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Dr Jingrong Tong

Dr Jingrong Tong
Senior Lecturer in Digital Media & Communications

Gaskell Building 173


Dr Jingrong Tong is Senior Lecturer in Digital Media and Culture at Brunel University London. She teaches journalism courses at the UG, PG, and PhD levels. Her current research focuses on digital technology and journalism, social data analysis and environmental communication. She is the author of two books on investigative Journalism in China and the co-editor of an edited book on digital technology and journalism. Her co-authored book on twitter communication will be published later this year. She is a member of the editorial board for Digital Journalism and Journalism Studies. She also serves as Associate Editor for Chinese Journal of Communication.


Jingrong Tong has been working in the area of journalism and news media for sixteen years first as a journalist then as an academic. Her current research interests include the impact of digital technology on journalism, social data analysis, and health and environmental communication. She has a particular interest in journalism and news media in the UK and China. The research methods adopted in her reseach range from qualitative methods such as interviews, framing analysis and critical discourse analysis to data-driven computational analysis. She had good knowledge of data analysis softwares.

Her papers have appeared in prestigious peer-reviewed journals including Media Culture and Society, Journalism, Journalism Studies, Information, Communication and Society, Science Communication, Environmental Communication, and Discourse and Society. She has received research funding from the British Academy and several universities. She has successfully completed the projects: "Constructing discourse of risks: investigative journalists and environmental problems in China" (funded by the British Academy), "News and journalists in the social media age: a comparative study of mainland China and Taiwan" (co-funded by the British Academy and the National Sicence Council of Taiwan) and "The performances and roles of citizen journalism and mainstream journalism in reporting crisis situations in China" (funded by College Research Development Fund, University of Leicester). She has participated in the AHRC-funded project “Tuning In: Diasporic Contact Zones at BBC World Service” as a researcher. She is the author of two books: Investigative Journalism in China: Journalism, Power, and Society (2011 and 2012) and Investigative Journalism, Environmental Problems and Modernisation in China (2015) and the co-editor of Digital Technology and Journalism: an internaitonal comparative perspective (2017). She is working on a book on twitter communication with her collaborator. 

Before joining Brunel, she was Lecturer in Media and Communication and MA programme director at University of Leicester and held various research and teaching positions at other universities. She also visited University of Lund, Sweden in August 2008 and Chinese University of Hong Kong between December 2011 and January 2012 as a visiting scholar. Her PhD project examining the transformation of two Chinese newspapers was funded by University of Westminster and was successfully completed in 2007.

In the course of her research, she has worked with and advised International Media Support, Denmark, and Ergo Advisors Company, USA. She has been invited to regularly review articles for academic journals, conferences and publishers. She is a member of the editorial board for Digital Journalism and Journalism Studies. She also serves as Associate Editor for Chinese Journal of Communication.

She is particularly interested to hear from prospective PhD students who wish to undertake research related to the following areas:

  • Journalists, their work and their organizations in the digital and data era
  • Environmental communication
  • Health communication
  • Social data analysis
  • Comparative journalism studies
  • Chinese media and journalism

Selected publications:


1.    (2017) Digital Technology and Journalism: An International Comparative Perspective, London: Palgrave (1st editor with Shih-Hung Lo).

2.    (2015) Investigative Journalism, Environmental Problems and Modernisation in China, London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

3.    (2011) Investigative Journalism in China: Journalism, Power, and Society, New York and London: Continuum, 2011 (paperback in 2012)

 Journal articles/book chapters: 

