Colin Porlezza is a journalism studies scholar born in Zurich, Switzerland. He is a Senior Assistant Professor of Digital Journalism with the Institute of Media and Journalism (IMeG) at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). Currently, he is also a Research Fellow with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, NY, and he also holds an Honorary Senior Research Fellow position with the Department of Journalism at City, University London. He earned his PhD in communication sciences at the Università della Svizzera italiana, where he also got his BA and MA in communication sciences with a specialization in mass communication and new media. Before joining USI, he also worked at the Department of Communication and Media Research at the University of Zurich, and the Academy of Journalism and Media at the University of Neuchâtel.
Colin Porlezza gained substantial experience in research, managing and participating actively in several publicly funded projects, among others from the Knight News Innovation Fellowship, the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme, the Swiss National Fund, and the Federal Office of Communications OFCOM. He also obtained research funding from news organizations such as the Swiss Public Broadcaster SRG SSR or Tamedia. Currently, he is the PI of a research project funded by the Knight News Innovation Fellowship, where he analyzes how AI-driven tools currently used in newsrooms are designed to respect and support journalistic values. The project is a natural progression from a recently concluded a 3-year long research project funded by the Google Digital News Initiative called DMINR (Digital Mining and INformation Retrieval). The project, of which Prof Porlezza was the PI, focused both on the consequences of embedding AI technology in newsrooms, but also on the development of a tool for news research and verification based on artificial intelligence. At present, he is also carrying out a research project called JoIn-DemoS, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The project studies how innovations in journalism influence journalistic quality and thus the public in democratic societies.
His research focuses on automated journalism and AI, the datafication and hybridization of digital journalism, as well as on media accountability and transparency. His research so far has resulted in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications, including 25 journal articles and more than 25 book chapters, and two books with top publishers. He has given several invited talks at conferences, workshops, and research seminars, including keynotes on the future of journalism for the Swiss Federal Media Commission in Bellinzona, the Forum Alpbach Talks at Schloss Belvedere in Vienna.
He is a co-founder of the European Journalism Observatory (EJO) in 2004 at USI. He brought the UK node of the EJO to City, University of London, where he acted as director from 2020 until he left for USI. Prof Porlezza has also been working as a freelance journalist for various German and Italian-language newspapers and specialized magazines such as the Neue Zürcher Zeitung or the Corriere del Ticino. He is currently a Board member of the Swiss Association of Communications and Media Research SACM and, in the past, he was also Co-Chair of the Journalism Studies Section in the same association. Additionally, he is a member of the Advisory Board of the Austrian National Study of Journalists as well as the international Network Innovamedia for innovation in journalism. He has featured on the Swiss Public Service Broadcaster SRG SSR, Poynter, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Tages-Anzeiger, Corriere del Ticino, 20 Minuti and other news media outlets.