Virtual Event: Angèle Christin at LSE Digital Ethnography Collective and Rutgers Digital Ethnography Working GroupMetrics at Work


The LSE Digital Ethnography Collective (LDEC) and Rutgers Digital Ethnography Working Group (DEWG) are excited to invite you to our co-hosted zoom conversation with Stanford ethnographer Angèle Christin on Friday 12th February (1-3pm EST/6-8pm GMT). We will be discussing her new book Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms (Princeton University Press, 2020).

Professor Christin will be interviewed by Jeffrey Lane (DEWG Co-Chair) and Zoë Glatt (LDEC Co-Founder) and the event will be chaired by Melissa Aronczyk (DEWG Co-Chair). They will discuss the book’s findings and how Christin adapted her fieldwork to study algorithms inside the newsroom, in addition to the new methods Christin has developed to study algorithmic labor ethnographically during social distancing. This will be followed by a Q&A with all event attendees.


When the news moved online, journalists suddenly learned what their audiences actually liked through algorithmic technologies that scrutinize web traffic and activity. How have audience metrics changed journalists’ work practices and professional identities? In Metrics at Work, Angèle Christin analyzes the ways that journalists grapple with audience data in the form of clicks, and how new forms of clickbait journalism travel across national borders. Drawing on four years of fieldwork in web newsrooms in the United States and France, including more than one hundred interviews with journalists, Christin reveals many similarities among the news websites—their editorial goals, technological tools, and even office furniture. Yet she uncovers crucial and paradoxical differences in how American and French journalists understand audience analytics and how these affect the news produced in each country. The book shows how distinct cultural forces and journalistic traditions shape how journalists make sense of digital metrics. Contrary to the popular belief that analytics and algorithms are globally homogenizing forces, Metrics at Work shows that computational technologies can have surprisingly divergent ramifications for work and organizations worldwide.


Angèle Christin is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and affiliated faculty in the Sociology Department and Program in Science, Technology, and Society at Stanford University. She studies how algorithms and analytics transform professional values, expertise, and work practices. You can follow her on Twitter @AngeleChristin and visit her website

LDEC and DEWG are likeminded organisations set up to facilitate conversations and collegiality around digital ethnography. Follow us on Twitter (@DigEthnogLSE and @RutgersDEWG) to hear about exciting developments in digital ethnographic scholarship as well as updates on all of our future events~