The Temporal Tipping-Point: Regimentation, representation and reorientation in ethnographic journalism

Anne Kirstine Hermann

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


“Slow journalism” is a term anthropologist and sociologists sometimes use to describe their empirical work, ethnography. To journalists and media observers, meanwhile, “slow journalism” signifies a newfound dedication to serious long-form journalism. Not surprisingly, thus, “ethnographic journalism”—a genre where reporters adopt research strategies from social science—takes “slow” to the extreme. Immersing themselves in communities for weeks, months and years, ethnographic journalists seek to gain what anthropologists call “the native's point of view”. Based on in-depth interviews with practitioners and analyses of their journalistic works, this paper offers a study of ethnographic journalism suggesting that slow time operates in at least three separate registers. First, in terms of regimentation, ethnographic journalism is mostly long-form pieces that demand time-consuming research and careful writing and editing. Second, in terms of representation, practitioners report on the quotidian rather than urgent events. Third, deceleration is an essential tool for acquiring an insider's perspective. Ethnographic journalists describe a point during reporting at which their attitudes begin to change and they start to understand how things make sense to their sources. Their accounts reveal processes of “reorientation”—an added aspect of deceleration that must be included in the debate on “slow journalism”.
TidsskriftJournalism Practice
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)492-506
StatusUdgivet - 2016
Udgivet eksterntJa


  • journalistik
  • etnografi
  • temporalitet
  • fortællende journalistik
  • tid
  • slow journalism

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