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It’s the story that matters! Teaching journalism’s storytellers

Special Edition of Journalism Education

Guest Editor: Karen Fowler-Watt, Bournemouth University, UK.


This special edition of Journalism Education invites discussion and debate about a range of factors currently informing the role of storytelling in journalism education. It will devote particular attention to the ways in which journalism educators are embracing multimedia and new media approaches to storytelling.

Storytelling is the journalist’s craft skill. Shaped by the tenets of objectivity and accuracy, the news narrative informs the debate and brings us the human stories. If journalism is a craft, then the story is the journalist’s work of art. In a rapidly changing landscape of technological revolution, shifting business models and ethical challenges, one thing remains certain – the story still matters. As award winning BBC foreign correspondent, Fergal Keane reminds us, the journalist is first and foremost a storyteller who is ‘trying to tell them what it is like to stand where I do and see the things I see.’

But this core skill is being challenged on all sides. The demands of the 24/7 news cycle emphasise story – processing, rather than storytelling. Originality – the storyteller’s stock-in-trade – is often sacrificed as newsrooms shrink in size and journalists fail to get out of the office. The online environment moves us away from linear storytelling and focuses on the imperative of interactivity. Stories require simplicity and multimedia features to engage an audience consuming in byte-size nuggets, whilst on the move.

If storytelling lies at the heart of journalism practice, how do journalism educators face these challenges? How do we teach the next generation of journalists to find original stories and to tell them in innovative ways? How do we encourage young journalists to engage audiences through their storytelling techniques? How does investigative, in-depth research and long-form storytelling fit in to this digital context?

Possible topics to be examined may include:


  • Definitions of storytelling in a digital age
  • Teaching storytelling to journalists:
  •  the role of accuracy, redefining objectivity
  • reporting human interest, reporting conflict


  • Original storytelling
  • Influences of social media on journalistic narrative
  • Understanding the role of audience in storytelling
  • Ethical issues in storytelling
  • Technological innovation, experimentation and teaching multimedia storytelling techniques
  • Experiential approaches to teaching storytelling
  • Teaching storytelling using data
  • Selling stories – teaching entrepreneurship: pitching story ideas, getting stories commissioned


Prospective authors should submit an abstract of approximately 250 words by email to Karen Fowler-Watt (

Following peer-review, a selection of authors will be invited to submit a full paper in accordance with the journal’s ‘Information for contributors’. Please note acceptance of the abstract does not guarantee publication, given that all papers will be put though the journal’s peer review process.



Deadline for abstracts: February 1st, 2015

Deadline for submission of full papers: June 1st, 2015
Final revised papers due: October 1st, 2015

Guest Editor – Dr Karen Fowler-Watt

Dr Karen Fowler-Watt is Associate Dean, Journalism and Communication at the Media School at Bournemouth University. She is a former BBC journalist and co-editor (with Stuart Allan) of Journalism: New Challenges (2013, CJCR)