J-School Ethnography: Mending the gap between the academy and journalism training?

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Abstract

The norms of modern journalism were shaped by the development of university-based journalism programs in the United States in the late nineteenth century. In Europe, journalism still struggles with ongoing “academicization”. Academic subjects introduced in j-schools, however, are based on either factual trivia or media studies. Thus, journalism students encounter the social sciences as either a meta-study of their future industry or as a reservoir of factual knowledge useful when covering particular beats. The research methodologies of these sciences—the very production of knowledge—are assumed irrelevant to journalists. This article suggests that one way to bridge the gap between the academy and journalism is to introduce journalism students to social science as a toolbox. Academic methods resembling reportage—like ethnography—may serve as a convenient starting point. Yet, while the practical tasks of the ethnographer and the journalist—interviewing, observing, writing, etc.—are similar, the epistemic and ethical regimes of these two disciplines often collide. In addition to a theoretical outline, this article, therefore, presents an empirical study of ethnography in journalism education. In turn, it argues that, in the new “golden age” of narrative journalism, ethnographic strategies may become essential journalistic skills.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournalism Studies
Vol/bind18
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)228-246
ISSN1461-670X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Udgivet eksterntJa

Emneord

  • journalistik
  • journalistuddannelse
  • akademisering
  • Journalistisk etik
  • journalistisk praksis
  • etnografi

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