Alfred Hermida is an online news pioneer, digital media scholar and journalism educator. He is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia School of Journalism, and a founding member of the award-winning BBCNews.com website.
His research interests include the impact of digital communications technology on journalism and new models of journalism education. He co-authored Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers, published in 2011 by Wiley-Blackwell.
He leads the integrated journalism program at the graduate School of Journalism of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. The program is based on a model of professional journalism education based on knowledge-enhancement, emerging media and interdisciplinarity, rather than just on static craft development based on industry-specific norms and structures.
Skill development is grounded in learning activities that foster reflexivity into how media is changing due to by the interplay between technologies, journalistic practices and society.
Through his research at UBC, and his earlier work at the BBC, he has built an international reputation as an authority on new media, with his work appearing in Journalism Practice, New Media and Society and M/C Journal. His work has explored changes in journalistic practices, challenges to established professional dynamics, the role of user-generated content and processes of innovation.
By investigating the information architecture of digital media and the increased opportunities for audience involvement, he has sought to contribute to rethinking the way we understand journalism in the contemporary media environment.
Since joining UBC in 2006, he has launched a series of applied research projects designed to connect academic research with industry. These digital initiatives combine scholarly work, student training and practical applications to investigate new directions for media, while contributing to the culture of innovation in Canada.
They include a partnership with CBC Radio 3 to research and develop a participatory online resource for Canadian music, and a collaboration with IBM Canada to investigate the application of data visualization technologies in journalism.
Hermida was named an IBM CAS Canada Research Faculty Fellow in 2010 and was a finalist in the New Media BC 2009 PopVox Individual Stand Out Awards in the Digital Education category. He won a 2010 Canadian Online Publishing Award for best blog for Reportr.net, and a Commendation of Merit in the SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards program for UBC/CBC Radio 3 project, the Canadian Music Wiki. He was also the first online journalist to be awarded a Knight-Wallace Fellowship by the University of Michigan.
An award-winning journalist, Hermida is a 16-year veteran of the BBC and was a founding news editor of the BBC News website in 1997. During his four years as daily news editor, the site won the BAFTA for best news website four years in a row. His has also written for The Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The Guardian and NPR.
Prof. Hermida joined the website after working in BBC radio and television national outlets, and after spending four years as a BBC foreign correspondent in the Middle East, covering military coups, presidential assassinations and the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Areas of research:
New media, social media, participatory journalism, emerging forms of digital journalism, user-generated content and new models of journalism education.