Posted in Reader's Responses

Immersion Journalism

I find the idea of immersion journalism absolutely fascinating, even more so after reading the article “Tent City, U.S.A.” As the principle researcher is referred to simply as the PR throughout the entire article, the piece is solely focused on the residents of Tent City and their stories. The author makes a distinct point to introduce all of them in the same way: a one-sentence paragraph that reads, “This was _________.” As people, we tend to fail to see those with drastically different living conditions than us as human beings. Rather, we like to think of them as a statistic, a news story akin to something you could find in a library. However, through this tactic of immersion journalism, the PR was able to gain a realer understanding of the Tent City inhabitants as people instead of these distant, almost fictional, beings.

One other instance of immersion journalism I find myself thinking of while writing this is Nellie Bly’s Ten Days in a Mad-House, the exposé Bly wrote after faking her own insanity to gain access to Blackwell Island Women’s Asylum, which was under accusations of neglect and cruelty towards its patients. She suffered under these conditions for ten days, causing the launch of an investigation against the asylum after her release. This example of immersion journalism is another point in which immersion has helped to make heard the voices that would not normally be listened to by the general public.

If I were to write an article based around immersion journalism, I think I would want to live in a third world country with a native group of people for a few weeks. I believe it would be educational for me and for anyone who read such piece to learn first (or second) hand how some of the poorest people in the world live on a day-to-day basis.

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