ARTICLE: Data journalism relies on an illusion of choice

Untitled by qimono, licence CC0 1.0

Top ranked Nordic data journalism is paternalistic in nature, Ester Appelgren, of Södertörn University, writes. Appelgren analysed 31 data journalism stories nominated for the Nordic Data Journalism Awards in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

The author analysed the stories’ features according to the level of control the readers have over the story. For example, clicking on a video presenting the story or parts of it is interactive, but in effect the journalist retains control over the content. Data journalism, however, could empower the readers further – for example by allowing them to input their own data.

Only three of the 31 analysed stories relinquished the control completely to the reader, Appelgren found. In 13 cases journalists were in full control, and in 15 cases the agency was shared between journalists and the audience.

The article “An Illusion of Interactivity” was published by the journal Journalism Practice. It is available online (abstract free).

Picture: Untitled by qimono, licence CC0 1.0.

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