Yesterday This American Life did a retraction episode on it’s report “Mike Daisey goes to the Apple Factory.” This is one of many articles on the tenuous line between fact and fiction, journalism and art, and how creative license can become licentious.
At AWP 2012 there were many panels on the “rules” (so to speak) of creative non-fiction. It’s an interesting debate, one that merits serious consideration by writers, ethnographers and journalists. In light of the Daisey debacle, Mother Jones Magazine posted this “Ode to Fact-checking.”
I’m still working through my thoughts on the issue, but I’ll start with this. There should be a difference between journalism and ethnography (which must be based on actual facts and events) and creative works (stories and drama) that are only “inspired” by real events.