Career Advice

Dec 02, 2016

What’s The Difference Between Journalism And Creative Writing? | FAQs

Whether you enjoy reading the news or getting lost in a work of fiction, there’s something to love about both journalism and creative writing. There are also a number of similarities between them: Both are mediums of writing stemming from a writer and his/ her stream of consciousness, for the reception of a more or less active audience.

But what are the key differences between journalism and creative writing?

As Andre Wiesner, Head Tutor of the  UCT Feature Journalism online short course , points out in this short video, the difference between journalism and creative writing goes beyond the fiction versus non-fiction distinction.

Looking for an industry that bridges the gap between journalism and creative writing?

Consider feature writing, or “creative journalism”, and get ahead with the UCT Feature Journalism online short course .

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Transcription There are several major differences between journalism and creative writing; at the same time, there can also be major overlaps between them. One of the key differences is that creative writing is usually understood to mean the writing of fictional novels. By contrast, journalism is centred on reportage – reporting on actual people and events. As a journalist, you don’t, or shouldn’t, make things up; as a fictional novelist, inventing alternative versions of reality is essential to the art. Another difference is that creative writing is usually about your self-expression, in one way or another. By contrast, journalism is other-directed – concerned with other people’s views, perspectives and lived realities. There are also overlaps. There are such things as creative nonfiction, narrative journalism, and indeed feature journalism. In these forms of writing, basically speaking, the content you work with is factual – but the way in which you write it (the form) is literary and creative. In other words, you use the tools of “fictional” creative writing to tell accurate, true-life narratives.

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The meeting point between Journalism and creative writing

writing

By Moses Okocha

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

Whichever 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 Umukoro (Award-Winning Investigative journalist and Youth/Children Advocate) with over 100 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, Sample 1 being a report, is straight to the point, with no form of imagery created in the mind of the reader. Sample 2 on the other hand – a creative writing piece, makes use of imagery with well structured literary devices that make 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 a story. Journalism relies on facts, truths, anecdotes.

The meeting point between Journalism and creative writing is that both make use of the art of creativity in writing.

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

These 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.

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Truth And Creativity: Journalism Vs. Creative Writing

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/?p=379384

Journalism and creative writing are two opposite ends of the literary rope. Their difference is grounded on the fact that journalism relies heavily on the truth, facts, current events, and knowledge. Creative writing, on the other hand, comprises much on art, fiction, and imagination. This is why these two ends don’t meet.

I am a writer. Although I haven’t exactly labeled myself in any specific genre yet, I consider myself a writer. Apart from publishing my novellas on Wattpad and posting free-verse poetry on my blog, I am also a student of Journalism in college and was once a campus journalist for the university publication. As an aspiring novelist and a student of Journalism, I have gained keen insights on the major differences between writing journalistically and writing creatively.

Let’s focus on journalism first. News articles, feature stories in magazines, sports news, and many others found in broadsheets and tabloids belong to journalism. In this side of writing, the writer must gather credible sources to write informational truth behind current issues. The issues should contain reliable facts that tell the masses any ongoing circumstance or situations happening in the community, country, and the world. It’s typical news. It should be informative, honest, and un-biased.

Now let’s turn our heads to creative writing. Poems, novels, plays, and short stories are all under this category. Creative writing allows the writer to delve deeper into his imagination to bring out the story that he desires to write about. In creative writing, the writer uses words to paint pictures and create worlds, situations, and characters that are fictitious but related to life. Creative writers usually incorporate the art of literature into their works.

In the history of written works, journalism was first conceived during the 1400s in Italy and Germany. That was the time when people started chronicling daily events to disseminate the information in their town. It was popularized throughout Europe in the 1600s when the printing press was invented. By the dawn of the 20th century, journalism spread worldwide and became a profession.

Looking back in the ages past, creative writing already existed way before the term was coined. Our ancestors already practiced this form of literature in the early days of human civilization. Even before language was invented, creative writing already existed. The proof stems on the carvings of ancient caves – paintings and symbols that tell lores of life. Poetry existed long before the existence of Christ. Tales of myth and legend were inscribed on primeval papyrus. Folk tales, fairy tales, ballads, and epics — these are the earliest forms of creative writing that serve inspiration to modern novels, short stories, and plays.

In the context of profession, journalists and creative writers are barred from each other. Their writing styles are far from similar. Based on my experience as a campus journalist, whenever I write a news article, it has to be concrete, understandable, and straightforward. My editor would always advise me to choose words that are easy to comprehend by the readers. Moreover, ideas are rarely used freely since a journalist has to rely solely on facts (except for opinion articles). It’s like writing something that isn’t yours. If you’re a journalist, you are the medium of information. Not to mention, the space on the newspaper or magazine is sometimes limited, so you have to be cautious in using concise words. Additionally, once you’re a journalist, you need to update yourself about any gist of the trending issues or the juicy news. How else can you write informatively to your readers if you don’t know what the news is about?

