Data stories. Rethinking journalistic storytelling in the context of data journalism

Wibke Weber, Martin Engebretsen, Helen Kennedy


This paper addresses the increased use of data and data visualization in newsrooms, which has yielded a new form of storytelling: data stories. In journalism, data stories or storytelling with data are the new buzzwords. What journalists mean by data stories, however, remains blurred. We use the emergence of data stories as an opportunity to describe the changing understanding of journalistic storytelling. Based on interviews with editorial leaders, data journalists, developers, and designers in 26 major news organizations in Europe, we focus on practitioners’ perspective on data stories. In our empirical study, we identified seven key features of journalistic data stories: data, communicative function, the textual-visual relationship, structure and design of a story, interactivity, and the meta-story. These findings contribute to rethinking the narrative approach to journalism.


data stories; data visualization; narrativity; storytelling; data journalism; newsroom

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Copyright (c) 2018 Wibke Weber, Martin Engebretsen, Helen Kennedy

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Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896