Analyzing the Research Literature on Data-driven Journalism

Last week, my colleague Robert Gutounig and I attended the Dubrovnik Media Days in Croatia to present a paper on which we have been working on in the past months together with Michael Oppermann: A structured literature review on workflows in data-driven journalism.

Download the Slides (PDF)

Abstract:

News Production Workflows in Data-driven, Algorithmic Journalism: A Systematic Literature Review

In the past decade, the “experimental use of algorithms, data and social science methods” (Gynnild, 2014, p. 715) in journalism has been growing rapidly. What was known as Computer-assisted reporting and database journalism and what was mainly employed by election analysts, weather reporters, and investigative journalists in the United States (Cox, 2000), is today important for many more practitioners in all kinds of newsrooms and departments all over the world. Data-driven journalism has become a key theme in journalism education, in the public discourse about journalism, and in journalism research. But in what way have journalistic workflows and routines actually changed due to the broad introduction of data in the newsroom? How has this impacted journalistic norms and ethics, and the skills requirements for journalists?
Based on a systematic review of 33 scholarly papers and industry reports this paper develops a comprehensive conceptual model for newsroom processes in data-driven journalism. It discusses regional differences, the background and epistemology of data journalists, and enabling and hindering factors of data-driven news projects. In the conclusion, the article identifies gaps in the research landscape that are fruitful for future investigations.

Our work also includes a tool that allows you to explore the literature corpus interactively. But be warned, the corpus is preliminary and it’s also a protoype.

DDJ-research-literature-network

DDJ-research-literature-stackedbarchart

DDJ-research-literature-bubbles

In the upcoming weeks we will continue to develop this further into a journal paper. While Robert and I will work on the general structure and the qualitative analyis, Michael, who is currently a visiting research student in Harvard, will continue to work on the corpus exploration tool. So stay tuned for more.


Ausserhofer, J., Gutounig, R., & Oppermann, M. (2015, October). News Production Workflows in Data-driven, Algorithmic Journalism: A Systematic Literature Review. Presented at the Dubrovnik Media Days, Dubrovnik.

Acknowledgements

The research for this paper is part of the project Visual Analytics in Data-driven Journalism (VALID) which is supported by a grant of the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). VALID is financed under the ICT of the Future funding programme of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Project number: 845598.