Sep 08 2014

Dr. Coyne and the ethics of literary non-fiction

Posted at 8:41 am under Posts

Coyne2

Prof. Steve Coyne kicked off this year’s Friday is Writing Day schedule with a  presentation of “Taken In,” a work in progress.

When the discussion turned to the ethics of writing literary non-fiction I thought of John Hersey and an article I read long ago: “The Legend on the License.”

While journalists cannot be issued licenses, or have their reporter badges taken away, that does not mean they are without responsibilities. Hersey, author of Hiroshima, described one critical difference between journalists and novelists: “There is one sacred rule of journalism. The writer must not invent. The legend on the license must read: NONE OF THIS WAS MADE UP.”

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