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Epistemology and Journalism

Encyclopedia entry
Authors Mats Ekström
Oscar Westlund
Published in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190...
Keywords authority, discourse, epistemology, factuality, forms of knowledge, journalism, justification, knowledge, knowledge claims, news, norms, sociology of knowledge, verification, journalism studies
Subject categories Media and Communications

Abstract

Epistemology is a central issue in journalism research. Journalism is among the most influential knowledge-producing institutions in modern society, associated with high claims of providing relevant, accurate, and verified public knowledge on a daily basis. More specifically, epistemology is the study of how, in this case, journalists and news organizations know what they know and how the knowledge claims are articulated and justified. Practices related to justification have been studied in (a) text and discourse; (b) journalist practices, norms, and routines within and outside the newsroom; and (c) audience assessment of news items and acceptance or rejection of the knowledge claims of journalism. Epistemology also includes the study of news and journalism as particular forms of knowledge. In journalism research, sociological approaches on epistemology have been developed to understand the institutionalized norms and practices in the processing of information and in socially shared and variable standards of justification, as well as in the authority of journalism in providing exclusive forms of knowledge in society. In recent years, epistemology has received increased scholarly interest in response to transformations within journalism: digitalization, emerging forms of data journalism, the acceleration of the news cycle, diminished human resources and financial pressure, and forms of audience participation.

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