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A Natural Overlap: Journalism and History

from Jack El-Hai, ASJA

Journalism is the first rough draft of history, Alan Barth declared. Or is it the reverse, that history is just journalism, as Joseph Campbell mischievously asserted? Either way, there’s much in common between writing journalism and chronicling history, and I’ve spent my career exploring the overlap of those two great disciplines.

I'm always surprised to see how few of my fellow journalists try writing about history. It could be that some writers find history intimidating, they’re afraid of making factual errors, they think they wouldn’t enjoy historical research, or they have a cockeyed notion of what history is about. more


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