  1. (2017) Journalistic Legitimacy Revisited: Collapse or revival in the digital age? In Digital Journalism, DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2017.1360785
  2. (2017) The taming of critical journalism in China: A combination of political, economic and technological forces, in Journalism Studies.
  3. (2017) “Technology and Journalism: 'Dissolving' social media content into disaster reporting on three Chinese disasters”, in International Communication Gazette. 79(4): 400–418.
  4. (2017) “A computational analysis of British journalists’ use of Twitter before the 2016 UK’s EU referendum”, in Tong and Lo, (ed.) Digital Technology and Journalism: An International Comparative Perspective, London: Palgrave.(1st with Landong Zuo)
  5. (2017) “New media reforms and journalism cultures in two newspapers in mainland China and Taiwan” in Tong and Lo, (ed.) Digital Technology and Journalism: An International Comparative Perspective, London: Palgrave. (1st with Shih-Hung Lo)
  6. (2017) ‘Introduction’ in Tong and Lo, (ed.) Digital Technology and Journalism: An International Comparative Perspective, London: Palgrave.
  7. (2016) “Environmental communication in and about China: A review of the Chinese-language literature” in Chinese Journal of Communication. Online first at:
  8. (2015) 'Being objective with a personal perspective: how environmental journalists at two Chinese newspapers articulate and practice objectivity', in Science Communication.37(6):747–768.
  9. (2015) "The formation of an agonistic public sphere: emotions, the Internet and news media in China", in China Information.29(3): 333–351.
  10. (2015) “The Chinese Diaspora, Motherland, and “June Fourth”: A Discourse Analysis of the BBC Chinese “Have Your Say” Forum, 2009–13”, in Wanning Sun and John Sinclair, (ed.) Rethinking Chinese Diasporic Media: Soft Power in Global and Local Contexts, Routledge.
  11. (2015) 'The epistemology of environmental investigative journalists: the case of China', in Journalism Studies,18(6):771-786.
  12. (2015) “Chinese journalists’ views of UGC producers and journalism: a case study of the boundary work of journalism”, in Asian Journal of Communication, online first
  13. (2015) ‘The defence of journalistic legitimacy in media discourse in China: an analysis of the case of Deng Yujiao’, in Journalism, Vol. 16(3) 429–446
  14. (2014) "Discourse of Journalism and Legitimacy in post-reform China", in Qing Cao, Hailong Tian and Paul Chilton (ed.) Discourse, Politics and Media in Contemporary China, Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  15. (2014) 'Environmental Risks in Newspaper Coverage: A Framing Analysis of Investigative Reports on Environmental Problems in 10 Chinese Newspapers', in Environmental Communication, 8(3): 345-367.
  16. (2014) ‘Weibo communication and government legitimacy in China: a computer-assisted analysis of Weibo’, in Special Issue: The Internet, Social Networks and Civic Engagement in Chinese Societies, Information, Communication & Society, 17(1), 66-85 (1st author with Landong Zuo) (The special issue has been published as a book by Routledge in 2015)
  17. (2014) “Local Investigative Journalism: Understanding the Background, Context and Trajectories of Investigative Journalism in Dahe Daily and Southern Metropolis Daily”, in Marina Svensson; Elin Sæther and Zhi’an Zhang (ed.) Chinese Investigative Journalists' Dreams Autonomy, Agency, and Voice, London: Lexington Books.
  18. (2013) ‘The Important of Place: An analysis of changes in investigative journalism in two Chinese provincial newspapers’, in Journalism Practice, 7:1, 1-16.
  19. (2012) ‘Discussions on BBC Chinese Have Your Say Forums: National Identity and International Broadcasting in the Interactive Media Era’, in Marie Gillespie and Alban Webb ed. Diasporas and Diplomacy: Cosmopolitan contact zones at the BBC World Service (1932-2012), London: Routledge, 2012 (1st author with Hugh Mackey)
  20. (2011) 'Interactivity, the global conversation and World Service research: Digital China'. in Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Analysis 8(1), 2011 (2nd author with Hugh Mackay)
  21. (2010) ‘The Crisis of the Centralized Media Control Theory: How Local Power Controls Media in China’, in Media Culture and Society 32(6)
  22. (2009) ‘Press Self-censorship in China: a case study in the transformation of discourse’, in Discourse and Society 20(5).
  23. (2009) ‘Investigative Journalism in China Today’, in Journalism Studies, Volume 10 Issue 3 (1st author with Colin Sparks)
  24. (2007) ‘Guerrilla Tactics of Investigative Journalists in China’ in Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism, Issue 8(5) October, reprinted in Crime and Media, Yvonne Jewkes, London: SAGE Publication (2009)

Journal articles/book/book chapters (In Chinese):

  1. (2014) Social Media and Journalism, Quality Journalism Development Association: Taibei, Taiwan (ed. 2nd editor with Shih-hung Luo)
  2. (2014) ‘Discourse of Chinese Journalism in the Media 2.0 Era’, in Shih-hung Luo and Jingrong Tong (ed.) Social Media and Journalism, Taibei: Quality Journalism Development Association
  3. (2013) “Weibo Communication and The Epistemic Authority of Chinese Journalism”, in The Chinese Journal of Communication and Society, Hong Kong
  4. (2006) ‘Social Discourse of Journalistic Professionalism in the Chinese Context’ in The Chinese Journal of Communication and Society, Hong Kong, Vol. 1, December.
  5. (2006) ‘Simulacra, Representation, and Televisual War: an anthropological interpretation of televisual war’, in Communication Journal, Shanghai, Vol. 4, August.
  6. (2005) ‘Rethinking Positivist and Critical Traditions in Audience Studies’, in Communication Journal, Shanghai, Vol. 3, May.

Book Reviews:

  1. Book Review, in China Quarterly, 2018.
  2. Book Review, in The Journal of Asian Studies, 71 (1), 2012
  3. Book Review, in Asian Journal of Communication, 21(1) 2011
  4. Book Review, in Chinese Journal of Communication, 3 (1) , 2010

Blog articles:

  1. China’s environment, modernisation and investigative reporting, 2015,
  2. Is investigative journalism dead in China? 2015,

Newest selected publications

Tong, J. (2015) 'Investigative Journalism, Environmental Problems and Modernisation in China'. Springer. ISSN 10: 1137406674 ISSN 13: 9781137406675

More publications(1)