In creative writing, I always find freedom in exploring my mind and expressing my thoughts. Whenever I discover new ideas, I always find the time to write them down. Eventually, they will evolve into a story. Creative writing relies mostly on self-expression. It gives you the chance to write your testimony of everything around you. It is limitless, entertaining, and sometimes informational (some novels are based on facts but they are still considered fiction since the writer has added his personal ideas into them, thus taking part in the novel’s creation). If you’re a creative writer, you can use a multitude of words as long as they all create the art that magnifies your story. Furthermore, creative writing takes you to places you’ve never known existed, acquaints you to characters more interesting than anyone you know in real life, and introduces you to devices more extraordinary than the tools used in this world. The fiction you create comes from your head. Isn’t it amazing that creativity allows this?

Angelo Lorenzo

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Creative writing vs. journalism.

When we discuss creative writing and journalism, people often think they are completely separate styles of writing. People do not think the two styles of writing have similarities, which for the most part this is true. Creative writing is used when we are writing fiction, while journalistic writing describes news stories and real events. However, professional writers should not just be good at either one or the other. A professional writer should be comfortable writing both from a journalistic standpoint and a creative writing standpoint. Why might you ask? Why should you be good at writing creatively if you are a journalist and why should you be good at writing journalistic works if you are only a fiction writer?

The Two Are Not So Different

While on the surface level the two styles of writing seem to have nothing to do with each other, this is a falsely assumed notion. When you are writing as a journalist, while you are writing fact, you also need to include creative elements to your story. Now we are not referring to making anything up, but we are referring to story and sentence structure. When you are writing a journalistic piece, it is important to hook a reader and have them maintain a constant interest throughout the story. Again, this does not mean making things up to make the story seem more interesting, but it does mean how the story flows in a manner that not only makes sense, but also captivates the reader. Both creative writers and journalists write stories . A journalist writes fact and a creative writer writes fiction, but all stories share a key element. That key element is the natural flow of the story. That also includes a hook and a plot that creates a cohesiveness that your reader can follow. This concept takes creativity, so in a way if you are writing a journalistic story, you need to understand how to creatively tell that story.

For example, let's take a look at 60 Minutes. 60 Minutes is a journalism driven show that portrays stories and in a fantastically creative way.The journalists on 60 Minutes do not simply interview someone for the entire show. What they do is they dive deep into the story, putting themselves into the field to show you exactly what is happening with an interview tied in to explain the event from a different perspective. The coordinators of the show specifically do this in a creative way to attract audiences.

Now, while we are talking about writing and not broadcasting, this example carries over just as well as any other. Take a look at autobiographies, everything in an autobiography is nonfiction, journalistic work. However, the author tells you their story in a creative way in order for you to not only follow, but enjoy what you are reading and yet still learn something.

creative writing vs journalism

From a creative writer’s perspective, journalistic writing might feel out of your wheelhouse. However, it is not that far off from what you are already good at. A creative writer already understands how to creatively portray a storyline. This is a concept that some journalists have a hard time with. Some creative writers make up stories purely from their imagination, but some creative writers also base their story on their real life experiences. Journalism is simply a creative way of portraying real life , timely events that have occurred. With basic training in the field, a creative writer will theoretically have all of the elements that they would need to write a story based on what they have witnessed and gathered in the field. This act is not all that different from forming a story in your head. The difference is simply writing what you see versus what you come up with. Then, you would just write the story based on what you saw. Like mentioned prior, both journalists and creative writers write stories.

All stories have a hook, a plot, and a conclusion. It is important for creative writers to also understand that not everything has to come from one’s imagination. Real life events can also have an impact on your writing. While for journalists this is all they write about, creative writers need to have this skill in their wheelhouse as well to be the best writer they can possibly be. A true professional writer should understand this phenomenon and be comfortable doing both journalistic and creative writing work.

Career Opportunities

You may only want to be an author or you may only want to be a journalist, but sometimes life throws some curveballs at you and it can be hard to do one or the other. Having the capability of writing both journalistic and creative writing works will benefit your career tremendously. How many times have you seen a journalist release a book? It happens all too often. Being a jack-of-all-trades is something not only writers should look to achieve, it is something everybody should strive to become.

Now that you understand how similar the two styles of writing are, it is not impossible to do both. Why limit yourself to be one or the other when you can do both? If you only wanted to be a creative writer, it would be great for you to write amazing fiction novels that fly off the shelves and possibly even land a movie deal of some kind. However, it is extremely hard to do, not everyone can be JK Rowling. It would also be great to be a journalist that skyrockets to the top early on and become an anchor for a big-time network, but again it is extremely hard to do. Having the ability to write creatively and journalistically opens all kinds of doors for your career.

creative writing vs journalism

If you decide to take on this challenge and strive to be a jack-of-all-trades, it is still important to pick a focus. Much like how when you go to college, you have to decide on a major and a minor, the same goes here.You have to decide between journalism and creative writing which would be your major and which would be your minor. That doesn't mean that they won't get a similar amount of attention, it just means that you have to decide which career path you would rather put more energy into.

For instance, your day job can be a journalist at a local station or paper trying to work your way up the pendulum. While in your off time, you are working on a creative writing piece-- whether that is a book, a screenplay, or poetry. On the flip side, if you decide you really want to  dive headfirst into the world of creative writing, your side hustle would be to do freelance work for a local paper or a magazine of your choosing. Either way it is important not to limit your possibilities . The world of writing, both on the journalistic and creative side, can be a hard place to find success.

