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.
One 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This does not mean that research is necessarily outdated; sociology is about analysis and reflection, for which we need time.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...)
January 5, 2017 07:12 PM PST
These two different activities are very similar. Their specificity and features are closely related to each other. However, there are a number of differences.
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