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Knowledge-production in journalism: Translation, mediation and authorship in Brazil.
This paper seeks to investigate knowledge-production in journalism. Based on a multi-site ethnography of two influential newspapers in Brazil, it examines how journalists mediate knowledge claims made by experts, policy makers and the lay public. It asks whether and how Brazilian journalists experience themselves as knowledge-makers. I argue that Brazilian journalists index their production of knowledge in reference to four main issues: depth, authorship, influence and expertise. Journalists tend to consider newsmaking a contribution to knowledge when: (1) they have the resources to do proper investigative reporting (depth); (2) they are able to help define the public agenda through their reporting and to express their opinion on events (authorship); (3) they have impact on the polity, the economy or other field they cover (influence) and (4) their journalistic knowledge is recognized by readers and by specialists (expertise). In practice, however, there are multiple obstacles that make Brazilian journalists hesitant about their contribution to knowledge, namely, intensified working conditions alongside other challenges of media convergence, the lack of plurality within the mainstream presses, the journalisms low professional status in Brazil, and informal methods to deal authoritatively with knowledge claims coming from other fields. This reveals different understandings of the epistemology of journalism and the nature of knowledge it produces, cluster around two distinct poles: an expert notion of knowledge associated with disciplinary boundaries, and another associated with journalists capacity to mediate between jurisdictions. When journalists production is assessed by the former point of view, their lack of specialized methods casts doubts on their knowledge credentials, particularly in contrast to scientific fields. By contrast, when journalists contribution is assessed from their arbitrating role, their ‘interactional expertise for producing knowledge comes to the fore. Unfairly for journalists, the traditional model of professional expertise obscures the distinct sort of knowledge journalists produce as mediators.
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Institución: Universidad Alberto HurtadoFacultad: Ciencias SocialesUnidad: Sociología