How Journalists think about facts: Theorizing the social conditions behind epistemological beliefs

Yigal Godler, Zvi Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Journalists' ability to capture and deliver factual information is central to their sense of professionalism and to their societal and democratic functions. The need to understand journalists' dealings with facts becomes especially pronounced in an age when news organizations face an economic crisis and journalism's exclusive jurisdiction over the supply of news information is challenged by new and old forces. This study-part of the "Worlds of Journalism" research project-attempts to analyze fact-related beliefs among 1800 journalists from 18 different countries, and test their associations with a wealth of individual, cultural and organizational variables. The study draws on a rich reservoir of data from diverse regimes, institutional and national backgrounds, types of news organizations, ownership and media, as well as different genders, years of journalism experience, education and seniority. Our research appears to be well placed to evaluate journalists' degree of awareness to the challenges of reality depiction, and to outline through quantitative methods the social conditions which promote epistemological naivety in the form of objectivism, and sophistication as expressed in interpretationist epistemologies. Our findings indicate that conditions of ownership, nature of the political regime, personal beliefs and social environment, produce variance in journalists' takes on reality depiction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-112
Number of pages19
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • epistemology
  • journalism
  • journalistic fact
  • reality
  • social construction of reality
  • sociology of knowledge


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