Though, when you are working hard to perfect your craft in the two styles of writing, success will eventually come in time. And sometimes, this success is not in the field that you expected it to be. Maybe you wanted to write great fiction novels and end up finding success with your coverage of sports or politics. Maybe you wanted to find great success in your coverage of up-and-coming bands or the music industry and you somehow find your way through the fiction novels that you have been writing on the side. That does not mean to give up on one or the other. It is simply a wake up call that says, “You are good at this, your other stuff needs some work, but keep going.” The point being, be as open minded as possible and accept all challenges, and hurdle every obstacle thrown your way.

creative writing vs journalism

Comfort Will Come

An important word in this article is “comfortable.” Professional writers should feel comfortable writing journalistically and creatively. What you decide to do with this ability is completely up to you. All we are saying is that it is important to write in both ways no matter your career path. Also, it is important to understand that if you are good at one or the other now, that you won't be great at the other form of writing right away. Do not expect to jump from journalism to creative writing and vice versa and feel comfortable doing so immediately. That comfort will come in due time, as will the recognition for your work.

At first, your writing will be subpar and that is more than okay. As writers we need to soak in all the information that is thrown at us and adapt, learn from our past experiences and through our peers. This means you have to take a leap of faith knowing that if you act as a sponge, that you will eventually find comfort in both writing in a journalistic and creative way.

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Distinguishing Journalism from Creative Writing

Maria Nguyen

Key Takeaways

  • Journalism is the activity of writing on real-world events and conveying news and information, while creative writing involves using imagination to produce an original work.
  • Journalists often have to work under time constraints and use simple, concise language, whereas creative writers have more freedom in their use of language and have no time constraints.
  • Journalism is focused on the public domain, while creative writing is focused on the private domain, although it may draw inspiration from public settings.

Journalism and creative writing are two distinct forms of writing, with a number of differences between them. Journalism involves writing about events that occur in the world, encompassing all forms of news and information. A person who practices this art is known as a journalist. Journalism can be a challenging profession. In contrast, creative writing is an activity where the writer has the freedom to be creative and produce an original piece of writing. The main difference between journalism and creative writing is that journalism reports on real-life events, while creative writing is based on the writer’s imagination. As a result, the element of truth is not as important in creative writing as it is in journalism. This article will explore the differences between these two forms of writing.

What is Journalism?

Journalism refers to the activity of writing about events that occur in the world, including all forms of news and other information. A journalist is someone who engages in this activity. Becoming a journalist requires a great deal of commitment. A journalist must adhere to the truth of the events that occur in their area or country and be able to write about them in an engaging manner that captures the attention of the reader. However, this does not mean that journalists can use their imagination to make stories more interesting. Instead, language and words are the only tools a journalist has to reach their readers. Therefore, to keep readers engaged, journalists use simple yet powerful language.

What is Creative Writing?

Creative writing is an activity in which the writer has free rein to be creative and produce an original piece of writing. To become a creative writer, one must have a talent for words and an interest in understanding human life and experiences. Creative writers should seek inspiration not only from the world around them but also from their own imagination. Becoming a creative writer is an exciting profession, as it allows the individual to create and live within their own works. Creative writing encompasses many different forms, including poetry, drama, plays, and fiction. A creative writer should develop their language skills to create a new world through their work. This is not an easy task and can sometimes be quite tedious. However, becoming a creative writer can be a very rewarding profession.

What is the difference between Journalism and Creative Writing?

Definitions of Journalism and Creative Writing: Journalism: Journalism refers to the activity of writing about events that occur in the world, including all forms of news and other information. Creative Writing: Creative writing is an activity in which the writer has free rein to be creative and produce an original piece of writing. Characteristics of Journalism and Creative Writing: Time Constraint: Journalism: In journalism, the writer or journalist often has to struggle with time constraints, as they need to meet deadlines. Creative Writing: In creative writing, the writer does not face any time constraints. Domain: Journalism: The journalist is at the heart of the public domain. Creative Writing: The creative writer is in the private domain, although they may seek inspiration from public settings. Use of Language: Journalism: A journalist typically uses simple, concise language to convey the message as clearly as possible. Creative Writing: In creative writing, the writer can use language to bring their imagination to life.   Image Courtesy: 1. “CBC journalists in Montreal” by Conrad Poirier  [Public Domain] via Commons 2. “Stipula fountain pen” by Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg: Antonio Litterioderivative work: InverseHypercube [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Commons

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Creative Writing Vs. Journalism

Creative Writing Vs. Journalism

Are you torn between the worlds of creativity and facts? Do you find yourself yearning to express your imagination while also seeking to uncover the truth? In the battle of Creative Writing vs. Journalism, both majors offer unique opportunities to explore your passion for words.

Each path has its own curriculum, writing skills to develop, and career prospects to consider. Join us as we dive into the differences, similarities, and factors to consider when choosing between these two captivating writing majors.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • The choice between creative writing and journalism depends on passion and career goals.
  • Journalism offers more stable job prospects compared to creative writing.
  • Creative writing allows for more creativity and exploration, while journalism follows strict guidelines and ethical standards.
  • Career options for creative writing majors include publishing, editing, and content creation, while journalism majors have opportunities in news reporting, investigative journalism, and a wide range of media organizations.

Overview of the two majors: Creative Writing and Journalism

If you’re trying to decide between creative writing and journalism, it’s important to understand the key differences between the two majors.

