What on Earth do Journalists Know? A New Model of Knowledge Brokers' Expertise

Zvi Reich, Hagar Lahav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The article offers a new theoretical model that conceptualizes the "exotic"expertise of journalists and other knowledge-brokers who specialize in particular domains (e.g., teachers, librarians, analysts). The model adapts theories from sociology, pedagogy and philosophy and juxtaposes them against the insights of 14 editors-in-chief from leading Israeli media, in order to validate, refine and illustrate the theoretical generalizations. According to the suggested model, specialized knowledge brokers develop a unique type of expertise that can be modeled across four distinct dimensions: The manifestation of expertise (doing/talking), the mechanism of expertise (interplay between journalistic and domain knowledge), the socio-epistemic position (outsiders/insiders) and the density of expertise (homogenous versus heterogeneous knowledge). Understanding journalists' expertise is crucial due to the overwhelming assault on experts in "post truth"societies; their role as mega brokers of expert knowledge from all disciplines (outside one's own expertise) and the ongoing scholarly dispute on the nature of expertise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-81
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Expertise
  • Journalism
  • Knowledge Brokers
  • Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)
  • Reporters and Commentators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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