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JRN 309A - Narrative Journalism: JO 309A Home

Knowing how to search for information is the first step in non-fiction narrative writing. Possessing the skills needed to search for primary source information is critical. Below are links to sites that can provide you with that type of data.

Narrative journalism's masters talk about their craft

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Why do you need this guide?


Show don't tell. That's the mantra of narrative writers and that's what you need to learn. Details are what make effecctive non-fiction narrative stories work - the color of a wall, the sound of a bell, the exact age and size of a building. The minute details are what you will need to find for your JRN 309 stories.

Take into consideration all the details David Finkel incorporated into this passage from "The Good Soldiers".


Every once in a while, a day would feel good in Iraq, and Sept. 22, 2007, seemed one of those days. The temperature was under 100 degrees. The sky was a dustless blue. The air stunk of neither sewage nor burning trash. The only smell was the chemical bouquet wafting from some portable latrines near where Petraeus paused to shake hands with a few soldiers before he walked into the little building, climbed a stairway cracked from explosions and sat in a high-backed chair that had been wiped to a shine.



In addition to honing your writing skills, this class will teach you how to search for information. Such a search is far more complicated than simply incorporating material found on popular news sites. Instead, you'll be instructed on how to drill down to the original source of data and verify all information you incorporate into your narrative writing. You will use a host of sources to gather that material - databases of historic newspapers, digital repositories, government websites and more.

The columns to the right of the page will provide you with RSS feeds of some of the examples of great narrative non-fiction and writing tips from the Nieman Foundation and the Poynter Institute. The links at right provide you the full text of interviews with some of narrative journalism's giants.

The tabs on the top of the page will provide you with access to lists of links in a variety of different areas. If you come across a great data source, we'd love to hear about it. Use the box below to sumbit suggest sites to add to this guide.


Questions? Contact Trish McPherson

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Trish McPherson
Library Room 109-B

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