Alfred Hermida

Alfred Hermida is research lead and Professor of Journalism Innovation at City, University of London. Alfred Hermida PhD is an associate professor and director of the School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia, and co-founder of The Conversation Canada. With more than two decades of experience in digital journalism, his research explores the transformation of media, with a focus on emerging news practices, media innovation, social media and data journalism. His most recent book co-authored with Mary Lynn Young, Data Journalism and the Regeneration of News (Routledge 2019), reveals how the growth of data journalism has been cultivated and sustained by professional identities, tools and technologies, and new forms of collaboration and computational thinking.

DJRG Fellow, October 2019

He is author of Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why It Matters (DoubleDay, 2014), winner of the 2015 National Business Book Award, co-author of Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers (Wiley Blackwell, 2011), and co-editor of The Sage Handbook of Digital Journalism (Sage, 2016). Hermida has a distinguished journalistic pedigree, honed through 16 years at BBC News during which he pioneered new forms of journalistic practice, including as one of the first BBC bi-media (TV and radio) foreign correspondents (1990), as a founding editor of the BBC News website (1997), as the co-creator of the first BBC World Service podcast, Go Digital (2001) and as founder of the first technology vertical on the BBC News website. He is British-Canadian, with his family roots in Gibraltar where he was born and lived until going to university in the U.K.

Title and abstract

Journalism outside in: A memoir of power, authority and identity

Journalism as an institution, with firmly established and entrenched norms and practices, has proved to be remarkably resilient given the changes and challenges of more than 20 years of digitalization. Novel actors, networked technologies and shifts in audience practices over the past two decades have led to questions about the way journalists think about and engage in their work. Scholars have traced how the practices and processes that make up journalism are happening in novel spaces in novel ways outside the institutional confines of the profession.

This talk offers a personal memoir through journalistic power, authority and identity, drawing on my professional experience at the BBC and my scholarly work on participatory journalism, social media and journalism innovation. Constant threads through my professional and scholarly work are questions of power, authority and identity in journalism.

My perspective is located in my personal narrative. Having been born and brought up in the British territory of Gibraltar, my family roots are Spanish and Italian, yet I consider myself British. As a journalist, I was drawn to departments and projects at the periphery of BBC News where there was greater latitude to pursue novel approaches. As a scholar, my research trajectory has traced the allure of participatory practices and social media to facilitate a more inclusive and open journalism.

This talk delves into the institutional power and authority of journalism as a profession through my personal, professional and scholarly lens of 30 years in the field.

Selected publications