In terms of job prospects, both fields offer unique opportunities. Creative writing allows you to explore your imagination and pursue careers in writing novels, poetry, or screenplays. However, the competition can be fierce, and the demand for creative writers may not be as high as that for journalists.

Journalism, on the other hand, offers a more stable career path, with job opportunities in newspapers, magazines, and online media. While creativity is still essential in journalism, the focus is on reporting facts and delivering accurate information to the public.

Both majors require strong writing techniques, but creative writing emphasizes storytelling and literary devices, while journalism emphasizes objective reporting and effective communication.

Ultimately, the choice between creative writing and journalism depends on your passion and career goals.

Overview of the curriculum and requirements of the two majors

To understand the differences between the two majors, you should consider the curriculum and requirements of each program. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from a creative writing or journalism major:

  • Creative Writing: Pros: Opportunity to explore and develop your unique writing style, freedom to express yourself creatively, and potential to pursue a career in various writing fields such as fiction, poetry, or screenwriting. Cons: Limited job prospects compared to journalism, less emphasis on practical skills like research and reporting.
  • Journalism: Pros: Develop strong research and communication skills, gain practical experience through internships, potential for job stability and a wide range of career options in media organizations. Cons: Adapting to the evolving digital landscape, competition for jobs due to technological advancements.

Both majors are impacted by technology. Creative writing has seen the rise of self-publishing platforms and online writing communities, while journalism has been influenced by the shift towards digital journalism and the rise of citizen journalism. Understanding the curriculum and requirements of each major will help you make an informed decision on which path to pursue.

Overview of coursework, assessments, and assignments

The coursework in both majors includes a variety of assessments and assignments that are designed to develop your skills and knowledge in the field. In creative writing, you will engage in workshops, where you will receive feedback on your writing from both peers and instructors. You may also be required to analyze and critique published works, as well as complete writing exercises to enhance your creativity and mastery of different writing styles. In journalism, you will learn about news writing, investigative reporting, and multimedia journalism. You will be tasked with conducting interviews, writing news articles, and producing multimedia content. To give you a clearer picture, here is a table outlining the coursework, assessments, and assignments in each major:

Both majors offer a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application, allowing you to develop the skills necessary for success in either creative writing or journalism.

Comparison of Writing Skills Developed

Developing your writing skills in both majors will involve different techniques and approaches. In creative writing, you will focus on honing your creativity and imagination to craft compelling narratives and explore different literary devices. On the other hand, journalism requires a more factual and objective approach to writing, with an emphasis on accuracy and clarity.

To help you better understand the differences in writing styles between creative writing and journalism, here are two sub-lists:

  • Use of descriptive language to create vivid imagery
  • Freedom to experiment with different narrative structures and formats
  • Emphasis on concise and informative writing
  • Adherence to journalistic ethics and standards, such as fact-checking and unbiased reporting

When it comes to industry demands, creative writing skills are sought after in fields such as publishing, advertising, and content creation. Journalistic writing skills, on the other hand, are essential for careers in news reporting, broadcasting, and media.

Understanding these differences can help you choose the right path and develop the necessary skills for success in your chosen field.

Comparison of Career Opportunities and Job Roles in Writing

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in writing, understanding the different job roles and opportunities available in the industry can help you make an informed decision. When it comes to job stability, there is a notable difference between creative writing and journalism.

Journalism offers more stable job prospects due to the demand for news reporting and the presence of established media organizations. On the other hand, creative writing careers, such as being a novelist or poet, can be more unpredictable and dependent on individual success.

In terms of technology, both creative writing and journalism have been significantly impacted. The rise of digital platforms and social media has changed the way news is consumed, leading to the decline of traditional journalism outlets. However, this shift has also created new opportunities for freelance journalists and content creators.

Similarly, technology has opened avenues for self-publishing and online platforms, giving creative writers more control over their work and access to a wide audience. Overall, while both fields face challenges, technology has also brought forth new possibilities for writers in both creative writing and journalism.

Comparison of Salary Potential in Writing Careers

When it comes to salary potential, there can be a significant difference between various careers in writing. If you’re considering a career in writing, it’s important to understand the potential salary range for different paths.

Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Long term job stability : Some writing careers, such as journalism, offer more stability in terms of employment. With a steady demand for news and information, journalists often have more consistent job opportunities compared to other writing fields.
  • Potential for freelance work : On the other hand, creative writing careers, like novel writing or scriptwriting, may offer more potential for freelance work. As a freelancer, you have the flexibility to choose your projects and potentially earn higher rates for your work.

Keep in mind that salaries in writing can vary greatly depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry. It’s important to research and understand the specific salary expectations for the career path you’re interested in pursuing.

Similarities between Creative Writing and Journalism Majors

Keep in mind that as a journalism major, you can expect to develop strong writing skills and gain valuable experience in researching and reporting news stories.

The skills you acquire during your studies will not only be relevant to the field of journalism but can also be transferable to other industries.

The demand for individuals with strong writing skills is high across various sectors, including marketing, public relations, and communications.

As a journalism major, you will learn how to effectively gather information, conduct interviews, and write compelling stories that capture the attention of readers.

These skills are highly sought after in today’s digital age, where the ability to communicate effectively and engage audiences is essential.

