Autoethnography and the journalist: an ethical comparison

Australasian Association Of Writing Programs
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Writing the Ghost Train: Rewriting, Remaking, Rediscovering Papers – The Refereed Proceedings Of The 20th Conference Of The Australasian Association Of Writing Programs, 2016, 2015 pp. ? - ? (17)
Issue Date:
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Autoethnography has undergone numerous critical appraisals based on its specific ways of truth reproduction. This paper looks at autoethnography as method and text from an ethical journalistic perspective, utilising it as a method for the production of written artefacts, and its interpretation and reinterpretation of past events. The research identifies the ethical issues and dilemmas of allowing composite events and reproduction of conversations to enter autoethnography in its work, both as method and as text. Particularly, the paper questions when the message or main tenet of the text overshadows the balance and truth experienced by the author in a corporeal, rather than a metaphysical sense. The paper reviews three autoethnographic texts, comparing current methodologies to journalistic output. It also discusses issues of implementing autoethnography in producing factual reconstructions of events. This research challenges autoethnography’s use of composite events and reproductions of dialogue without recorded evidence in order to produce a text more reliant on ideology and meaning. Using a journalistic lens, ethical issues arising from this method are discussed in conjunction with a discussion of balance and truth, paying attention to fictitious accounts of factual events, and adjudicating autoethnography under the principles of journalistic ethics.
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