Navigating the access swell, the independence shoals and the siren song of narrative: a comparison of the work of Bob Woodward, Mark Danner and Wikileaks

Matthew RICKETSON

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Among the various thorny issues raised in researching and writing narrative nonfiction, the writer-source relationship and the balancing of narrative style with factual fidelity are two important ones. The stakes are raised for writers examining politics and war. The article explores these issues through discussion of two journalist-authors (Woodward and Danner) and an organisation (WikiLeaks) whose works illustrate different approaches. Each has something substantial to offer readers but each of their approaches raises different difficulties for both writer and reader. Access to important political actors can be undermined by restrictions on what can be written about them but distance from political actors may hinder the writer’s ability to understand events and issues in their complexity. At the same time, for political events to be comprehensible and appealing to the average reader, accounts of them may benefit from being constructed in a narrative style, which in turn raises issues about the kind of narrative approach to be taken by the writer.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalText
    VolumeSpecial
    Issue number18
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    Cite this

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    abstract = "Among the various thorny issues raised in researching and writing narrative nonfiction, the writer-source relationship and the balancing of narrative style with factual fidelity are two important ones. The stakes are raised for writers examining politics and war. The article explores these issues through discussion of two journalist-authors (Woodward and Danner) and an organisation (WikiLeaks) whose works illustrate different approaches. Each has something substantial to offer readers but each of their approaches raises different difficulties for both writer and reader. Access to important political actors can be undermined by restrictions on what can be written about them but distance from political actors may hinder the writer’s ability to understand events and issues in their complexity. At the same time, for political events to be comprehensible and appealing to the average reader, accounts of them may benefit from being constructed in a narrative style, which in turn raises issues about the kind of narrative approach to be taken by the writer.",
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    Navigating the access swell, the independence shoals and the siren song of narrative: a comparison of the work of Bob Woodward, Mark Danner and Wikileaks. / RICKETSON, Matthew.

    In: Text, Vol. Special, No. 18, 2013, p. 1-13.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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