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What Is a Personal Reportage Essay in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a personal reportage essay is, including what makes it different from other types of essays and when writers may prefer to use this style.

Many writers are probably familiar with how journalistic reporting reads, very fact-based with the 5 Ws and 1 H to go along with an inverted pyramid style of placing the most essential information at the top followed by other pieces of information in descending order of importance. Many writers also have a good idea of what a personal essay is.

(What Is a Personal Essay in Writing?)

In this post, we're going to look at what a personal reportage essay is, including what makes it different from other types of essays and when writers may prefer to use this style.

What Is a Personal Reportage Essay in Writing?

What Is a Personal Reportage Essay in Writing?

A personal reportage essay uses fictional tools of storytelling while sticking to the facts of nonfiction. Some writers may tie themselves into the narrative, but others may focus solely on the stories of others.

(How to Create a Narrative Arc for Personal Essays.)

For these types of essays, writers will often do extensive research, including interviews with various people, but the way they relate the information reads like a short story or novel. Personal reportage essays share facts while building suspense, drama, humor, and horror. Plus, they use tools like voice, plot twists, and engaging dialogue. And it's all done while staying true to the facts.

Writers might use this form when they want to share a compelling story in a way that engages readers and prompts them to take action. After all, personal reportage essays are different than normal reporting, because they are intended to touch readers on an emotional level.

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Writing the Personal Essay 101

This course guides beginning and intermediate writers through elements of how to write a personal essay, helping them identify values expressed in their stories and bring readers into the experiences described. Writers learn how to avoid the dreaded responses of "so what?" and "I guess you had to be there" by utilizing sensory details, learning to trust their writing intuitions, and developing a skilled internal editor to help with revision.

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