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Truth, Integrity and Ethics in Nonfiction
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Truth, Integrity and Ethics in Nonfiction

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  • 1. Jessica Noske-Turner TRUTH, INTEGRITY & ETHICS IN NON-FICTION
  • 2.  ‘Truth’ in non-fiction  Documentary modes  Representation  Owning truth: forms, right to veto, & the industry  Models of collaborative practice  Not intending to preach any one ‘right way’ OVERVIEW Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 3.  Documentaries seen as truth, opposite of fiction (non-fiction)  BUT documentaries are constructed  Documentary as ‘creative treatment of actuality’ (Grierson)  Documentary as journalism + art (Winston)  Documentary as crafted story (Aufderheide)  Collision of journalism + art : This American Life ep 460 TRUTH IN NON-FICTION: DIFFERENT FORMS, DIFFERENT TRUTHS Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 4. 36.26 Mike Daisey …My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism. And it's not journalism. It's theater. It uses the tools of theater and memoir to achieve its dramatic arc. And of that arc and that work I'm very proud. Because I think it made you care, Ira. And I think it made you want to delve. And my hope is it has made other people delve. Ira Glass So you're saying the story isn't true in the journalistic sense? Mike Daisey I am agreeing it is not up to the standards of journalism. And that's why it was completely wrong for me to have it on your show. And that's something I deeply regret. And I regret that the people who are listening, the audience of This American Life, who know that it is a journalistic enterprise -- if they feel misled or betrayed, I regret to them as well. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/rad io-archives/episode/460/retraction Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University COLLISION OF JOURNALISM + ART : THIS AMERICAN LIFE EP 460
  • 5. Mike Daisey I don't think that label covers the totality of what it is. Ira Glass The label, "fiction?" Mike Daisey Yeah. We have dif ferent worldviews on some of these things. I agree that truth is really important. Ira Glass I know. But I feel like I have the normal worldview. The normal worldview is somebody stands on a stage and says, "This happened to me," I think it happened to them, unless it's clearly labeled, "Here's a work of fiction." Mike Daisey I really regret putting the show on This American Life. And it was wrong for me to misrepresent to you and to Brian that it could be on the show . http://www.thisamericanlife.org/rad io-archives/episode/460/retraction Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University COLLISION OF JOURNALISM + ART : THIS AMERICAN LIFE EP 460
  • 6. Nichols 1991 + revisions  Expository mode  Observational mode  Poetic mode  Participatory mode (originally interactive mode)  Reflexive mode  Performative mode MODES OF DOCUMENTARY Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University Image from: Delofski, M. (2009) 'Dreaming a Connection: Reflections on the Documentary Subject/Filmmaker Relationship'. Scan Journal of Media Arts Culture 6 (3).
  • 7. Subsequently, I decided it was important to acknowledge these dilemmas in my narration to the film. For example, when Amal is first seen in a really ill state I comment that: ‘For the first time I felt like I was intruding.’ (THOMAS, 2 012) Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 8. The effect of using these moments certainly acknowledges my presence in the story but it also serves to create a truthful reflection on the quality of the relationship that I developed with the participants and the role of that relationship in creating the discourse. In one of these moments, at Tony’s birthday lunch, he turned to the camera and directed me to, ‘put down that camera and come here and have something to eat with us’. (DONOVAN 2012) Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 9.  Said’s The ‘Other’  Whiteness studies  Post-colonial theory  Power REPRESENTATION Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 10.  Existing laws benefit filmmakers  Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property?  http://frankellawyers.com.au/media/report/culture.pdf  Release forms  Right to veto  Interactions at the business end of town WHO OWNS ‘THE TRUTH’ Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 11. Interviewer: Tell me about the whole negotiation around your participation generally. When did he ask you? Rule: I can’t remember. I can just remember his car being out the front of my place and he dragged out a form and said ‘you’ll have to sign this form’ [...] I was a bit aware of the contract and what it entitled him to and what it didn’t entitle me to and it is, it doesn’t make you feel good because you’re giving away all your rights really, you don’t have any rights. All of that is then his, oh well it was really SBS’s [the broadcaster]. Quoting Lyn Rule, participa nt in Molly and Mobarak NASH 2012 Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 12.  