Whether you enjoy reading the news or getting lost in a work of fiction, there’s something to love about both journalism and creative writing. There are also a number of similarities between them: Both are mediums of writing stemming from a writer and his/ her stream of consciousness, for the reception of a more or less active audience.
But what are the key differences between journalism and creative writing?
As Andre Wiesner, Head Tutor of the UCT Feature Writing online short course, points out in this short video, the difference between journalism and creative writing goes beyond the fiction versus non-fiction distinction.
Looking for an industry that bridges the gap between journalism and creative writing?
Consider feature writing, or “creative journalism”, and get ahead with the UCT Feature Writing online short course.
There are several major differences between journalism and creative writing; at the same
time, there can also be major overlaps between them. One of the key differences is that creative writing is usually understood to mean the writing of fictional novels. By contrast, journalism is centred on reportage – reporting on actual people and events. As a journalist, you don’t, or shouldn’t, make things up; as a fictional novelist, inventing alternative versions of reality is essential to the art. Another difference is that creative writing is usually about your self-expression, in one way or another. By contrast, journalism is other-directed – concerned with other people’s views, perspectives and lived realities. There are also overlaps. There are such things as creative nonfiction, narrative journalism, and indeed feature writing. In these forms of writing, basically speaking, the content you work with is factual – but the way in which you write it (the form) is literary and creative. In other words, you use the tools of “fictional” creative writing to tell accurate, true-life narratives.