What makes a good journalist?: Empathy as a resource in journalistic work practice

Authors: Glück, A.

Journal: Journalism Studies

Volume: 17

Issue: 7

Pages: 893-903

Publisher: Routledge

ISSN: 1461-670X

DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2016.1175315


Empathy performs a central role in regulating social relations. This applies equally to journalistic work routines. To explore the concept of empathy in the understanding of journalists, 46 interviews were conducted using a cross-cultural approach between the United Kingdom and India. It became clear that empathy occupies a central place in news production, fulfilling multiple roles. It serves to achieve a comprehensive access to information and to news protagonists at the interpersonal level. Without this “invisible” mode of communication, qualitative and ethical news journalism cannot be achieved; and the authenticity and emotionality of news packages would be diminished. Empathy varies on the individual level, but especially in sensitive journalistic work fields it represents a “naturally present” core skill for journalists. A final empathic dimension is found in the imaginary empathy towards the audience which provides essential guidance for journalistic news products. Cultural differences between India and the United Kingdom are apparent in this study, but results also indicate considerable similarities in the role of empathy in different journalism cultures.

Source: Manual