Analytic journalism is a field of journalism that seeks to make sense of complex reality in order to create public understanding. It combines aspects of investigative journalism and explanatory reporting. Analytic journalism can be seen as a response to professionalized communication from powerful agents, information overload, and growing complexity in a globalised world. It aims to create evidence-based interpretations of reality, often confronting dominant ways of understanding a specific phenomenon.
It is distinctive in terms of research practices and journalistic product. At times, it uses methods from social science research. The journalist gains expertise on a particular topic, to identify a phenomenon that is not readily obvious. At its best, investigative journalism is deeply analytic, but its intent is primarily to expose. Analytic journalism's primary aim is to explain. It contextualizes its subject by describing background, historical details, and statistical data. The goal is a comprehensive explanation that shapes audience perception of the phenomenon. Analytic journalism aspires to collect disparate data and make connections that are not immediately apparent. Its effectiveness is often in the analysis between the facts rather than the facts themselves and is critically engaged with other arguments and explanations. In this way, analytic journalists attempt to give a deeper understanding of an issue.