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FACULTY : ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT : LINGUISTICS, LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE
UNIT CODE: ALI 805
UNIT TITLE: LITERATURE AND JOURNALISM
TASK: Difference between Literature and Journalism
PRESENTED BY: JULIE E. OGONYA
REG. NO.: PG/MA/063/2009
PRESENTED TO: DR, KITCHE MAGAK
DATE: NOVEMBER, 2009.
Literature and journalism are two genres that are interrelated and intertwined because literature borrows heavily from journalism and journalism borrows heavily from literature as well. Sometimes it gets problematic distinguishing literature from journalism, more so with the emergence of narrative journalism. According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, literature refers to pieces of writing that are valued as works of art, especially novels, plays and poems (in contrast to technical books and newspapers, magazines, etc.). The same dictionary defines journalism as the work of collecting and writing news stories for newspapers, magazines, radio or television. In this paper, an attempt is going to be made to show the differences between literature and journalism.
Differences between Literature and Journalism
The difference between literature and journalism can be seen from the definitions of the two genres where literature is defined as “pieces of writing that are valued as works of art”. Art refers to “the use of imagination to express ideas or feelings” (Hornby, 2005). The key word is imagination. This means that in literature, language is used creatively with a lot of imagination in expressing ideas. Literature has been described as a mirror of the society and it reflects the happenings in that society. The reflections more often than not depend on the type of the mirror, whether concave or convex. Consequently, literature can distort reality. Journalism, “the work of collecting and writing news stories for newspapers, magazines, radio or television”, on the other hand, is a picture of the society. What we see is what we get since journalism is reportage. Mikkel Hivid has provided some guidelines on the difference between journalism and literature. In this paper most of the differences used will be from a paper he presented entitled Fiction, Facts and Storytelling and Roy Peter Clarke’s essay : Between Fact and Fiction: Navigating Treacherorous Waters. First, Hvid says that “the difference between literature and journalism is characterized by more than just the difference between fact and fiction. The two genres have different expressions, different criteria for the truth and relevance and different priorities. Journalism must be true but writers of fiction are allowed to lie”. In literature, the diction is characterized by the use of literary techniques like imagery, personification, irony, juxtaposition, sarcasm, similes and so on. These are used to make the message being communicated to be brought out more effectively. The language or expressions used will depend on the writer’s attitude towards the subject with which he will attempt to influence the reader; if he hates the subject, he will be sarcastic and the words he uses will be sarcastic or derogatory. This unflattering choice of words is likely to influence the reader to develop a negative attitude towards a subject too. For example, in Achebe’s book The Trouble with Nigeria, he is strongly convinced that the main problem with the country is...
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