Jornalismo Investigativo e Controvérsias

Tenho falado na aula que o trabalho de cartografar controvérsias poderia ser visto como similar ao jornalismo investigativo. Acabo de ler trechos da tese de Jelle Kamsma, “Digital Digging. Towards a methodology for online grounded investigative reporting“, onde ela coloca exatamente esse ponto.

Vejam abaixo trecho da dissertacão:

“A critical perspective on the relation between new media and online grounded investigative reporting is therefore essential. I will introduce some of the central concepts of ANT to get a better understanding of this complex relationship. As a social methodology for mapping controversies ANT can, I believe, offer some valuable insights for investigative journalists using the Web. Bruno Latour explained using ANT once as ‘just look at controversies and tell what you see.’ (Venturini, 2009: p. 2) This statement could just as easily be applied to investigative journalism.

ANT can be seen as an attempt to rethink sociology by moving away from social explanations. Latour criticizes ‘the sociology of the social’ for using social mechanisms as an explanation for all kinds of activities. Instead he is more interested in how different, heterogeneous actors create associations. One of the most important contributions in this light is the proposition that the type of agencies participating in interaction remains wide open. Objects should be considered mediators in the sense that ‘their input is never a good predictor of their output; their specificity has to be taken into account every time.’ (Latour: 2005: p. 39) Agency is not restricted to humans since the only question one needs to ask about any agent is the following: ‘Does it make a difference in the course of some other agent’s action or not?’ (Latour, 2005: p. 71) Technological devices such as computers and mobile phones but also search engines and recommender systems influence certain practices.

ANT is not the empty claim that objects do things ‘instead’ of human actors: it simply says that no science of the social can even begin if the question of who and what participates in the action is not first of all thoroughly explored, even though it might mean letting elements in which, for lack of a better term, we would call non- humans. (Latour, 2005: p. 72)

When a group of heterogeneous actors, humans and non-humans, are associated they make up ‘actor-networks’. These actor-networks are not fixed entities but are always in the making. Venturini uses magma as a metaphor to show how collective life is constantly melted and forged. (Venturini, 2009: p. 7) Connections and associations are formed all the time and ANT is interested in tracing these concrete links. This results in a practice that is quit common in journalism but not as obvious in the social sciences: follow the actor. The goal is to create accounts based on how actors themselves feel they relate to other actors. As Latour puts it:

…either we follow social theorists and begin our travel by setting up at the start which kind of group and level of analysis we will focus on, or we follow the actors’ own ways and begin our travels by the traces left behind by their activity of forming and dismantling groups. (Latour, 2005: p. 29)

Because of its call for a focus on heterogeneous actors (humans and non-humans), I feel ANT offers some useful insights for journalists. As Plesner showed with her research, journalists approach new media with little critical distance. On the one hand this means that most journalists are so comfortable with using search engines, email etc. that it goes without saying. However, in the online grounded investigative reporting that I propose, is critical distance towards the tools used in the investigation of great importance.

In this chapter I tried to explain the importance of a medium-specific approach when dealing with the Web. A clear understanding of the way the Internet generates, organizes and manipulates information as well as the role online objects play in this process, is vital for conducting solid online investigations. The considerations put forward in this chapter will certainly come back in the following chapters in the second part of my thesis. In these chapters I will discuss how three fundamental elements of the Web, the Website, the link and the search engine, can be used for online grounded investigative reporting. This more analytical part will provide an inventory of possible techniques and methods that can be used by investigative reporters interested in the online.”


Sobre alemos

Full Professor, Faculty of Communication, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. PhD in Sociology, Sorbonne (1995), Visiting Scholar at University of Alberta and McGill University, Canada (2007-2008) and National University of Ireland (NUI/Maynooth) (2015-2016). Coordinator of Lab 404 ( and Researcher Fellow at CNPQ (PQ-1A).
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