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6AAVC402 Digital Journalism

Module convenor: Dr Jonathan Gray and Dr Liliana Bounegru 
Credits: 15
Pre-requisites: only available to BA Digital Culture students and incoming Study Abroad students
Teaching pattern:
Ten one-hour lectures and ten one-hour seminars
Module description:

What is digital journalism? How are digital technologies changing journalistic practices, and with what consequences? What can research about digital journalism tell us about the role of digital technologies in society?

This module provides an introduction to digital journalism, including the current state of this field as well as different ways of studying it. It examines different responses to the emergence of digital journalism, including how digital technologies are said to change who makes the news, who is able to access it, who is given voice, who participates, how news content is produced, how news audiences are measured and quantified, how content is paid for and who makes money from the news.

These issues will be explored through a combination of key readings and “empirical experiments” with digital methods for studying web trackers, hyperlinks, online platforms, data, algorithms, bots, “fake news” and other digital objects, devices and infrastructures.

Please note that while students will indeed gain digital skills and an understanding of digital journalistic practices from this module, its focus is academic rather than vocational.

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • Provide an introduction to research and debates around how digital technologies are changing journalistic practices;
  • Develop skills to design, implement and reflect on research projects on digital journalism, including through group research activities;
  • Explore how digital methods may be used to study objects such as web trackers, hyperlinks, online platforms, data, algorithms, bots and “fake news” in the context of journalism.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Understand and engage with recent research and debates about digital journalism;
  • Design and implement an empirical study on the role of digital technologies in journalism – including through the use of digital methods for assembling, analysing and visualising data;
  • Reflect on the broader relevance of digital journalism in society, including on the social, cultural, political and economic consequences of objects such as web trackers, hyperlinks, online platforms, data, algorithms, bots and “fake news”.

Core reading

  • Bounegru, L., Gray, J., Venturini, T., & Mauri, M. (Eds.). (2018). A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders. Amsterdam: Public Data Lab. Available at:
  • Boyer, D. (2013). The Life Informatic: Newsmaking in the Digital Era. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
  • Coddington, M. (2015). Clarifying Journalism’s Quantitative Turn. Digital Journalism3(3), 331–348.
  • Diakopoulos, N. (2015). Algorithmic Accountability. Digital Journalism, 3(3), 398–415.
  • Gerlitz, C., & Helmond, A. (2013). The Like Economy: Social Buttons and the Data-Intensive Web. New Media & Society, 15(8), 1348–1365.
  • Gray, J., Bounegru, L., & Chambers, L. (Eds.). (2012). The Data Journalism Handbook. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media. Available at:
  • Helmond, A. (2015). The Platformization of the Web: Making Web Data Platform Ready. Social Media + Society, 1(2).
  • Helmond, A. (2017). Historical Website Ecology: Analyzing Past States of the Web Using Archived Source Code. In N. Brügger (Ed.), Web 25: Histories from the First 25 Years of the World Wide Web. New York: Peter Lang.
  • Kitchin, R. (2017). Thinking Critically About and Researching Algorithms. Information, Communication & Society, 20(1), 14–29.
  • Venturini, T., Jacomy, M., Bounegru, L., & Gray, J. (2017). Visual Network Exploration for Data Journalists. In S. Eldridge II & B. Franklin (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook to Developments in Digital Journalism Studies. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Available at:
  • Witschge, T., Anderson, C. W., Domingo, D., & Hermida, A. (Eds.). (2016). The SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism. London: Sage.


Assessment pattern: 2 x 2000 word essays (50% each)

Reassessment method: Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

 The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.


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