Journalism and Experientiality

deadline for submissions: 
June 29, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Recherches en Communication

Call for Papers: "Journalism and Experientiality"

Thematic issue of Recherches en Communication

Deadline for submission: June 29, 2018

Languages: English and French


Paper submissions are invited for a thematic issue of Recherches en Communication, which will explore the interplay between journalism and experience in narrative and literary forms of journalism.

The double nature of narrative literary journalism-as informational and experiential-has been recognized by leaders in the field for some time. Pulitzer-prize winning reporter and journalism professor Tom French, for one, has described narrative journalism as an attempt to help the public understand news questions from within, by recreating what it feels like to live inside these news questions-be they healthcare, war, or natural disasters. Similarly, writer and former director of the Nieman program on narrative journalism Mark Kramer explains that literary journalism "couples cold fact and personal event, in the author's humane company," allowing readers to "behold others' lives, often set within far clearer contexts than we can bring to our own. The process moves readers, and writers, toward realization, compassion, and in the best of cases, wisdom" (Kramer 1995, 34).

Hence, one could say that the meaning of these journalistic narratives primarily lies in what narratologists call their experientiality, their "quasi-mimetic evocation of real-life experience" (Fludernik 1996, 12). Following Marco Caracciolo (2013), experientiality is understood as both "the textual representation of experience" and "the experiences undergone by the recipients of narrative." It refers to the way a narrative stimulates different cognitive parameters through which humans engage with real-life experience: embodiment, intentionality, temporality and emotional evaluation. By recreating felt experience and activating these parameters, narrative and literary journalism does not merely try to entertain or move us, but works to deepen our understanding of the news and the world we live in. Monika Fludernik proposes that degrees of narrativity correspond with levels of experientiality (1996, 28), which invites investigation about how readers engage cognitively, emotionally, ethically and politically with narrative and literary journalism.

This thematic issue aims to broaden our knowledge of both the strategies employed by journalists to create vicarious experience for readers within literary journalistic texts, and the way readers process and react to such texts. The differences between reading fiction and non-fiction largely remain to be explored in fields such as cognitive narratology, reader-response theory, neuroscience, psychology, ethnography and literary studies.

In the case of first-hand reporting by journalists, it may also be interesting to question how writing such stories changes the experience of the reporters and how this might become part of the story.

Considering the recent evolutions of journalism, the study of experientiality should not be limited to the written text, but should also concern more innovative forms of narrative/literary journalism, such as multimedia, transmedia and interactive narratives.

For this thematic issue, all submissions investigating the relationship between narrative/literary journalism and experience are welcome. This includes, but is not limited to, papers addressing questions such as:


- How does experientiality translate in works of literary journalism?

- How does the experiential dimension of these texts transform journalists' reporting and writing practices?

- How do readers actually react to such texts?

- What is the role of empathy in narrative literary journalism?

- To what extent can literary journalism generate pro-social behavior?

- What kinds of expectations do readers bring to this genre and how are these created?

- Are there qualitative differences between the experience of reading fiction and non-fiction?

- What kinds of relationships exist between the aesthetic and the experiential in literary journalism?

- What kind of experience can multimedia, transmedia and interactive journalistic narratives create?

Article submissions must meet the instructions for authors of the journal ( and be uploaded on the journal's website (