Caitlin Petre


Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies


CI 309

Caitlin Petre studies the social processes behind the digital datasets and algorithms that increasingly govern the contemporary world. Using qualitative research methods such as ethnographic observation and in-depth interviewing, she maps the complex relationships between digital analytics, the social actors who create them, and the established experts who make use of them.

Petre’s book, All the News That’s Fit to Click (published September 2021 from Princeton University Press), is a behind-the-scenes look at how performance analytics are transforming the work of journalism. Petre’s scholarly work has been published in Social Media & Societythe American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Sociologica, and Digital Journalism. She has been featured or quoted in popular publications such as the New York Times, WIRED, Study HallColumbia Journalism Review, and the Atlantic. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University, is currently a faculty affiliate at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.  


New York University
Ph.D., Department of Sociology

New York University
M.A., Department of Sociology

Wesleyan University
B.A., Department of Philosophy

Centers, Labs, Working Groups, and Clusters

Funded Projects

2019 Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, Grant for Individual Faculty Research. $4,000. 

2013 Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Tow Center for Digital Journalism: “Metrics: Production and Consumption,” 2013-14. $79,983.

2012 CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism: “Hitting a Moving Target: How Journalism Schools Are Adapting to an Unstable Media Environment” (co-PI: Max Besbris). $5,400.

2012 New York University, Institute for Public Knowledge: “Hitting a Moving Target: How Journalism Schools Are Adapting to an Unstable Media Environment” (co-PI: Max Besbris). $2,084.



Selected Publications

Petre, Caitlin. (2021). All the News That's Fit to Click: How Metrics Are Transforming the Work of Journalists. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 

Christin, Angèle, & Caitlin Petre. "Making Peace with Metrics: Relational Work in Online News Production." Sociologica [Online], 14.2 (2020): 133-156. Web. 23 Sep. 2020

Petre, Caitlin, et al. "'Gaming the System': Platform Paternalism and the Politics of Algorithmic Visibility." Social Media + Society, Oct. 2019, doi:10.1177/2056305119879995.

Besbris, Max and Petre, Caitlin. (2019). "Professionalizing Contingency: How Journalism Schools Adapt to Deprofessionalization." Social Forces.

Petre, Caitlin. (2018). "Engineering Consent: How the design and marketing of newsroom analytics tools rationalize journalists' labor." Digital Journalism 6(4): 509-527.

Awards & Recognitions

2021 Top Reviewer Award, ICA Media Industry Studies interest group

2021 Distinguished Achievement in Research, Rutgers Journalism & Media Studies

2019 Distinguished Achievement in Teaching, Rutgers Journalism & Media Studies

2015 Best Student Paper Award: International Communication Association, Journalism Studies Division

2015 Top 10 Studies of Digital News and Social Media, Nieman Lab

2014 Honorable Mention, Best Student Paper Award: American Sociological Association, Communication and Information Technology Section

Research Keywords