Memoir is Not Journalism, Is It?

January 8, 2013 § 11 Comments

CaptureWe have tried for three days to respond to the kerfuffle that has arisen based on Susan Shapiro’s NYT blog piece which resulted in Hamilton Nolan’s Gawker take-down of Shapiro and her tawdry, profit-grubbing approach (he claims), followed by Amanda Marcotte’s Slate take-down of memoirist Elizabeth Wurtzel and  journalism students who fail to focus on the larger world around them, headlined ” … Memoir Finally Hits  Bottom.”

We tried, down here on the bottom, and then couldn’t say anything coherent, and then erased our blog reaction, and then tried again, and then got befuddled, and erased again … In brief, we just couldn’t wrap our little heads around it.


We are so used to creative nonfiction programs in English departments coming under attack for our navel-gazing ways that it took us a while to realize this was all about J schools, and budding journalists, and all of a sudden we sort of agreed with Nolan, despite his snarky, uninformed take on things. Or did we?  It still boggles.

Help us out  please. Are they really teaching memoir in journalism schools?  Should they be? Or is it just Susan Shapiro, stuck in the wrong department?  Anyone have any experience, inside information?  Comments encouraged.

Here are the links

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