Nothing but the facts? What journalists talk about when they talk about storytelling and truth-finding

J.L.J. Boesman, I.C. Costera-Meijer

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperAcademic


This paper seeks to understand how journalists deal with storytelling and truth-finding in their
daily news practice. While storytelling is usually studied through texts, we approached it from
a practice perspective, combining data from three ethnographic studies in which 67 journalists
from the Low Countries were extensively interviewed. Because of the emphasis journalists
place on “finding out the truth” in public discourses, it is tempting for academics to present
them as naive truth-seekers. However, by means of an interpretative repertoire analysis of
their “practice” discourses, we seek to enlarge the discursive space to talk about the supposed
tension between story and reality. Although departing from the idea that all news making is
storytelling, the findings reveal that news making and storytelling are seen as distinct – and
sometimes opposing – practices by journalists, distinctively practiced in the preparation and
presentation of news stories. These practices serve as the organizing framework around which
seven distinct storytelling repertoires are organized.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018
EventInternational Communication Association - Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 24 May 201828 May 2018


ConferenceInternational Communication Association
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


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