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Rise and Fall of the Personal Essay in Media
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Columbia Southern University

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Rise and Fall of the Personal Essay in Media
Almanza, M., Pfizer, A., & Mousislli, H. (2016). The dread rise. Journal of Journalism Studies,
7(89), 134-152.
This source is an article for the con side of the research topic. Almanza, Pfizer,
and Mousislli examine blogs and internet sites that allowed amateur writers to publish or
self-publish whatever stories they chose. The authors provide examples of stories as
tinder for their strong polemic on the personal essay. They also include a graph that
details the start of what they term the “Dread Rise,” or the rise in popularity of the
personal essay; the graph starts in 2008 and ends in late 2016. The graph will be used as a
visualization of the rise and fall of personal essays. Almanza et al. also argue that the
more confessional personal essays devalue the entire literary community by allowing
writers to publish work based on shock value instead of literary merit. They provide a
few excerpts from confessional essays that are truly absurd to thoroughly prove their
point. These excerpts will be used to argue the con part of the research paper’s argument.
Gordon, F., ; Arden, D. (2014). The personal era of writing fiction, nonfiction, and everything
else. New York, NY: Indie Presses.
Gordon and Arden discuss how the confessional, or personal, essay has affected
nonfiction, fiction, and other genres of writing. They present two fiction and nonfiction
examples each and discuss the changes in form and diction. Examples of poetry and
feature articles are also provided and examined. Gordon and Arden believe that the rise in
personal and confessional essays affected the formal nature of writing in all genres. They
note that, societally, formality has changed writing and everything else, but there is a
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large difference in the writing of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and feature writing after the
resurgence of the personal essay. There was also a rise in the personal and sometimes
irrelevant information included in an attempt to get readers to engage with a particular
publication exclusively. The readerships for the publications publishing personal essays
went up, but all of them saw a huge drop off in November 2016, causing a major shift in
the editorial processes of many publishers online or otherwise. Many online publishers
closed. The examples of the different kind of writing will be used to show the differences
in the writing styles.
Ma, Y., Turoi, M., Cho, J., ; Idowu, A. (2015). A study of media and journalism. Journal-
Journal, 7(2), 13–25. doi:10.559/wjp.v5.i3.2313
This is another neutral source that simply lists certain aspects of journalism that
have changed over time. The authors documented the usage of certain words and types of
writing—essays, interviews, cover stories, and others. In their study, Ma, Turoi, Cho, and
Idowu noticed a spike in personal and confessional essays in journalism around 2008 and
a decline eight years later at the end of 2016. They speak on the reasons for this particular
phenomenon and include a number of interviews from journalists at two national news
organizations and three newspapers in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. The study
managed to present a balanced set of data that shows both the increase in the websites
using the personal essay boom for profit and authentic websites that were created to
combat the rise of personal essay news. This resource will be used to provide a different
perspective on the negative part of the argument.
You can also include how you will use the
source in your paper.

National Personal Essay Society ; Writers of Antarctica. (2013). Let us confess. Retrieved from docs/being-frank-the-importance-of-the-personal-essay.pdf
The National Personal Essay Society (NPES) and Writers of Antarctica (WOA)
discuss the internet sites and blogging platforms that ushered in the new age of personal
essays. Both organizations provide data on the effects of the personal and confessional
essay boom and attribute the rise in writers and journalists to this boom. Twitter is also
mentioned as a gate way to many young writers (the authors define young as 18-30)
exploring the craft of prose and where it intersects with news; many of them found their
writing skill through writing terribly inaccurate, yet stylistically interesting personal
essays. The NPES and WOA praise these writers and credit them with the return of
fiction and nonfiction that explores the depth of the human condition. They also list a few
of the writers that have gained respect through the personal and confessional essay. The
organizations note that this respect came partially due to the writers’ abilities to transition
from purely confessional and sometimes self-serving essays to more literary or
journalistic writing. This is a source with a very positive view of the argument.
Personal essay. (2016). In The Funk & Rollion Old World Encyclopedia. Retrieved from Funk &
Rollion Old World Encyclopedia database.
This article describes the use of personal essays in media. It details the different
uses of the personal or narrative essays and their reception since the last 1800s and early
1900s. Personal essays have never been considered reputable accounts. This resource
shows that this has changed throughout time as more and more newspapers, online and in
print, focus on them. The encyclopedia entry also provides dates for important milestones
acronyms as
you would in a
regular paper
by including
them in
after their

in the personal essay’s history and notes important writers that cracked the personal, or
confessional, essay industry. It also notes that the fall of the personal essay was partly
due to shifting societal needs. This source is extremely important to the foundation of the
research paper; it provides dates and objective analysis on the personal essay from its rise
in popularity to its fall. The source will be the neutral source in that provides background
information, dates, and names of important personal essay writers.
Potter, H., Anders, D., Smith, C., Hash, M., Toppingham, P., Jacobson, Z., … Kim, S. (2013).
Disconnections in journalism and the personal narrative. PLoS ONE, 5(27).
This resource was a collaboration between 37 authors that cataloged the internet’s
response to news stories from the major news outlets. The authors compared this
information to the responses garnered by the literary sites accepting the occasional new
worthy submission. Many of the websites specializing in showcasing creative writing
genres received an influx of stories that were personal essays but contained news
elements and angles not often taken by the national news outlets. Because of the influx of
this kind of prose, the sites started to publish them; from there they gained traction and
ballooned the viewership of these sites. Potter et al. mention that at the height of this
boom, the actual news content dwindled, and the confessional nature of them became
alternative for the sake of readers and hits. This resource will be used to highlight the
negative impact the confession essay wave had on news in general.

In an
you do not
need to cite
It is not a
best practice
to include
in your

Wong, P. S. (2016). Love for the confessional nature. Current Lit, 12(4), 23-27.
Wong argues that confessing is part of the human condition as much as lying, and
it is cathartic to write in such a manner. She cites the restorative effects of journaling as
indicator of this and provides statistics that show the correlation between journaling and
improved mood. Wong uses this data to stress the importance of the confessional nature
of the more recent personal essays, and denounces critics of it. She does side with the
critics on one point, however. She agrees that there is a place for the confessional or
personal essay. While it is important to confess, Wong mentions that audiences should
not become stand-in priests; too much of the confessional essays can sink a career. This is
what she says happened when the stock in personal essays fell. People were tired of
reading purely personal information and started to switch to more informational reading
Remember that the purpose of the assignment is to summarize the source you have
gathered for your research paper in your own words, so directly quoted material is not
required. You will not need to provide your opinions or personal experience. Present
the information relevant to your research paper topic in 150-200 words.