Difference between Creative Writing and Journalism Majors

Contrary to popular belief, the focus of journalism majors is on reporting news stories, while creative writing majors focus on expressing their artistic ideas through writing. Here are the key differences between creative writing and journalism programs:

  • Creative writing programs emphasize the development of writing skills, including fiction, poetry, and non-fiction writing, while journalism programs focus on news reporting, investigative journalism, and feature writing.
  • Creative writing majors have more freedom to explore their creativity and experiment with different writing styles, while journalism majors follow strict guidelines and adhere to journalistic ethics.
  • Creative writing programs often offer workshops and critique sessions, allowing students to receive feedback on their work, whereas journalism programs focus more on practical experience, such as internships and reporting assignments.
  • Graduates with a degree in creative writing can pursue careers in various fields, such as publishing, editing, and content creation, while journalism graduates typically work in media organizations, newspapers, or broadcasting companies.

Pros of pursuing a degree in creative writing: opportunity for self-expression, development of writing skills, and versatility in career options.

Cons of pursuing a degree in creative writing: limited job opportunities, potential for financial instability, and subjective evaluation of work.

Pros of pursuing a degree in journalism: practical experience in news reporting, opportunities for investigative journalism, and potential for career advancement.

Cons of pursuing a degree in journalism: high competition for jobs, long working hours, and ethical challenges in reporting sensitive topics.

Factors to consider when choosing between Writing Majors

One important factor to consider when choosing between different writing majors is the potential career opportunities available in each field. When it comes to pursuing a creative writing major, there are both pros and cons to consider.

On the positive side, a creative writing major allows you to explore your passion for writing and develop your own unique voice. It also allows for more freedom and creativity in your writing process.

However, the downside is that career prospects can be more limited compared to other writing majors. On the other hand, a career in journalism offers a wider range of job opportunities, including roles in news reporting, editing, and broadcasting. It also provides a more structured and fast-paced work environment.

Ultimately, the decision between a career in journalism or creative writing depends on your personal interests, goals, and desired lifestyle.

Congratulations! You have now reached the end of this informative journey comparing creative writing and journalism.

Like two branches on the same tree, these majors offer unique perspectives and skills.

Creative writing allows you to paint with words, crafting stories that transport readers to new realms.

Journalism, on the other hand, empowers you to navigate the ever-changing tides of truth, capturing the essence of the world around us.

So, whether you choose to soar through the skies of imagination or dive into the depths of reality, the choice is yours.

May your writing journey be filled with endless possibilities and captivating tales!

creative writing vs journalism

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Journalistic creativity: what is it (and how do you achieve it)?

creative writing vs journalism

photo by Andrea Ottaviani

Karel van den Berg travels the world, asking one basic, but surprisingly challenging question: what is creativity ? (Looking up the definition in the dictionary might show that you don’t have it, whatever it may be.)

As a profession, journalism is based on pure fact and objectivity. The very notion of the trade is solidly grounded in the idea that journalists provide answers to the questions boggling the minds of curious readers. However, if we were to trust van den Berg, we would learn that “ intellectuals turn answers into questions. ” But this isn’t a subtle attempt at a covert offense to journalists.

“Journalism is one of the most creative professions you can find,” he says. His background in journalism started in 1988, but soon after, he wanted to be “better at breaking news”. Being confronted on a day to day basis by the trials of finding new story ideas in an increasingly “disruptive, challenging market” sparked another curiosity in him: where does imagination fit into the journalistic process?

“ Creativity is all about breaking thinking patterns ,” van den Berg says. But even he admits, that might be easier said than done.

Patterns are ubiquitous and “you need them to survive, from the day you are born.” Developing yourself means building patterns. That’s because they are made up of seven aspects of everyday life:

– Skill – Routine – Expertise -Logic & Reason – Assumption – Prejudice

These set notions represent the pillars of our society, and more than that, the background to our judgment and intuition. Disrupting these almost inborn instincts and values might leave us without a solid moral compass. But more importantly, it can haul us out of that dreaded writer’s block when the presses are running and the conventional frantic search for new angles didn’t yield results.

Boiling down the techniques of his book “ Pattern Breaking News – Handbook for journalistic ideation ,” Karel pinpointed the times and places where ideas get stuck.

“ Assumption is one of the greatest sources of killing ideas in journalism, ” he says, encouraging us to generally defer jumping to any conclusions. This is the process of separating creation from realization.

“The biggest problem in combining creativity with journalism is postponing your judgment, which is not natural to most journalists. Most of the times, we confuse critical thinking with good judgment. This is where the biggest challenge comes in.”

To prove his point that “ our observations are so focused they overlook other options, ” he played an awareness test video for the audience. We all fell for it. We clearly needed to do something about it.

Van den Berg thinks you can structure and organize creativity. Applied specifically to journalism, the creative process is made up of creative thinking and creative observation. Starting from the five famous “W questions” of news writing, the single trick to change the journalistic pattern into a creative technique is to add the word “else” at the end of each one, as in:

– Who else? – What else? – Where else? – When else? – Why else? – How else?

First thing to learn about the pains and pleasures of creative thinking is that the key is to never give up. But once you found the journalistic needle, don’t throw the haystack away – the trick is to combine good and bad ideas, instead of discarding them.

“Because creativity means breaking patterns, when you run out of answers is when you [have] reached the barriers of your preconceptions ,”  van den Berg said. “And even if you find a brilliant idea, don’t be satisfied too early in the process and don’t stop. Chances are there are many more ideas to come.”

