ERIC Number: ED247585
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
On the Epistemology of Investigative Journalism.
Ettema, James S.; Glasser, Theodore L.
In focusing on the epistemology of journalism, this paper seeks to determine how reporters, particularly investigative reporters, know what they know. It begins by distinguishing between the validity of knowledge claims and their everyday justification, assuming the latter to be the proper focus for a phenomenological study of what passes as knowledge among journalists. The paper then examines the investigative process as practiced by a distinguished reporter, and concludes that although the process may verify knowledge claims it does, by increments, justify the telling of a story that embodies those claims. It recounts the phases of justification: (1) a tip is selected if it may lead to a potentially productive investigation; (2) evidence is collected, not to prove the story but to justify the assembly of a story that can be further scrutinized; and (3) the story is tested by assembly to determine if the components validate each other and the story. The paper suggests that if a story, once assembled, cannot be disconfirmed, it emerges from the process as fully justified. The paper concludes that it does not seek to promote the process of justification as the best model for investigative reporting, but rather presents the process as a practical human achievement and a workable procedure for accomplishing practical tasks. (Author/CRH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Investigative Journalism; Investigative Reporting
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (67th, Gainesville, FL, August 5-8, 1984).