Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Precision journalism is the application of social and behavioral science research methods to the practice of journalism. The term was coined by Everette E. Dennis for a “Seminar in the New Journalism” that he taught in the winter of 1971 at the University of Oregon. The concept was explicated by one of his students, Neil Felgenhauer, in a term paper that became a chapter in a book based on the seminar's work. Most of the “new journalism” that inspired the seminar was the creation of talented writers such as Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, and Norman Mailer, who used fiction techniques to construct powerful narratives about real people and events. The class discussion contrasted their work with precision journalism. “In essence, all the other new journalists push reporting toward art. Precision journalists push it toward science,” said Dennis and William L. Rivers in a 1974 report. Within the field of investigative ...