TELLING TRUE STORIES

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Real episodes can be subject to a closer examination. MathewRicketson, a professor teaching journalism at the University Canberraand the author of Telling True Stories uses this as thepremise for his doctoral thesis. He draws examples from his ordealswork as a journalist with The Australian and The Age whereby hedescribes that although journalists present nonfiction in theirreports, they actively capture the attention of the readers throughappropriate literal skills.

For two months, I laboured to read his book, Telling True Storieswhile at the same time reading three other works. Ricketsonpresentation of the text inclines to the academic way, and this madeit a tough choice for me. However, Ricketson succeeds in giving areality touch to his theoretical discussions by giving real lifeaccounts. For example, he employs the example of Janet Malcolm, whodescribes the tussle that exists between borrowings from crediblesources while at the same time maintaining the editorial autonomy. Healso drives his point home by drawing from Truman Capote’s, InCold Blood.

Ricketson also recounts the interviews he ah conducted seven yearsbefore embarking on his piece of work. He interviewed David Mar,Chloe Hooper, Margaret Simons and Helen Garner, all of who are inservice. I believe that these interviews were not out time since theyare indications of dedication that Ricketson put into the text.

The content of the book would not suit anyone using it foreducational purposes. It would best suit journalist in the fieldsthose with aspirations to enter the profession. This is due to itinclination on the exploration of the nature of activities thatjournalists engage in to collect stories with an intention of sharingthem with the public. However, the ethical considerations thatRicketson outlines at the end of the book can be useful for anyoneventuring into non-fiction narratives.