The Storytellers Tell Their Stories: using stories of lived experience in journalism education
Authors: Fowler-Watt, K.
Journal: Media Education Research Journal
Stories are ‘hardwired’ into journalism as a craft (Marr, 2004); this article explores how stories of ‘lived experience’, the personal stories of journalists, can play a credible and useful role in journalism education. Focusing on the BBC College of Journalism as a case study and using examples from in-depth auto/biographical interviews with journalists working there as educators, it analyses how ‘self-stories’ of experience from journalism practice can inform journalism education in an age that has been described as ‘autobiographical’ (Plummer, 2001). The inter-relationship of personal and professional identity is also considered, utilising the emergent concept of autobiographical journalism to scrutinise the role of self within the context of the newsroom and the classroom. The imperative to restore trust in journalism provides a crucial context and the article assesses the importance of personal stories in inculcating good practice. The interviewees highlight the importance of credibility and utility in sharing their experiences with others in a learning environment. It concludes that active learning from the lived experiences of others can enhance journalism education, informing students’ self-understanding and encouraging an ethical approach to their craft, so that good practice and a pride in the ‘craft artistry’ of journalism emanates from placing the storied selves of self-reflexive practitioners at the heart of the learning experience.