The Center for Anthropology and Science Communications facilitates improved communication between anthropologists, the public, and science media.
Merry Bruns, Director




"Seducing the Reader:Suggestions from a science writer"

"Cracking the Code-Anthropologists and Science Writers"

"What is AnthroJournalism?"

"Writing for Newspapers"









































Copyright 1995-2009.CASC.
Merry P. Bruns
Washington DC
All Rights Reserved.


by Randolph Fillmore
(Founder-The Center for Anthropology and Journalism, 1987)

Anthro-Journalism" is a term first used in 1985 to describe a journalism that would go beyond journalism's traditional "who, what, when, where, why" questions to examine the cultural context of human events and issues. The concept of Anthro-Journalism sees journalists and cultural anthropologists as workers in the same vinyard who share similar tools but have somewhat different goals. Anthro-Journalism suggests that those goals should intersect soon in the 21st Century.

Anthropologists seek to inform their professional colleagues while journalists inform the public. The spirit of Anthro-Journalism seeks an anthropology that is more public-spirited and more willing to share anthropological insights with a wider range of people. The spirit of Anthro-Journalism also seeks journalists and editors who, in order to develop deeper understandings, are willing and able to investigate and report on human events and issues in a comparative, holistic, and culturally non-biased manner.

Anthro-Journalism-for whom?
Anthro-Journalism can and should be practised by those with training in both anthropology and journalism. By drawing on anthropology's understanding of culture, and its personal, face-to-face approach to data through participant observtion and ethnographic method, issues and events can be more clearly understood. By utilizing the journalists' communicative skills and abilities at synthesizing information, understandings about the cultural context of issues and events can be more readily shared.

With the practise of Anthro-Journalism, journalists can, in the right place and at the right times, move beyond simple reporting to a level of analysis worthy of being called "ethnography". By doing Anthro-Journalism, the practitioner implicitly employs anthropological notions of holism and seeks an etic approach to knowledge where appropriate.

The systemic nature of human relations is not ignored in Anthro-Journalism, nor is the cultural fabric in which human relations are imbedded or woven. The comparative method is also useful to the Anthro-Journalist, who, like the anthropologist, seeks to find and report on commonalities in the human experience cross-culturally. This method will provide what journalism seeks as "context and perspective". Central to Anthro-Journalism is an approach to information that attempts to limit cultural biases.

In his book,"The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture"(1982), physical anthropologist Fritjof Capra suggests that

"...in the future journalists will change their thinking from fragmentary to holistic modes and develop a new professional ethic based on sociological and ecological awareness. Instead of concentrating on sensational presentations of aberrant, violent, and destructive happenings, reporters and editors will have to analyze the complex social and cultural patterns that form the context of such events, as well as reporting the quiet, constructive and integrative activities going on in our culture."

That is Anthro-Journalism.

Randolph Fillmore
Email: rfillmore@nasw.org

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