Disrupting the News: How Technology is Transforming the Media


Technology has transformed the way news is produced, delivered and consumed around the world. From disruption in business models to changes in readership and access, digital platforms make journalism more vibrant and also more fragile. It is rare to find an industry that has been able to expand its market so rapidly and develop dynamic new ways to interact with consumers -- and yet find itself facing an existential crisis. This dissonance is what makes the nexus of media and technology so fascinating.

This course will examine those changes, starting with a brief introduction to the impact of other technologies (such as the telegraph or television) and then focusing closely on the Internet.

We will examine how technology has affected:

  1. Worldwide access to journalism, wherever it is reported or published. This includes changes in revenues and costs and in how journalists perform their roles;
  2. Faster response to news by journalists and their consumers, with implications for the ethics and accuracy of those stories;
  3. Lower costs of production, enabling greater competition and requiring dynamic new business models;
  4. New platforms, particularly in social media, that shift the balance of power in news and threaten to disintermediate traditional players;
  5. Greater mobility in news, for journalists and their audiences.

Assignments will include readings from authors such as Postman, Shirky and Brand, along with the opportunity to study and manipulate real-time user data from news organizations, thanks to our relationship with Chartbeat (https://chartbeat.com/). We will have access to guest speakers in New York City’s vibrant new-media market, including venture capitalists who fund journalism startups.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Emily Bell

Emily Bell

Emily Bell is founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and a leading thinker, commentator and strategist on digital journalism. 

Established in 2010, the Tow Center has rapidly built an international reputation for research into the intersection of technology and journalism. The majority of Bell’s career was spent at Guardian News and Media in London working as an award-winning writer and editor both in print and online. As editor-in-chief across Guardian websites and director of digital content for Guardian News and Media, Bell led the web team in pioneering live blogging, multimedia formats, data and social media, making the Guardian a recognized pioneer in the field. 

She is co-author of “Post Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present” (2012) with CW Anderson and Clay Shirky. Bell is a trustee on the board of the Scott Trust, the owners of The Guardian, a member of Columbia Journalism Review’s board of overseers, an adviser to Tamedia Group in Switzerland, has served as chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council on social media, and has served as a member of Poynter’s National Advisory Board. 
She delivered the Reuters Memorial Lecture in 2014, the Hugh Cudlipp Lecture in 2015, and was the 2016 Humanitas Visiting Professor in Media at the University of Cambridge. 

She lives in New York City with her husband and children.

Matt Boggie

Matt Boggie

Matt is a leading thinker and practitioner in the application of new technologies to media. He currently serves as the Chief Technology Officer at theSkimm, a company focused on helping millennial women live smarter lives. He has most recently worked as the Chief Technology Officer and part of the founding team for Axios, the news and information start-up. Prior to that he was the Director of the New York Times’ Research and Development Lab, where he had extensive experience in researching and implementing new technologies. Matt has fifteen years' intense experience on the Media and Entertainment industry, solving problems of content management, distribution, and market positioning.