Locating the “Digital” in Digital Journalism Studies: Transformations in Research

Sue Robinson, Seth C. Lewis, Matt Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This essay applies six commitments for journalism studies to research involving digital technologies, namely: contextual sensitivity, holistic relationality, comparative inclination, normative awareness, embedded communicative power, and methodological pluralism. We argue that the emergent characteristics of digital journalism–as reflected in algorithms, automation, networking tools, and mass posting, sharing, and production with a click of a button–bring on transformations that must be theorized holistically, contextually, and relationally as part of a subfield of journalism studies called “digital journalism studies.” Spatial and temporal considerations inform this argument and complicate how the field of journalism studies examines news production and consumption. It is within the studies of “transformation” that we as researchers find an emergent theory that not only reveals the disruption of norms and introduction of new developments, but also exposes enduring power dynamics. By locating the “digital” in digital journalism studies through the lens of these six commitments, scholars can better identify evolving and blurring boundaries of news content and its production, distribution, and consumption processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-377
Number of pages10
JournalDigital Journalism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 16 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Change
  • digital
  • journalism studies
  • media
  • power
  • social
  • technology
  • transformation


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