Narrating Networks: Exploring the Affordances of Networks as Storytelling Devices in Journalism

33 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2016  

Liliana Bounegru

University of Groningen

Tommaso Venturini

médialab Sciences Po

Jonathan Gray

University of Bath

Mathieu Jacomy

Sciences Po - médialab

Date Written: July 7, 2016

Abstract

Networks have become the de facto diagram of the Big Data age (try searching Google Images for [big data AND visualisation] and see). The concept of networks has become central to many fields of human inquiry and is said to revolutionise everything from medicine to markets to military intelligence. While the mathematical and analytical capabilities of networks have been extensively studied over the years, in this article we argue that the storytelling affordances of networks have been comparatively neglected. In order to address this we use multimodal analysis to examine the stories that networks evoke in a series of journalism articles. We develop a protocol by means of which narrative meanings can be construed from network imagery and the context in which it is embedded, and discuss five different kinds of narrative readings of networks, illustrated with analyses of examples from journalism. Finally, to support further research in this area, we discuss methodological issues that we encountered and suggest directions for future study to advance and broaden research around this defining aspect of visual culture after the digital turn.

Keywords: Data Journalism, Digital Journalism, Multimodal Analysis, Narratives, Network Analysis, Network Visualisation, Networks, Storytelling

Suggested Citation

Bounegru, Liliana and Venturini, Tommaso and Gray, Jonathan and Jacomy, Mathieu, Narrating Networks: Exploring the Affordances of Networks as Storytelling Devices in Journalism (July 7, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2806640 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2806640

Liliana Bounegru (Contact Author)

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen
Netherlands

Tommaso Venturini

médialab Sciences Po ( email )

27 rue St Guillaume - Paris Cedex 07
Paris, 75337
France
0033 01 45 49 53 71 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tommasoventurini.it

Jonathan Gray

University of Bath ( email )

Claverton Down Rd
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

Mathieu Jacomy

Sciences Po - médialab ( email )

27 rue St Guillaume - Paris Cedex 07
Paris, 75337
France

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