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Narrative Nonfiction Panel Discussion, May 31
Author: David Santen, Office of University Communications (503-725-8789)
Posted: May 11, 2007

Narrative Nonfiction Panel Discussion at PSU, May 31

Three of the nation’s renowned journalistic writing coaches will lead a discussion on narrative nonfiction, which blends storytelling techniques of fiction with fact-based reporting. The panel includes:
Jack Hart, writing coach for The Oregonian and author of A Writer’s Coach: An Editor’s Guide to Words That Work (Pantheon, 2006);
Roy Peter Clark, senior editor and writing coach for the Florida-based Poynter Institute ( and founding director of the National Writers Workshop;
Mark Kramer, director and writer-in-residence of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University from 2001–2007.

Thursday, May 31, 5–7 p.m.

Smith Memorial Student Union, room 333 (1825 SW Broadway, Portland)

The discussion is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Debra Gwartney,

Jack Hart describes the narrative journalism structure as one that “provides a location where we can meet the protagonist and learn something about him, followed by scenes in which he encounters a series of challenges before facing the ultimate complication and, finally, a scene or two that tie up any loose ends.”

“Reporting with civic clarity is a journalist's primary duty, which leaves plenty of room for the telling of "real" stories,” writes Roy Peter Clark. “And narrative strategies are tried and true: setting scenes, developing characters, effectively using dialogue, and establishing point of view....An implied contract exists between reporter and reader that a reliable version of reality is being rendered with care and honesty.”

Narrative journalism has been described by Mark Kramer as writing that “assumes the reader is not a robot and that acknowledges the reader knows lots and feels and snickers and gets wild.”

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