Thursday, Oct 1 | 1:10-2:15 pm
LITERARY JOURNALISM | Room 210 (Instrumental Hall)
By Any Other Name: Literary Journalism Meets the Anthropocene
In his 2015 encyclical, Pope Francis has issued a call to global action, asking what sort of world we want to leave for future generations.
Read the comments section of any article on “climate change” and note expressions of fatigue and outright denial. Substitute a word that expands the range of discourse, some suggest. Call it the Anthropocene, the human age, an epoch dominated by the impact of human activity on the geographic record.
Humans are not passive observers of Earth’s function. “To a large extent,” Lewis and Maslin (2015) suggest, “the future of the only place where life is known to exist is being determined by the actions of humans.”
Creative writers have always tried to understand our world through story: creation narratives; historical, dystopian, and science fiction, often based on breaking news. The golden spike—the event or date chosen as the inception of the Anthropocene — may matter less, Lewis and Maslin suggest, than the way a new word will “affect the stories people construct about the ongoing development of human societies.”
Increasingly, literary journalists engage readers in thrilling reportage, immersive experience, and reconstructive journalism. This paper will examine several works of literary reportage on the Anthropocene, some still warm from the press. It will suggest ways in which creative writers and scientists might collaborate, and will identify opportunities for further exploration — as we, Christians and non-Christians alike, answer the Pope’s call to action.
Loranne Brown, MFA: Loranne's first novel, The Handless Maiden, was published by Doubleday Canada and was shortlisted for a number of awards. Loranne teaches Professional Writing in the Department of Media + Communications at TWU and was honoured to receive The Provost’s Award for Innovative Teaching 2015.
Idealist Journalist as Realist Artist: Responsibility in Collection, Collation, and Reportage on Environmental Issues
Environmental issues pervade the reportage for the general public, academics, and the Christian world. Reporters remain intermediaries between the real world, media, and academic/public consumption of information. Journalists report on the world similar to artists. Artists illustrate externally or internally constructed perspectives. An ideal journalist would delineate reality with immutable accuracy. Ideal journalists do not exist, but most do great work. In journalism, a perfect correspondence between reality and its representation creates the ideal journalist or realist artist. Realism means accurate accounts of conditions, events, and people in life, and facts, principles, and organizations behind them. Facts correspond to reality, but reportage might not reflect reality. This emerges in the context of inaccurate environmental reportage. Most information and arguments present the clarity of environmental degradation over time. An ideal journalist would summarily collect, collate, and report the general findings of the scientific community – like a realist artist. An ideal journalist necessitates ethical constraints with inclusion of honest collection, collation, and reportage. Reportage without obfuscation, conflicts of interest, or other immoral behavior linked to universal ethical standards set forth in collectives, periodicals, cities, provinces, territories, nations, international consensuses, or immanent, transcendent and, therefore, objective sources of ethics. Most of the world opposes the premise of the Christian argument for the imminent transcendent source of morality because of zero or a la carte affiliation with religion. Although, others concur with an explicit, separate source of objective morality including Judaism and Islam. Our shared environment requires as close an approximation of an ideal journalist to solve the problems of environmental degradation. People need good information to make informed decisions for themselves, and their families, communities, and descendants. A novel perspective of journalists as artists might clarify this environmental responsibility to the general welfare of the academic and public worlds.
Scott Jacobsen presents independent research in addition to work with research groups. University of California, Irvine awarded him the Francisco Ayala Scholar award. He co-authored/authored The Dr. Jonathan Wai Interview (2015), The Rick G. Rosner Interview (2015), An Introduction to Informational Cosmology (2015), KPU Psychology Insights Instructor & Alumni Interviews (2015), and Rick G. Rosner: Collected Journal Writings (1991-2014) (2015). He has published articles in The Peak, The Ubyssey, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and Noesis: The Journal of the Mega Society. He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. He competes in and works for Model United Nations (MUN). You can email Scott at Scott.D.Jacobsen@gmail.com.