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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

13. The Sociology of Journalism

From the book Journalism

  • Valerie Belair-Gagnon and Matthias Revers


Sociological inquiries into journalism have considered journalism as the product of cultural, economic, political, and technological forces in different times and spaces. As part of (and like) the field of media sociology, the sociology of journalism is an interdisciplinary subfield. It has several objectives of inquiry: examining situational and larger cultural differences of journalisms; analyzing systemic complexities in which journalism arises (i.e. technological formats and change, events, normative crises or organizational structures); illuminating intended and unintended consequences of practical routines of journalism; and exploring long-term patterns of professional, institutional, and organizational changes in journalism. Analyzing journalism through the sociological prism is central for understanding its larger societal implications and a continuous reminder that journalism studies is not an end in itself. Starting in the late 1950s, the gradual relocation of sociology of journalism from sociology to communication coincided with the establishment and professionalization of the two social science disciplines in US academia. Even as communication science has now produced generations of graduates in its own doctoral programs, the intellectual centrality of the sociology of journalism continues and has been recently confirmed through post-financial crisis academic hires. This paper introduces some of the major strands of the sociology of journalism research from the beginning of the 20th century to today. It also argues that the sociology of journalism took on a new ideational and professional significance within the field.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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