach Other Writers . . .

  1. Pingback: More about Journalists; Because, sometimes, They’re the Most Important Writers We Have… | Notes from An Alien

  2. Pingback: Ever Heard of Literary Journalism…? | Notes from An Alien

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