What's the Difference between Sociology and Journalism?
By Karen Sternheimer
It’s not uncommon for students to ask me this question, particularly
after reading a selection from ethnographic research. In my opinion,
good journalism and good sociology have a lot in common, but there are
important distinctions. Some excellent sociological work is actually
done by journalists— Barbara Ehrenreich comes to mind—and journalists occasionally use sociologists as sources for analysis or for context for their stories.
The following points are not exhaustive, nor are they intended to be
a set of rules, but they do provide a general guide to the distinctions
between sociology and journalism.
- In journalism, time is of the essence
of the purposes of journalism is to let us know what happened that day,
or increasingly what is happening right now. Sociology has the luxury
of time: if you ever noticed, research published in journals was
typically conducted at least a year earlier. And if a study is based on a large data set, say from the census or another government agency, it is likely to be at least two to three years old.
This does not mean that research is necessarily outdated; sociology
is about analysis and reflection, for which we need time. Journalism
often includes analysis, but rarely are stories reflected on years
later unless they are major events, like the attacks of September 11th or the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.(leer más...)
Posted at 08:12 am by era-ser