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The datafication of digital journalism: A history of everlasting challenges between ethical issues and regulation

Porlezza, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-1400-5879 (2023). The datafication of digital journalism: A history of everlasting challenges between ethical issues and regulation. Journalism, 25(5), pp. 1167-1185. doi: 10.1177/14648849231190232


Data permeates nearly all spheres of society, and journalism is no exception to this since data has become a cornerstone of reality construction and perception. This contribution sets out to historicize the datafication processes in digital journalism and the way in which European institutions of media (self-)regulation have dealt with ethical issues regarding the use of data in algorithmic journalism in three areas: accountability, transparency, and privacy. The article shows that the process of datafication in journalism cannot be observed and analyzed in isolation, given that there is a double reflexivity between data-driven societal transformation processes and what happens in journalism. However, almost all press councils in Europe have so far ignored data-driven phenomena like algorithms or news automation. As a consequence, if self-regulators do not regulate, other institutions will, with the risk of news organizations being forced to make decisions on the grounds of regulatory frameworks that are not primarily intended for journalism.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page ( Request permissions for this article.
Publisher Keywords: Journalism, datafication, algorithms, automation, artificial intelligence, big data, self-regulation, ethics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
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