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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Speaking Personally

The Rise of Subjective and Confessional Journalism

ISBN 9780230360204
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave
Series Journalism

This book argues that the personal voice, which is often disparaged in journalism teaching, is and always has been a prevalent form of journalism. Paradoxically, the aim of 'objective' reporters is often to be known for a distinctive 'voice'. This personal voice is becoming increasingly visible in the context of 'the confessional society'.

Ros Coward is Professor of Journalism at Roehampton University, UK. She has worked for many years as a freelance journalist, contributing to several national newspapers and magazines.

1. Real Lives, True Stories. The Confessional Society
2. Impersonality in Journalistic Ideals, Personal Voice in Journalistic Practice
3. 'Star reporters'
4. The New Journalism
5. 'Featurisation' and 'Feminisation'
6. Comment Writing (Viewspapers)
7. Confessional Journalism
8. Online Journalism and Blogging


Speaking Personally is a remarkably perceptive treatment of first person journalism, one certain to spark lively discussion and debate. Ros Coward expertly critiques the factors shaping the popularity of personal, opinionated and confessional genres of reportage, sharing with the reader incisive insights into pertinent research as well as her own experience as a columnist. Throughout she assesses the implications for journalism's ethical duty to care, not least where ordinary people find themselves at risk of exploitation when intimate details of their private lives become public news. This is a rich and rewarding book that deserves to be widely read.' - Stuart Allan, Professor of Journalism, The Media School, Bournemouth University, UK
'This is a wonderfully original, wide-ranging, in-depth and bang-up-to-date exploration of the many issues surrounding the ever-growing prominence of the 'personal voice' in the media. Like all the best scholarship, it is both enjoyable to read - and thought-provoking.' - Richard Keeble, Acting Head of Lincoln School of Journalism, University of Lincoln, UK
'Well written and including a helpful bibliography and index … a solid resource for those interested in journalism and creative writing.' - Choice
'Coward's book is a welcome addition to journalism studies literature. She provides compelling arguments for why personal voices have become more pervasive in journalism, and why those voices should be heard' - Kate Fink, Columbia University, USA
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