The Disruption of Journalistic Expertise
In this talk I will present a new theoretical model that attempts to explain the nature of journalistic expertise. More specifically, the model seeks to determine the extent to which journalists who cover regular news “beats” such as politics, crime, business or science, develop subject matter expertise in their domains of coverage and to what extent their expertise is interrupted by the recent media crisis, when fewer journalists are expected “to do more with less” time, resources, professional experience and organizational support. According to the dialectical model, developed with Yigal Godler, journalistic expertise has always been an interplay across five continua to be presented in this talk. Following the crisis of the media in recent years, this interplay is shifting toward more reliance on external experts at the expense of reporters' own expertise, less specialism and more generalism; less expert-centered and more audience-centered “interactional expertise”; more emphasis on news beats as a domain of responsibility rather than a domain of expertise and greater attributional expertise at the expense of substantive expertise. The shrinking specialism of journalists, against the backdrop of growing complexity and expertise in the wider society, can result either in more conformist coverage or in a more adversarial tone that is less grounded in specific knowledge.
About Zvi Reich
Zvi Reich is a visiting scholar, Annenberg School for Communication, and a senior lecturer of Communications at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and a former journalist. Dr. Reich received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (respectively in 1996, 1999, 2004). During 1983 and 1998 he served as a senior editor in different positions at Yedioth Aharonoth daily newspaper. His post-doctoral studies took place at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In 2004 he joined the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Dr. Reich authored and co-authored four books among which is Sourcing the News (Hampton Press, 2009) and published numerous papers and book chapters. He serves a board member of the Israeli Press Council and of the Presidium of the Press Council.