Journal Article

Kissing Cousins: Journalism and Oral History

Mark Feldstein

in The Oral History Review

Published on behalf of Oral History Association

Volume 31, issue 1, pages 1-22
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0094-0798
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1533-8592 | DOI:
Kissing Cousins: Journalism and Oral History

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This article explores the similarities and differences between journalism and oral history. Where does one end and the other begin? What might each learn from the other? The author compares both print and broadcast journalism to oral history, examining issues of evidence, purpose, technique, empathy, and ethics. He writes that oral historians and journalists are like “kissing cousins,” related but separate, whose very similarities showcase their differences—and the ways each can improve their own discipline by borrowing techniques from the other. Specifically, the author argues that journalism would do well to emulate oral history's exhaustive and nuanced approach to research evidence, especially its preservation of interview transcripts that allow public inspection and verification. Conversely, the oral historian should sometimes emulate the journalist's more seasoned approach to interviewing—increasing the quantity of interviews and expanding the range of approaches, including use of adversarial encounters.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Oral History

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