When George Poultry set out to find the total number of narratives in world literature, he allegedly found there are only 36 main plotlines, each with variations. His discovery is echoed by Ronald Tobias, who later on found that there are also only 20 Hollywood master plots.

According to van den Berg, journalism revolves around a grand total of eighteen subjects .

“We need to find journalism in the way it used to be, or redefine it. We lost our monopoly on the news; we don’t own the media anymore. We need to find out how to create value to consumers, taxpayers, audiences,” he concedes.

“ We have to invent the future. ”

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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…

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.

creative writing vs 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.

creative writing vs journalism

This story was first published on 8th October 2020.

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Creative Nonfiction and Literary Journalism: What’s the Difference?

creative writing vs journalism

Mar 21, 2017 by Kayla Dean published in Writing

creative writing vs journalism

When I was in high school, my AP English teacher had our class read essays from names like Annie Dillard, David Foster Wallace, and Virginia Woolf. Back then, I didn’t know who any of these people were. I fell in love with “Death of a Moth” when I had to write a one-page analysis of it back in the day, but it wasn’t until my last year of college that I really understood what these authors were doing: writing creative nonfiction.

Yes, I know. You’ve heard the term already. Everyone on the blogosphere seems to have something to say about it. All the articles you click on now almost always have a storied way of telling you basic information. Writing advice blogs mention the word here or there. And have you seen that Creative Nonfiction magazine at Barnes & Noble (i.e., one of THE DREAM magazines for our genre)?

This is the beginning of another endeavor: I’m going to explain creative nonfiction, its genres, and how you can write your own creative nonfiction essays in this new column.

Don’t try to tell me that you aren’t interesting enough. That you haven’t been to Venice yet, and you don’t think that at twenty-something years old you could possibly have enough life experience to write anything interesting. You don’t feel like enough of a person yet. I am all of the above. Your experiences are enough to figure out this whole writing-about-real-experiences thing. First stop? Let’s break down the difference between creative nonfiction and literary journalism.

What Creative Nonfiction Actually Means

Creative nonfiction was coined by Lee Gutkind in the ‘90s. Simply stated, it’s “true stories, well told.” At least, that’s the slogan for his magazine. Gutkind has written several books on the genre, like this one , which is incredibly helpful for getting started in the genre. But if you’re looking for a more precise definition, creative nonfiction is essentially a narrative that deals in factual events. Meaning that whatever you write about, whether in essays or long-form, must be based in reality.

But there’s also something unique about this genre: it’s extremely important that you tell a narrative that has a literary language about it. In other words, you want your prose to be compulsively readable because it’s real life told in a human voice that strays away from the technical or academic.

Some consider creative nonfiction to be an umbrella term for a genre that includes things like personal essays, memoir, travel writing, and literary journalism. You probably know what the first three are, but why is the last one different from creative nonfiction?

How Literary Journalism Fits In

Some people say there isn’t a difference. But here’s my take: literary journalism is often rooted in heavy research. For example, a biologist could write about the problems they see in an endangered population of turtles in the Pacific. A journalist could write about their experiences reporting in the Middle East, exposing a problem they encountered while in the field. Both of these are real examples. But they aren’t necessarily based on the storyteller’s life so much as the facts that they uncover on their journey. A writer can use figurative language to weave a narrative, but they can’t just engage in solipsism for 300 pages.

Not that creative nonfiction allows this. However, there’s a bit more freedom in the way that a writer can arrange facts. Some writers have even gotten in trouble when readers discovered they hadn’t told the story exactly as it had happened. You don’t want to stir up controversy, but there is a freedom in how you collapse or expand events. You can even re-order them to fit a narrative arc.

How to Pick the Right Non-Fiction Genres

Some writers object to writing this way. You may even find that there are two different camps of writers who completely disagree with one another’s prose. This may seem divisive. But there may be another option.

Literary nonfiction is another term I’ve seen thrown around, but not as often as the first two. It usually operates as a blanket term for both creative nonfiction and literary journalism. This one combines the essence of both into a style that works in many contexts. For a literary nonfiction piece, you’d do a bit more research than for a piece that is creative nonfiction. The latter form does allow you to simply write about your life. You may fact check dates or places, but many writers of creative nonfiction write things as they remember them. Implicit in some writing is even a type of subjectivity because the experiences are so personal that they’re more difficult to really verify.

Maybe this feels a little confusing. But if you’re looking to write about your own life, you’ll likely fall in the creative nonfiction camp. If you want some great essays to read on just about anything, check out online publications like Ecotone, Longreads, Literary Hub, or The Millions. These are great places to start if you want to read some creative nonfiction ASAP. And, if you’re a personal essay person, check out these tips from The New York Times on writing great creative nonfiction.

Those essays you read in high school English class can be a great start for your first foray into creative nonfiction, but they’re just the beginning. The realm of nonfiction may feel intimidating, especially if you’re not sure you have a shocking tale to put into a memoir just yet. That’s the great thing about creative nonfiction: you really can write about just about anything. The best part? No sensationalism required.

