Journalism studies and its core commitments: The making of a communication field

Matt Carlson, Sue Robinson, Seth C. Lewis, Daniel A. Berkowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


This article conceptualizes the distinctiveness of fields of scholarship within the discipline of communication through particular normative assumptions and identity practices defined here as commitments. A case study of journalism studies results in the postulation of six conceptual commitments that define its core ontological and epistemological premises: contextual sensitivity, holistic relationality, comparative inclination, normative awareness, embedded communicative power, and methodological pluralism. These interrelated features articulate the central dimensions of journalism studies, establishing the boundaries of the field and its relational, cultural, holistic, ecological, and contextual acts of scholarship. This article provides a blueprint for other communication scholars to address assumptions and commitments that situate and define their subdisciplines as distinct fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-25
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 International Communication Association.


  • Communication
  • Discipline
  • Field.
  • Journalism
  • Journalism Studies
  • Relationality


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