An online journalism reading list

It’s the start of a new academic year so I thought I’d compile a list of the latest reading I would recommend for any students looking at online journalism. (If you have suggestions for additions please let me know!):

Theoretical, historical and conceptual background

  • Digital Journalism by Jones & Lee (Sage, 2011) is very comprehensive and worth reading in full.
  • Gatewatching by Axel Bruns (Peter Lang, 2005) covers areas that tend to be overlooked by journalism books, such as new media methods and startups from outside traditional media. Read: Chapter 4: Making News Open Source
  • The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler (Yale University Press, 2007) provides a wider context and is available free online. Read: Chapter 4: The Economics of Social Production.
  • We The Media by Dan Gillmor (O’Reilly, 2006) is a seminal book on citizen journalism which is also available free online.

Practical online journalism – general

  • Clearly I’m going to say my own book, the Online Journalism Handbook (2017, Routledge), [UPDATE: now in its second edition], which covers blogging and web writing, data journalism, online audio and video, interactivity, community management and law.
  • Online Journalism by Hill and Lashmar covers a wide range very well, including chapters on investigative journalism, building online communities and entrepreneurial journalism.
  • Journalism Next by Mark Briggs (2013, CQ Press) also provides a good overview, with a particularly good chapter on workflow. Read: Chapter 9: Data-driven journalism and digitizing your life
  • The Digital Journalist’s Handbook by Mark Luckie (CreateSpace, 2012) is similarly broad. Read: Chapter 6 on audio slideshows.



  • The Visual Story by Bruce Block (2007) is recommended by Adam Westbrook as a key source on narrative and editing. Westbrook’s Inside the Story series, by the way, is also worth reading.
  • The Digital Reporter’s Notebook by Mark Blaine (2013) is a wonderfully succinct book on the editorial approach to multimedia production.
  • Practicing Convergence Journalism by Janet Kolodzy (Routledge, 2013) brings her earlier work up to date, focusing less on broadcast conventions and more on universal skills. Read: Chapter 4: Short and fast: covering a spot news story.
  • Video Journalism for the Web by Kurt Lancaster (Routledge, 2013) covers the more documentary-influenced web-native forms and has a more practical focus. Read: Chapter 2: Finding a story and shaping the structure

Data journalism and visualisation

Web security

  • Deep Web for Journalists by Alan Pearce (Deep Web Books, 2013) covers the most ground here, while also providing some useful advanced search techniques.
  • Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark by Eveline Lubbers (Pluto Press, 2013) has more in-depth case studies. Read: Chapter 5: Cybersurveillance and online covert strategy: case study.
  • The Spy in the Coffee Machine by Jonathan Zittrain looks at surveillance more broadly, and prompts some useful reflections on ethics. Read: Chapter 7: Snoop to conquer: censorship, decisional privacy and ideological privacy.

Social media, community management

  • Buzzing Communities by Richard Millington (Feverbee, 2012) is one of the more practical books on what should be part of every journalist’s skillset.
  • Social Media for Journalists by Knight and Cook covers collaborative journalism but also publishing on social media, ethics, law and enterprise.
  • The Wikipedia Revolution by Andrew Lih (2009) looks at the growth of that particular site’s community. Read: Chapter 5: Community at work (The Piranha Effect).

Ethics, distribution, law and entrepreneurship

  • Newsonomics by Ken Doctor (St Martin’s Press, 2010) is a key volume on the business of publishing and journalism.
  • Using the Defamation Act 2013 and Internet Law, both by Cleland Thom (2013) are impeccably succinct, plain-language overviews of the legal side of things.
  • Ethics for Digital Journalists (Zion & Craig, eds, 2015) tackles ethical issues with a particular strength in data journalism and liveblogging.
  • Online Journalism Ethics by Friend & Singer (ME Sharpe, 2007) provides useful case studies and dilemmas for considering broader online ethical issues.
  • Creative Disruption by Simon Waldman (2010) tackles businesd change from the point of view of established companies, and is also worth reading in full.
  • Entrepreneurial Journalism by Mark Briggs (2011) provides more practical advice on creating a content business in a multiplatform environment.
  • The Entrepreneurial Journalist’s Toolkit by Sara Kelly (2015) covers a range of skills including audience profiling and community management.
  • Misunderstanding the Internet by Curran et al (Routledge, 2012) is an excellent all-round debunker of various assumptions made about the web. Read: Chapter 4: Outsourcing internet regulation for a broader insight into the legal and regulatory context of online journalism.
  • The Search by John Battelle looks at the development of the search engine industry – essential to understanding modern distribution. Read: Chapter 7: The Search Economy.
  • Click by Bill Tancer (HarperCollins, 2008) looks at the same subject from the point of view of an analytics company. Read: Chapter 6: What are you afraid of? And other telling questions.
  • The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick looks at the history of the social network, and the dynamics driving its development. Read: Chapter 16: The evolution of Facebook.
  • Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (2008) looks at changing dynamics in new media. Read: Chapter 10: Failure for Free for a call-to-arms around Just Doing It.
  • What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis looks at similar dynamics through the angle of Google. Read: Chapter 7: New economy to challenge preconceptions around mass production.
  • The Pirate’s Dilemma by Matt Mason is a book about cultural change – you can download it and pay what you want hereRead: Chapter 5: Boundaries: Disco nuns, the death of the record industry, and our open-source future.

I maintain a collection of recommended books in an Amazon list here. You can also find books that I’ve bookmarked by going to and adding /t: followed by the subject you’re interested in – for example


4 thoughts on “An online journalism reading list

  1. Pingback: Uma lista de livros sobre ciberjornalismo : Ponto Media

  2. Pingback: #Tip: Check out this reading list of online journalism resources | Editors Blog |

  3. Pingback: Livros sobre ciberjornalismo | Media & Jornalismo

  4. Pingback: 7 ideas for things to do over the summer while preparing to start a journalism course | Online Journalism Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.