Who is this Unnamed “Visitor”?

| | Comments (1)

According to “English Essay vs. New Story”: “Traditional journalists stay out of the story.  No ‘I’ or ‘me,’ and no ‘this reporter,’ either.”  However, in Gorney’s article (featured in Clark and Scanlon), twice she made references to the fact that Geisel was visited by someone.  Gorney writes, “His visitor, reading slowly…” (173) and “Well now, demands his visitor” (174).  It’s more than likely that this “visitor” is in fact Gorney herself.  As was mentioned in class the other day and as quoted above, a journalist must never make reference to themselves or their opinions on any matter.  There is no “I” allowed from the writer.  However, in this article Gorney cleverly tries to get around this fact by phrasing it as “a visitor.”  Is this actually acceptable?  Is this ok to do when one is writing a profile?  Is this ok to do at any time?  It seems kind of deceptive to me. 

Return to the homepage. 

1 Comments

Yes, this is standard practice for journalism. The reporter is recording a single personal encounter with a subject, and can't fairly say this is exactly what the subject would say to everyone, or what the subject does every day.

At any rate, the rules for feature stories are looser. If you were writing a hard news story, you would not say "Well, now, demands his visitor" -- that's too cutesy. You might, if you describe a news scene, write "Protesters physically blocked a reporter from entering the building" or something like that.

In celebrity columns or talk shows, where the interviewer is arguably as famous as or has as many fans as the interviewees, then the rules are even looser. People who watch Oprah probably would be interested in seeing Oprah sample a famous chef's recipe, or whatever, but she is producing entertainment first, not hard news. (She does come from a TV news background, and does know how to do a tough interview when she wants to, but most of what she does is driven by her own personality. Lots of reporters would love to be where she is, but in the meantime, it's considered bad form to upstage the people you're writing about.)

Leave a comment


Type the characters you see in the picture above.

 
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux