Journalism’s Role in Society: Examining its Relationship with Social Science

Is Journalism a Social Science?

As journalism has become increasingly popular and widely used, questions have arisen about its relationship with social science. Some scholars have argued that journalism qualifies as an applied social science, while others have raised doubts.

Proponents of the argument that journalism is a social science cite its scientific methodology and pivotal role in society. They also emphasize the importance of ethics and storytelling techniques.


Journalists report on the events, facts, ideas, and people of society. These stories inform society about its activities and provide insight into how it functions. This makes journalism a social science.

Several different disciplines influence journalism studies, including social and cultural theory. Cultural analysis seeks to understand how different aspects of a culture can shape the way journalists think and act.

A key aspect of journalism is objectivity, which demands that the journalist test information to ensure it is valid. This ensures that the reporter’s personal and cultural biases do not compromise the accuracy of the reporting. Seeking out multiple witnesses, disclosing sources, and avoiding plagiarism are all examples of this type of journalism.

Journalistic ethics also require a commitment to citizens. This covenant means that journalists must present a balanced view of all the constituents of a community. Ignoring certain groups of citizens can have the effect of disenfranchising them. Normative theories such as the fourth estate theory suggest that this covenant is essential to democracy.


Getting the facts right, especially in a time of increasing information proliferation, is a vital responsibility that journalism has. Citizens rely on an honest forum for debate and decision-making. If public discussion is based on inaccurate and skewed data, it degrades the quality of life for everyone.

A significant portion of this obligation resides in the hands of journalists, and that is one of the reasons why they have a special set of privileges in democratic societies. This includes public funding for print, radio and TV broadcasting, as well as laws protecting copyright and libel.

Even if they don’t recognize it, anyone who writes a blog, posts to social media or sends a tweet engages in a shorthand version of the journalistic process. They come across information, decide whether it’s believable and worth sharing, then present it in the most effective way. Even this process requires a commitment to truth and a willingness to practice the craft relentlessly.


Journalism is a significant part of society and plays a vital role in both illuminating and shaping it. This is especially true in a digital age where the lines between reporting and scholarly research increasingly blur. Moreover, journalistic content is most effective when it consists of verified information and not prejudice or supposition.

As a result, journalists must be able to keep an objective mindset at all times as they collect and report news. While this may limit their ability to write a compelling story, it ensures that they present accurate information in their work.

This is a key aspect of journalism that aligns it with the methodologies of social sciences. Whether a journalist is writing for a traditional media outlet or simply sharing an interesting article on their social media account, they must apply the same processes of gathering and filtering information. This includes determining the relevance of their news, assessing its strength and weaknesses, and ensuring that it is not biased in any way.


The counterargument to the argument that journalism is a social science rests on several pivotal points. Among them, it stresses the subjectivity of literary interpretation and a journalist’s profound responsibility to present information truthfully and impartially. Additionally, the counterargument highlights the ethical issues and storytelling techniques that are inherent in journalism. It also cites the endorsements of prominent scholars to bolster this viewpoint.

In addition, the counterargument argues that it is very rare in the study of humans to find simple cause-and-effect relationships. As such, it would be difficult to categorize journalism as a scientific discipline.

Moreover, a news story focuses on a specific development and often updates with new developments as they occur. The concept of breaking news is a good example of this.

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