The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies. Edited by Bob Franklin and Scott A. Eldridge II. London, UK: Routledge, 2017. 614 pages. $204 (ISBN 978-1-138-88796-1). E-book available (978-1-315-71379-3).

This work contains fifty-seven scholarly essays, averaging more than ten pages in length that approach digital journalism as a discrete field of study. The work includes ten major topical divisions that include “Conceptualizing digital journalism studies,” “Investigating digital journalism,” “Financial strategies for digital journalism,” Digital journalism studies: Issues and debates,” “Developing digital journalism practice,” “Digital journalism and audiences,” “Digital journalism and social media,” “Digital journalism content,” “Global digital journalism,” and “Future directions.”

Through content and scope, editors and contributors to The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies clearly conceive of digital journalism as a field distinct from traditional print journalism and broadcast journalism. This sets the work apart from virtually all other journalism reference works. For comparison, the six-volume Encyclopedia of Journalism (Sage, 2009) has discrete essays such as “Digital Media Tools” and “Social Network Websites” among topics about journalism more broadly. To be fair, the Routledge Companion represents an additional eight years of development in a rapidly changing field.

This brings up a concern about this work that is acknowledged by the editors. The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies risks becoming outdated quickly in such a quickly evolving field. Still, it is reasonable to think that digital journalism is more crystallized as a field and more standardized in practice than it was a decade ago. Franklin and Eldridge have taken the opportunity to boldly create the first work of its kind.

The essays in this work are detailed enough to provide more than a conceptual overview. They approach the ability to serve as secondary, scholarly sources rather than purely tertiary sources. Each essay provides a “further reading” section and a fairly extensive list of references. For example, the essay “Digital Journalism and Tabloid Journalism” lists thirty-five references, and this is fairly typical throughout the work.

Voice throughout is scholarly enough that it might prove moderately thick to beginning undergraduates, but is readable enough to aid in the acquisition of journalistic terminology and habituation to scholarly reading. A thorough index includes people, places, publications, and relevant topics such as “community journalism.” As usual, Routledge binds the work in an attractive, but not pretentious, hard cover. The work contains occasional figures and graphs, but not photographs.

One can imagine The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies serving as a textbook in a course about digital journalism, and it could serve as a starting point for advanced undergraduate, graduate, and professional researchers in digital journalism. It certainly belongs on the shelves of any library supporting an academic program in journalism or wherever developments in digital journalism will be an interest.—Steven R. Edscorn, Executive Director of Libraries, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma


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