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Longform Journalism vs Creative Writing – Two Sides of a Coin in an Evolving Media

By Moses Okocha Journalism in the 21st century has been conceived differently by different individuals. While some see it as…

By Moses Okocha

Journalism in the 21st century has been conceived differently by different individuals. While some see it as a short writing or report, some others have conceived it as one that has little or no element(s) of creativity in it.

Which ever way Journalism has been conceived, it is sacrosanct to note that there is a converging point between Journalism and creative writing; that is, Journalism goes beyond just short stories and report. 

This school of thought expresses this as LONGFORM JOURNALISM.

At LightRay Media Training, the converging point between Longform Journalism and Creative writing was explored and discussed between the convener Ejiro “Lady E” Umukoro (Multi Award Winning Investigative journalist and Youth/Children Advocate) with over 130 participants at the event.

The Convener Ejiro Umukoro, began the session with an exposition of two sample writings (Samples 1&2) to explore and reveal the elements of Creative writing and Journalism.

Participants like Collins Odigie, Menoveg and Vee amongst others, having examined the two Samples, gave their views about the Samples.

According to Collins, the Sample 1 a report, is straight to the point, with no form of imagery created in the mind of the reader. The sample 2 on the other hand – a creative writing piece, makes use of imagery with well structured literary devices that makes everything look real.

Vee who also made some observations, said Sample 1, just like a news report, makes use of inverted pyramid whereby the most important part of a story is played up while the body is built around other details. 

“In the media parlance, especially in the broadcast industry, it is often said that content is king. However, from my experience as a broadcaster, journalist, speaker and writer, I have come to know that Context Is Queen” –  (Lady E, 2005).

As such, there is no story without context; without a story, there is no creative writing and no Journalism. This simply means that there’s an interwoven relationship that exists between Creative writing and Journalism. This cobweb-like relationship helps to bring life to information, truths and facts which are used in Journalism. In other words, both creative writing and Journalism makes use of the art of storytelling to give life to a given point of view, facts and information.

The Convener Umukoro, also went further to State that a creative writer has the license to imagine, concoct, create and write stories, while a journalist on the other hand cannot do the same. This is where the Ethics of journalism which includes objectivity, accuracy, truthfulness, fairness amongst others comes to play – making it impossible for a journalist to imagine or make up story. Journalism relies on facts, truths, anecdotes.

The meeting point between Journalism and creative writing is that both makes use of the art of creativity in writing.  She explained that her forthcoming book, Distortion, takes us into the life of an investigative writer who uses real life stories to tell a mental health crime fiction to make the discuss on child’s rights and GBV become mainstream in how it is perceived and the narratives constructed differently.

Ejiro Umukoro, also stressed that one (Journalism), is more factual than the other (Creative Writing).

She also examined the genres of Journalism that makes use of the Creative and literary tools 

Theses includes :

-Creative non-fiction Longform

-Narrative Journalism

-Feature Journalism

-Documentary Journalism.

Umukoro, concluded by advising the participants to choose a form or style before writing that will make a story matter and create the impact needed.

This story was first published on 8th October 2020.


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