Members of the press help shed sunlight on the inner workings of government, expose flaws and problems in our system, and inform the citizenry, making journalism a cornerstone of a healthy democracy—and a subject deserving of careful consideration and thoughtful critique.

The style of news reporting known as explanatory journalism, which has exploded in popularity in recent years, is particularly worthy of attention for its role in improving public knowledge and contributing to a more informed populace.

The videos below—featuring journalists Max Ehrenfreund, Ezra Klein, David Leonhardt, and Amber Phillips—and the accompanying analyses on the FixGov blog examine the importance of explanatory journalism in particular and contribute to Brookings’ ongoing examination of the intersection of media and democracy.

An introduction from E.J. Dionne, Jr.
What is explanatory journalism?
The challenges and rewards of working in explanatory journalism
How digital platforms enhance explanatory journalism
The role of explanatory journalism in America’s democracy
Why explanatory journalism makes financial sense
The future of explanatory journalism

Read analyses on our FixGov blog

Blog Post

How digital tools are enhancing journalism’s mission

This post is part of our project examining the importance of explanatory journalism. In this post, Terri Rupar, the national digital editor for The Washington Post, explains how new digital tools are helping journalists reach a wider audience. 

March 3, 2016, Terri Rupar

Blog Post

Explanatory journalism: A tool in the war against polarization and dysfunction

In the present-day world of media and politics, we live in the best of times and the worst of times. As part of our series on examining the importance of explanatory journalism, Thomas Mann argues that explanatory journalism can improve democracy and reduce polarization. 

February 29, 2016, Thomas E. Mann

Blog Post

Can explanatory journalism cure the internet?

As part of our series on examining the importance of explanatory journalism, Richard Fawal argues that explanatory journalism can save the internet from its worst tendencies. 

February 26, 2016, Richard Fawal

Blog Post

Shining light on explanatory journalism’s impact on media, democracy, and society

While members of the media have used explanatory journalism for some time, increased attention has been focused on this tactic as a counterweight to  the breaking news, in-the-moment type of journalism that offers readers speed over nuance. In this post, John Hudak introduces a new project dedicated to understanding the function, form, and impact of explanatory journalism. 

February 24, 2016, John Hudak