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Journalism and Journalistic Writing: Introduction

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Journalism is the practice of gathering, recording, verifying, and reporting on information of public importance. Though these general duties have been historically consistent, the particulars of the journalistic process have evolved as the ways information is collected, disseminated, and consumed have changed. Things like the invention of the printing press in the 15 th century, the ratification of the First Amendment in 1791, the completion of the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1858,   the first televised presidential debates in 1960, and more have broadened the ways that journalists write (as well as the ways that their readers read). Today, journalists may perform a number of different roles. They still write traditional text-based pieces, but they may also film documentaries, record podcasts, create photo essays, help run 24-hour TV broadcasts, and keep the news at our fingertips via social media and the internet. Collectively, these various journalistic media help members of the public learn what is happening in the world so they may make informed decisions.

The most important difference between journalism and other forms of non-fiction writing is the idea of objectivity. Journalists are expected to keep an objective mindset at all times as they interview sources, research events, and write and report their stories. Their stories should not aim to persuade their readers but instead to inform. That is not to say you will never find an opinion in a newspaper—rather, journalists must be incredibly mindful of keeping subjectivity to pieces like editorials, columns, and other opinion-based content.

Similarly, journalists devote most of their efforts to working with primary sources, whereas a research paper or another non-fiction piece of writing might frequently consult an encyclopedia, a scholarly article, or another secondary or tertiary source. When a journalist is researching and writing their story, they will often interview a number of individuals—from politicians to the average citizen—to gain insight into what people have experienced, and the quotes journalists collect drive and shape their stories. 

The pages in this section aim to provide a brief overview of journalistic practices and standards, such as the ethics of collecting and reporting on information; writing conventions like the inverted pyramid and using Associated Press (AP) Style; and formatting and drafting journalistic content like press releases.

Journalism and Journalistic Writing

These resources provide an overview of journalistic writing with explanations of the most important and most often used elements of journalism and the Associated Press style. This resource, revised according to The Associated Press Stylebook 2012 , offers examples for the general format of AP style. For more information, please consult The Associated Press Stylebook 2012 , 47 th edition.

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Written by Hitesh • May 16, 2024 • 6:08 am • Journalism & Mass Communication

  • The Great Debate: Print vs. Online Journalism

In this important debate between print vs online journalism, we discuss the pros and cons of both fields. While print journalism is a traditional approach towards media it is tangible and online journalism being the modern media is more interactive and keeps on updating. They both offer benefits that cater to different audiences altogether.

In this article, we will learn about print vs online journalism, the difference between both, and whether you can build a career in journalism or not. So, continue reading this article to know more about this industry and to start your lucrative career.

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  • What is Print Journalism?

What is Digital or Online Journalism?

Differences between print & online journalism, how to be a journalist, careers in journalism, what is print journalism.

Journalism is a reputable career option. There are various other fields that you can learn about and even pursue once you are in this competitive media industry. To get into this industry and start as a fresher eventually leading you to a successful and lucrative career in journalism you will have to equip yourself with the correct set of skills that are needed in this industry. From writing, researching, and editing you will have to know everything. 

So, to start a career on the right foot AAFT Online offers their Ultimate Journalism Certificate program. This program is for students interested in making their career in the field of journalism. AAFT Online provides mentors who are industry leaders, their curriculum is very well-designed and comprehensive. Students learn about various important topics like mobile journalism, digital journalism, broadcasting, and tips & techniques of reporting.

There are several career opportunities in journalism. Once you are equipped with all the necessary skills for journalism you can start your career in this industry. Educating yourself in the filed of journalism opens up a wide range of opportunities like a news reporter, broadcast journalist, copy editor, photojournalist, and more which lead to a lucrative career. Read more .

To conclude, in this article, we learned about the difference between online journalism vs print journalism. Even if they are different from each other and have very different audience and might differ in the number of audiences, they both are a very important part of our day-to-day life as many start their day by reading the news. If you are looking to start a career in journalism,  you can get your self-educated and skilled to live as a successful journalist.

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COMMENTS

  1. What's The Difference Between Journalism And Creative Writing?

    One of the key differences is that creative writing is usually understood to mean the writing of fictional novels. By contrast, journalism is centred on reportage - reporting on actual people and events. As a journalist, you don't, or shouldn't, make things up; as a fictional novelist, inventing alternative versions of reality is ...

  2. The Intersection of Journalism and Creative Writing

    Journalism vs. Creative Writing: Fact and Story. The character in "News of the World" reads news. Journalism. And yet, the people listening hear only stories. The saga of settlement in the West chronicles how communication stretched to accommodate settlers' hunger to know and understand events outside the isolated circle they occupied ...

  3. How to Recognize and Write Literary Journalism

    How to Recognize and Write Literary Journalism. Written by MasterClass. Last updated: Sep 7, 2021 • 5 min read. Creative writing isn't just fiction—applying narrative techniques to journalism has yielded some of the most exciting books and short pieces of the past few decades. Articles.

  4. Journalism Vs Creative Writing: Two Sides of the Same Coin (3)

    Umukoro explains: "Creative Writing and Journalism have many areas of overlap. The reason for this overlap is because, just as creative writing has many genres so does journalism, the only difference being that one is more factual (Journalism) than the other (Creative Writing). "What's most fascinating about creative writing and ...

  5. The meeting point between Journalism and creative writing

    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. ...

