The auto/biographical journalist and stories of lived experience
Authors: Fowler-Watt, K.
Editors: Dix, H.
New beginnings are a crucial part of career construction and this paper explores how stories of ‘lived experience’ are used by journalists who have made the career transition into education, both in narrating their own lives and as an educational tool. It contends that personal stories can provide the journalist moving from newsroom to classroom with an authentic means to write the next chapter in a life story, since storytelling is the journalist’s ‘stock in trade’. The paper’s principal feature is 2 stories drawn from in-depth, biographical interviews, both with well-established broadcast journalists who reflect on their experiences as journalism educators at the BBC College of Journalism. The relationship between professional and personal identity is considered and the emergent concept of ‘auto/biographical journalism’ is utilised to scrutinise the role of self within the context of journalism as a vocation and journalism education as a career choice. Here, autobiographical journalism as catharsis, the role of epiphanies in self-stories and the confessional genre provide some context. My background as a former BBC journalist and my current role as a journalism educator inform this paper: hence, it concludes with personal reflections on the ways in which, as journalists telling the stories of others, we can also draw on our own stories to shape our personae in different periods of our lives.