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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I, anyone? 

In the past month, I've noticed something rather unusual at the New York Times: the widespread use of first-person narrative outside the op-ed page. Often considered a journalistic faux pas, the pronoun "I" has nevertheless gained currency at America's newspaper of record. Take this article for example, in which the author makes liberal use of first-person while rhapsodizing, improbably, about mosquitoes.

Personally, I think first-person has its benefits. It absolves journalists of the need to use awkward circumlocutions like "this author", "yours truly", etc., on the few occasions that first-person becomes necessary. But more importantly, it has a kind of endearing quality that can infuse greater sincerity into an otherwise dispassionate piece of writing. After all, there is a vicarious pleasure in reading about the experiences of others - even lowly staff writers - through their own eyes, as opposed to plodding through a bland third-person description of events.

Comments:
Ok, so, this was definitely way out there.

I, being a science student and all, reflexively avoid the use of first person pronouns, although there are times and places where I have seen them. It does tend to change the flow a good bit, and can make words move faster, being that you can use the active voice much more easily.

I'd actually read the articles and possibly comment more closely, however I am lazy and unwilling to sign up for NYT or most other publications. Paranoia is also a possibility.
 
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