  6. Truth And Creativity: Journalism Vs. Creative Writing

    Journalism and creative writing are two opposite ends of the literary rope. Their difference is grounded on the fact that journalism relies heavily on the truth, facts, current events, and knowledge. Creative writing, on the other hand, comprises much on art, fiction, and imagination. This is why these two ends don't meet.

  7. Creative Writing vs. Journalism

    Both creative writers and journalists write stories. A journalist writes fact and a creative writer writes fiction, but all stories share a key element. That key element is the natural flow of the story. That also includes a hook and a plot that creates a cohesiveness that your reader can follow.

  8. Distinguishing Journalism from Creative Writing

    Journalism can be a challenging profession. In contrast, creative writing is an activity where the writer has the freedom to be creative and produce an original piece of writing. The main difference between journalism and creative writing is that journalism reports on real-life events, while creative writing is based on the writer's imagination.

  9. Creative Writing Vs. Journalism

    Creative Writing: Pros: Opportunity to explore and develop your unique writing style, freedom to express yourself creatively, and potential to pursue a career in various writing fields such as fiction, poetry, or screenwriting. Cons: Limited job prospects compared to journalism, less emphasis on practical skills like research and reporting. Journalism: Pros: Develop strong research and ...

  10. Journalistic creativity: what is it (and how do you achieve it)?

    Applied specifically to journalism, the creative process is made up of creative thinking and creative observation. Starting from the five famous "W questions" of news writing, the single trick to change the journalistic pattern into a creative technique is to add the word "else" at the end of each one, as in:

  11. Longform Journalism vs Creative Writing

    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 ...

  12. Creative journalism

    Journalism is the factual portrayal of news and events with minimal analysis and interpretation. By contrast creative is original expressive and imaginative. Creative writing refers to imagination. The UNICEF indicated it wished to celebrate creative journalism by was of the Meena Media award, though the award is mainly divided into creative ...

  13. Creative Writing & Journalism

    Keep it real : everything you need to know about researching and writing creative nonfiction by Lee Gutkind & Hattie Fletcher. Call Number: NYU Shanghai (China) Main Collection (PN3377.5.R45 K44 2008 ) ISBN: 9780393065619. Real feature writing: story shapes and writing strategies from the real world of journalism by Abraham Aamidor.

  14. Creative Nonfiction and Literary Journalism: What's the Difference

    Creative nonfiction was coined by Lee Gutkind in the '90s. Simply stated, it's "true stories, well told.". At least, that's the slogan for his magazine. Gutkind has written several books on the genre, like this one, which is incredibly helpful for getting started in the genre. But if you're looking for a more precise definition ...

  15. Introduction

    Journalism and Journalistic Writing: Introduction. Journalism is the practice of gathering, recording, verifying, and reporting on information of public importance. Though these general duties have been historically consistent, the particulars of the journalistic process have evolved as the ways information is collected, disseminated, and ...

  16. Creative writing

    Creative writing is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics.Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to ...

  17. Creative Writing vs. Content Writing: 7 Elements of Each Type of

    Creative Writing vs. Content Writing: 7 Elements of Each Type of Writing. Most professional writing falls into two categories: creative writing—which includes novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays—and content writing, which includes manuals, guidebooks, and marketing products. Here are some key differences between the two types of ...

  18. Journalism and Creative Writing Specialization

    The Journalism and Creative Writing specialization helps students develop the research, interviewing, writing, editing and multimedia storytelling skills that are crucial to success across a broad spectrum of fields and professions in this information age. Our faculty of professional writers and editors will teach you to research, report ...

  19. which is better if i want to become a writer, journalism or creative

    Creative writing teaches you storytelling, world building, character, themes, dialogue. And critique and analyzing text depending on if you join a good writer workshop. Journalism teaches you research, interviewing, source checking. And sensationalism or propaganda depending on if you're hired by someone who wants to spin a narrative rather ...

  20. Literature vs Journalism: When To Use Each One In Writing?

    When using "journalism" in a sentence, here are some tips to keep in mind: Use "journalism" to refer to the profession or activity of reporting news and current events. Example: She studied journalism in college and now works as a reporter for a major news outlet. Avoid using "journalism" to refer to creative writing or works of ...

  21. What's the difference between academic and journalistic writing?

    Sourcing. Journalistic: Attribution is included in the same sentence as the direct or indirect quotation (Smith said, she acknowledged), usually at the end of the sentence. Quotations are rarely longer than two sentences. Academic: Source of information is always included in footnotes, endnotes or works cited page.

  22. If I want to become a writer, what course do you recommend?

    Journalism helped me condense my writing, not necessarily make me a better story teller. If you are a writer who is overly flowery with your descriptions or scenes, then journalism, which is about saying the most with the least, helps with that. I think that studying journalism has value for creative writers.

  23. Journalism vs creative writing : r/UTS

    Journalism vs creative writing . Hi! I'll be starting my first year at UTS with a bachelor of media arts and production. ... I'm currently a third year doing the exact same course! I also had the exact same thoughts as you. I really enjoyed creative writing but also thought about doing journalism because it would help me career wise.

  24. Print vs Online Journalism: A Comparative Analysis

    Print journalism is one of the oldest forms of journalism and I still grow rapidly. It offers a great career option for individuals wanting a career in journalism. It is one of the most respected professions all over the world. Through print media, people can get into careers like designing, editing, or writing news articles.