This article brings together perspectives from digital media studies and journalism scholarship to propose a working definition of digital journalism that can guide scholarship and applied research in this field. We define digital journalism as “those practices of newsgathering, reporting, textual production and ancillary communication that reflect, respond to, and shape the social, cultural and economic logics of the constantly changing digital media environment.” We elaborate and illustrate this definition through a discussion of the co-evolving relationship of journalism with the Internet and social media platforms since the 2000s and outline in detail how social news outlets such as BuzzFeed are paradigmatic examples of these dynamics and relationships. The article concludes by emphasizing the urgent need for both the study and practice of digital journalism in the public interest, especially in the context of an increasingly platformed and closed media system. We focus particularly on the methodological challenges and threat to public oversight that recent moves to platform enclosure and lockdown represent and provide some suggestions as to how these might be addressed.
Citation: Burgess, J. & Hurcombe, E. (2019). Digital journalism as symptom, response, and agent of change in the platformed media environment, Digital Journalism, 7(3): 359-367. DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2018.1556313