Felix M. Simon

Research Fellow in AI and Digital News • Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
Last edited June 20, 2024

Dr Felix M. Simon is a communication researcher and Research Fellow in AI and Digital News at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and a former doctoral student at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). He was a Knight News Innovation Fellow at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism (2021-2024) and is an affiliate at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a former journalist, he regularly writes and comments on technology, media, and politics for various international outlets.

As a member of the Leverhulme Doctoral Centre “Publication beyond Print” and as a OII Dieter Schwarz Fellow he has been researching the implications of AI in journalism and the news industry since 2019, jointly supervised by Prof Ralph Schroeder and Prof Ekaterina Hertog and formerly supervised by Prof Gina Neff. His doctoral project was generously funded by the Leverhulme Trust and two OII-Dieter Schwarz Foundation Fellowship awards and he has won additional competitive grants from the Minderoo-Oxford Challenge Fund, the Tow Center at Columbia University, Balliol College, among others, for this research on AI, news, and information.

More specifically, his research sought to understand the structural implications of artificial intelligence, including forms of generative AI such as ChatGPT and DALL:E, for news organisations’ gatekeeping processes—the production and distribution of news—and the public arena.

Studying these questions will not only enhance our understanding of how news organisations and journalists think about, adapt to and deal with a technology that, at first glance, seems to be all about de-emphasising their role in the news; it will also inform our theories of what a future of the news and information environment could look like as the industry is battling uncertainty on several fronts. Ultimately, this project also hopes to provide answers about AI’s effect on journalism’s business models and viability as well as its wider ramifications on the public arena of news, and thus society and democracy.

Felix has published widely, among others, in New Media & Society, Digital Journalism, Journalism Studies, Journalism Practice, The Information Society, International Communication Gazette, Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, International Journal of Press/Politics, the International Handbook of Internet Research and Transformative Works and Cultures and has co-authored various research reports on topics ranging from innovation in the media to COVID-19 misinformation.

He has presented work at various conferences, including ICA and the International Journalism Festival and is an experienced moderator of academic and industry panels. His research and commentary has appeared, among others, in The Guardian, The Washington Post, Politico, Financial Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Nature, New Statesman, Business Insider, WIRED, CNN, and the BBC. He has given evidence to inquiries of the UK House of Lords and House of Commons, press regulator IMPRESS, and the United Nations, and frequently advises media organisations on AI.

In May 2023, he was awarded the Hans Bausch Media Prize by German public broadcaster SWR in cooperation with the Institute for Media Studies at the University of Tübingen for his work on AI and news.

His past and current research focus on AI in the news, the political economy of AI and news, political communication and democracy in the digital age, as well as the changing nature of journalism and the media in the 21st century. In addition, he takes an active interest in populism and the future of mis- and disinformation studies. He regularly reviews articles for a range of journals, including for Digital Journalism, New Media & Society, or the International Journal of Communication.

Felix graduated with a BA in Film and Media Studies as well as English Studies (Distinction) from Goethe-University Frankfurt, and he holds an MSc in Social Science of the Internet from the OII. During his previous studies, he was funded by the renowned journalism programme of the German Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation. He is currently a fellow at the Salzburg Global Seminar, an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, and sits on the Advisory Committee of the Center for News, Technology & Innovation. He was a member of the AI and Local News Steering Committee of Partnership on AI

Before returning to the OII for his doctoral studies, Felix worked as a journalist, editor and researcher in London. Past work experience also includes the BBC and Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) in London and Innsbruck.