journalistic chronicle



We explain what a journalistic chronicle is, its structure, types and other characteristics. Also, differences with a news item.

In the journalistic chronicle, everything related must be real and objective.

What is a journalistic chronicle?

A chronicle journalism is a narrative text of the journalistic genre, that is, a narration written for documentary purposes, to address an aspect of the reality that the journalist considers of news interest. In it, events of a different nature are recounted, whether they have been witnessed by the journalist or have been recomposed by means of the research, and that can cover a very long period of time: days, weeks or years.

The interesting thing about the chronicle is that it is a gender hybrid, who uses all kinds of resources to tell his story, even those that are typically literary, such as the metaphor or stylistic devices.

However, being a text non-fiction, everything related must be real and objectiveIn other words, imagination and invention have no place. For the rest, the journalistic chronicles are usually long and are often considered halfway between the reportage and the News.

The appearance of the chronicle in the journalistic field is considered something typical of the Contemporary age, despite the fact that there is a very remote and ancient history of chronicles, with which historians, explorers and adventurers gave testimony of the world they discovered in their wake.

In fact, between the 9th and 15th centuries the chronicle was "invented" as a historiographic genre, that is, as a support for the history. There were great examples of this in the discovery and colonization of America by the Europeans.

Characteristics of the journalistic chronicle

The journalist may have witnessed the events narrated in the chronicle.

Broadly speaking, the journalistic chronicle is characterized by the following:

  • It is a journalistic narrative that combines the objectivity of the report with the narrative mechanisms of the literature. However, fiction has no place in it.
  • It relates real and verifiable events that the journalist may have witnessed or that he has recomposed from third party testimonies. These events can be very long in time (days, months, years, etc.).
  • Not like others journalistic texts, has the stamp of its author, so it does not respond to a pre-established and standardized format. Its structure is free and diverse.
  • They are usually long texts, which address a topic in depth, offering the reader a combination of informative data and narration.

Structure of the journalistic chronicle

Unlike other journalistic texts, the structure of the chronicle is entirely free. It does not respond to the traditional consideration of the "inverted pyramid", nor should it necessarily go from the general to the specific. In these respects it acts rather as a literary text.

Types of journalistic chronicle

Chronicles of events can address criminal, violent and catastrophic events.

The journalistic chronicle can be classified according to its content, as follows:

  • Chronicle of events. Also called a black chronicle, it deals with criminal and violent acts or accidents and catastrophes, in a more or less sensationalist way (depending on the profile of the news outlet).
  • Sports chronicle. As its name implies, it focuses on the narration of sporting events, often trying to carefully reproduce how things happened, to give the reader a sense of what it was like to be there.
  • Political chronicle. It addresses issues of national, international or regional political interest, such as wars, international congresses, diplomatic meetings or electoral elections.
  • Chronicle of society. Focus your story on social events that may be of public interest, such as show business, royal weddings or national events. It should not be confused with social journalism, which is interested in issues of collective claim and class struggle.
  • Travel Chronicle. It recounts a trip in which the journalist took part, or recomposes the trips of some person of interest.

Difference between the chronicle and the news

The differences between the chronicle and the news have to do, fundamentally, with the hybrid character of the chronicle, which allows it a greater quota of expressive freedoms, and endows it with an “author's stamp” which the news lacks. The latter is not even usually signed, since it consists of an objective text for which the newspaper is responsible.

These differences can be summarized as:

News Journalistic Chronicle
They are generally short texts, written with language transparent and objective. They are long-term texts, written in a language more or less literary.
It responds to the structure of the inverted pyramid. It does not respond to any preconceived structure.
Address an event of news interest, going from the most specific to the most general. It addresses a series of events of public interest, but through a particular look.
It is not usually signed. It bears the signature and style of its author.

How to make a journalistic chronicle?

Paraphrasing Roque Rivas Zambrano, editor of the newspaper The time from Ecuador and a student of the chronicle, to write one of these texts it is advisable to be guided by the following series of steps:

  • Choose a topic well, which should invite the chronicler to be curious and passionate enough to build a piece that captures the reader's interest. In that sense, there are no better themes than others.
  • To consider the topic, that is, to choose a fundamental axis or a fundamental idea from which the chosen topic will be approached, considering which of its edges you want to explore and which you do not.
  • Select the sources, which according to the famous Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski (1932-2007) must be of three types: people, documents and the real world itself.
  • Choose the approach to the chronicle, which means that we must choose between a more descriptive text (the information), a more narrative (the story) and one more opinion (the arguments). Ideally we can have elements of all three approaches, but one usually always predominates over the others.
  • Working with style, with this the author refers to writing with a simple, but rich, clear, concise, precise, but interesting language. That is, write the text in such a way that it is not a mere recounting of facts, but that it is not a poetic ode either.
  • Take literary loans, that is, apply methods, mechanisms and procedures from literature and other formats, such as dialogues, the points of view, the global portraits, the metaphors, the descriptions, etc.
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