Journalism always need empirical methods, but it is not like academia. Academia is isolated from reality and has buffers. It can take decades to unfold and relies on outside funding from parties with vested interests in cures, technology, marketing, even entertainment. Journalism is not that. It cannot afford to theorize or overthink. It is not there to inculcate or give lectures to the little people: it is there to find the truths hidden in lies and report them. Academia and journalism are incompatible, and if they ever got together, academics would take over, and turn the dead corpse of journalism into a Frankenstein monster, and then twist logic to argue that an undead beast is a good thing.
You have theories how j-schools need to modernize. No, they need to be shut down, and a new method of teaching take over. You need radicalization and revolution that rebels against journalism and academia, while taking elements of both to create something new.
Academia is not in a good place. You have students dictating how they will be educated, which is sheer lunacy, but given that professors are isolated from the rest of society as if they were monks, they don't know how to push back because they know what they have is flawed. We have accusations of an Euro-centric system, but what we need is not diversity: what we need is universality: finding core principles that are present across the board, regardless of "centricity". Reality may be situational, but truth is not. There is no such thing as "your truth" -- you do not own it as it is not a slave to primitive, manipulative, and selfish humans. It is larger than us.
We do not even own reality, either: it is shared space. What we own are our own perceptions, interpretations, illusions, fantasies, and delusions, and these are various forms of baggage we ought to rid ourselves of as soon as possible.
Academia lost its confidence because it failed to rid itself of many of its own fantasies and delusions, and, to appease the angry mob, gave in to their fantasies. That is not the place to create a science of information-gathering that is suppose to reflect reality and find truth.
The Ivory Tower spun on a hamster wheel, slowly migrating to the Left.
But true information dissemination must always be radically centrist. You do not take sides. Heads or tail -- why does it matter? It is still the same silly coin. You cannot say one side is superior to the other when they are made of the same substance.
Journalism should have not taken sides: it should have examined the coin itself -- how much is it worth, for starters. Whose currency is it? What is it going to be used for and why?
The scientific method does have methods information-gatherers should take, and it should avoid the social sciences entirely as they are fraught with their own problems that journalism doesn't need to inherent.
Psychology seems like a social science, but over time, it moved away from its philosophy roots and made a leap toward the sciences. Journalism could benefit doing the same -- but to adapt those methods where the laboratory is the real world.
But it has to be done from scratch. The old guard from both will refuse to admit their shortcomings and limitations and will try to remodel it to their old methods. It needs to be done with a solid foundation without that baggage from either.
It should take the best of both, adding more to the mix, ensuring it does not become political or static.
It's a tall order, but the meandering methods of academia do not translate into journalism as their mandates and purposes clash. Journalism needs empirical methods, but not as if it were being done in an Ivory Tower where it will be covering people as if they were lab rats in a box. It's not neat and tidy. It's a mess, and the world needs applied empirical psychologists chronicling the world around them.
You will not find any of that in a single university. You will not find that in any media outlet. Both have things a new version requires -- but a new method needs freedom from rules and truisms to truly grow.