Interactive journalistic narratives: Balancing authorial, user, and technological agency

Authors Renée van der Nat
Publication date 2022
Research groups Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
Type Doctoral Thesis


Interactivity as part of journalistic narratives is a common practice in newsrooms around the world. Interactive journalistic narratives developed as a subgenre of online journalism in the decade following Snow Fall: The Avalanche of Tunnel Creek (The New York Times, 2012) after which news organisations started to engage in interactive and multimedia storytelling. This complex journalistic genre involves a significant investment of time and money. It encompasses extensive research and engaging online storytelling, which both require advanced technological and journalistic skills. This thesis focuses on interactive journalistic narratives in the Netherlands. Using innovative qualitative research methods, this PhD research explores the consequences of interactivity for the narrative, the production process, and the user experience. The results reveal a tension between the promises of interactivity and the practical application thereof. Creators of interactive narratives hope to engage their audiences with interactive elements woven into their stories. This is part of the changing relationship between journalists and their audience. The results of this thesis indicate that journalists reimagine this relationship in a traditional way, meaning the audience is seen as a recipient of journalistic stories. However, creators deliberately use interactive elements in their journalistic storytelling to engage audiences. With moderate success it seems as the results of the audience study suggest; users reported an increased sense of involvement with the narratives when interactive options allowed them to personalise the story

On this publication contributed

Language English
Key words interactieve journalistiek

Renée van der Nat

Renee van der Nat

Renée van der Nat

  • Researcher
  • Research group: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition