School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Dr Murray Dick

Lecturer In Multimedia Journalism

Background

Introduction

I lecture in Multimedia Journalism in the department of Media, Culture, Heritage.

Before moving permanently into academia (in 2009), I was a trainer in online research at the BBC, and latterly at the Centre for Investigative Journalism. I was also an occasional freelance technology journalist.

During my time at the BBC (2004-2008) I established a training praxis based loosely on the work of David A. Kolb.  This involved applying theories from Information Science (in particular concerning online search) to the practices of professional journalism, 

This knowledge informed much of my early research, including my first research monograph:Search: Theory and Practice in Journalism Online (Palgrave 2013).

Today, my approach to teaching and learning at Newcastle involves challenging the conventional ways in which journalism is often understood within the academy; compromised between vocational and liberal arts approaches.

I continue to provide expertise to industry, campaigning groups and the academy in my specialisms.  Some select examples over the past few years include:

  • The ESRC on their Impact Acceleration Account (at Newcastle University)
  • The Tax Justice Network on their 'Finance Uncovered' Programme (at City University London)
  • The Daily Telegraph on their Graduate Trainee Scheme (at Press Association headquarters in Howden, Yorkshire)
  • The Centre for Investigative Journalism on their Summer Schools and ad hoc training events (various)
  • Oxford University, on their Department for Continuing Education's Digital Humanities programme (at Oxford University)
  • Al Jazeera, for investigative journalists working on their 101 East investigative production (at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • Open Society Institute, for investigative journalists from Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan (at Baku, Azerbaijan)
Qualifications
  • PhD ('News Values in Online and Data-visual Journalism') (Brunel University, London)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Academic Practice (Brunel University, London)
  • MSc in Information Science, with distinction (City University, London)
  • BA(Hons) in English (University of York)
Membership of scholarly societies

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2012-present).

Academic activities

Editorial Board member Journalism Practice

Research

Summary

My approach to research is theoretically informed by the school of American Pragmatism (and in particularly the work of James Carey).  It concerns two discrete fields of experience:

  • The application of theories emerging from Information Science to professional journalism as practiced, and;
  • The praxis I developed as a trainer in online research at the BBC (2004-2008).

At present my research is concerned with information visualisation as a communicative form; specifically the use of information graphics in news coverage; an increasingly powerful presence in today's information society.

I have written several peer-reviewed articles on this topic, and am currently researching a critical history (for MIT Press) provisionally titled: ‘ The Infographic: A history of data graphics in news and communications’ (in preparation, 2019)

Much of my earlier research was informed by Chicago School-influenced organisational studies of the newsroom, and in particular newsroom ethnography.   I undertook participatory research based upon my own experiences and praxis gained from working with professional journalists.

Throughout my time at the BBC (2004-2008), I was tasked with finding ways of helping journalists deal with information overload, and helping to develop processes of verification in online sourcing (ie contextual background, contributors, online verification etc.).  In these studies I was concerned with the interconnection between technology and process within working culture. Much of this earlier research was theory-building in nature. 

My PhD ('News Values in Online and Data-visual Journalism') is concerned with how news values are operationalized in online journalism and visual data journalism. 

My current research interests include: 

  • Visual data journalism (news infographics)
  • Journalism studies
  • Journalism histories, and;
  • Journalism pedagogy

Teaching

Teaching roles

I lead teaching on the following modules:

I also contribute to teaching, and supervise students on the following modules:

Administrative roles

I am Digital Strategy Director for Media, Culture, Heritage. Prior to this, I was inaugural Degree Programme Director on Newcastle’s Journalism, Media and Culture BA (Hons).

Publications