Existing laws benefit filmmakers  Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property?  http://frankellawyers.com.au/media/report/culture.pdf  Release forms  Right to veto  Interactions at the business end of town WHO OWNS ‘THE TRUTH’ Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 13. We say to our subjects, ‘We are not journalists; we are going to spend years with you. Our code of ethics is very different. A journalist wouldn’t show you the footage. We will show the film before it is finished. I want you to sign the release, but we will really listen to you. But ultimately it has to be our decision.’ In some cases I will say, ‘If there is something that you can’t live with then we’ll discuss it, we will have the argument and real dialogue. In the end, if I can’t convince you then we’ll take it out.’ Quoting Gordon Quinn AUFDERHEIDE 2012 Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 14.  Existing laws benefit filmmakers  Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property?  http://frankellawyers.com.au/media/report/culture.pdf  Release forms  Right to veto  Interactions at the business end of town WHO OWNS ‘THE TRUTH’ Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 15. One Blood: the Story of William Cooper NEGOTIATIONS Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 16. As a practising, independent documentary filmmaker, I have found over the last few years that the increasingly controlling interference of television commissioning editors and executive producers has not only undermined my artistic integrity but also prevented me from behaving in what I consider to be an ethical manner towards the participants in my films. To quote one small but significant example, pressures of time and money were used as justification by the commissioners of a television documentary I made to prevent me from showing the film to its participants for comment until after it was completed. Officially, of course, this was defendable because the participants had no legal say in the final cut, but in terms of behaving decently in return for their participation I felt it was wrong. THOMAS 2012 Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 17.  Narrative Therapy (Thomas 2012)  Participatory Development (Noske-Turner 2012)  Participant as collaborator, expert, agent, owner  Dialogue, consultation  (See also Donovan 2012) MODELS OF COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 18. AGENCY IN INTERVIEWS Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 19.  Narrative Therapy (Thomas 2012)  Participatory Development (Noske-Turner 2012)  Participant as collaborator, expert, agent, owner  Dialogue, consultation  Challenges/ limitations  Interest in participating  Not for stories with high levels of conflict  Truth? MODELS OF COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 20.  Special Issues of: New Review of Film and Television Studies, 2012 Vol 10 Iss 3 Especially worthwhile are:  Aufderheide, P. (2012) 'Perceived ethical conflicts in US documentary filmmaking: a field report'. New Review of Film and Television Studies 10 (3):362-386  (See also) http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/making-your-media-matter/documents/best-practices/honest-truths-documentary-filmmakers-ethical-chall  Nash, K. (2012) 'Telling stories: the narrative study of documentary ethics'. New Review of Film and Television Studies 10 (3):318-331. (accessed 2013/10/02). 10.1080/17400309.2012.693765.  Nash, K. (2011) 'Documentary -for-the-Other: Relationships, Ethics and (Observational) Documentary'. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 26 (3):224 -239.  Winston, Brian (2000) Lies Damn Lies and Documentaries. British Film Institute, London  Nichols, Bill (1991) Representing Reality: issues and Concepts in Documentary. Indiana University Press Collaborative practice Case -Studies:  Thomas, S. (2012) 'Collaboration and ethics in documentary filmmaking – a case study'. New Review of Film and Television Studies 10 (3):332 -343  Noske-Turner, J. (2012) 'Making One Blood: A journey through participatory radio documentary production'. Journal of Media Practice 13 (2):177 -187.  Donovan, K. (2012) 'The ethical stance and its representation in the expressive techniques of documentary filming: a case study of Tagged'. New Review of Film and Television Studies 10 (3):344 - 361.  Radio documentary: Retracing the Tragedy Track by Susan Angel http://www.abc.net.au/radionational /programs/hindsight/re-tracing -the-tragedy-track/3673122 Link to the full This American Life: Retraction : http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio - archives/episode/460/retraction RECOMMENDED TEXTS Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University
  • 21. J.NOSKETURNER @GMAIL.COM Jessica Noske-Turner: PhD Candidate, QUT; Research Assistant, RMIT University