Digital culture

A course within the Specialization Master’s in journalism at Università di Torino

Master Giornalismo Torino

The goal of the course is aligned with that of the Master: to equip students with the professional, technical and cultural tools to work competently in new scenarios and recognize the new challenges of journalism.

The Master’s in journalism ‘Giorgio Bocca’ of Turin was born in 2004 on the initiative of the Order of Journalists (national and regional) and the University and was named after Giorgio Bocca in 2013. Open to students from all over Italy, it is a reference point for a vast geographical area that includes Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d’Aosta. It has been consolidated in the context of training in journalism recognized by the National Association of Journalists: there are currently 11 schools recognized in Italy, but it is the only one in the Northwest. The Master’s degree replaces the two-year period of internship required by law to take the State exam and obtain the professional title and is in direct contact with the reality of information and publishing through internship and collaboration agreements; it counts on collaboration with relevant Italian newspapers: La Stampa, Il Secolo XIX and La Repubblica.

Within this context, the course “Digital Culture” (formerly “Evolutionary dynamics of science and technology”) has two main objectives:
(i) Let students acquire awareness of the relationship between society and technological developments, and digital technologies.
(ii) Let students understand fundamental lessons from the history of communication technologies, useful for interpreting and addressing the opportunities, risks, and future trends of the digital revolution.

The topics covered are the following:
(i) The concept of “Digital Revolution” and the relationship between technology and society.
(ii) The history of the PC from the roots to its most recent developments, with focuses on the machine created by Alan Turing and its heritage, the cybernetics and the interconnections with the data revolution and Stewart Brand’s projects and their contribution to the digital revolution
(iii) Data ethics and critical system heuristics, with selected case studies and interactive activities.

The first edition of the course took place in the Academic Year 2019/2020: lectures were done in February and March 2020, for a total of 16 hours (including the final exam). The students who enrolled in the course were 14 and, due to the Covid-19 global emergency, they attend classes remotely. The second edition took place in 2022, it was held in presence by 20 students in total. Students have been assessed on their ability to critically reflect on the development of digital techniques.