ERIC Number: ED350606
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Meaning and Validity in Ethnographic Studies of Journalism: You Can't Have One without the Other.
Journalists have some justification for dismissing scholarly inquiries into their craft because communication science does not take journalists and their craft seriously either. Empirical research into journalistic practices fails to take journalism seriously in the sense Jurgen Habermas outlined: meanings of news texts are described without reference to the conditions of their validity with respect to the news claims such texts are intended to convey. A three-volume work by a team of University of Toronto (Ontario, Canada) investigators (Richard Ericson, Patricia Baranek, and Janet Chan) on how Canadian journalists and mass media work can be taken as a paradigm for such empirical research. The theoretical and methodological presuppositions of the Ericson-Baranek-Chan research constitute a principled exclusion of validity as a legitimate object of inquiry. This failure to include the question of validity results in a forced, if not totally alien, account of journalistic efforts to establish factuality. Their interpretation of the news text overestimates its autonomous status by disregarding its illocutionary force in proclaiming the news. By including Habermasian insights into communicative action in their theoretical and methodological approaches to journalistic news-making, sociological interpreters will be more likely to address journalism as it is. (Thirty-one references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Canada; Communication Context; Empirical Research; Habermas (Jurgen); Journalism Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (75th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 5-8, 1992).