Navigating Interactive Story Spaces

Authors Renée van der Nat, Piet Bakker
Published in Digital Journalism
Publication date 2021
Research groups Quality Journalism in Digital Transition
Type Article


Over the past decade, journalists have created in-depth interactive narratives to provide an alternative to the relentless 24-hour news cycle. Combining different media forms, such as text, audio, video, and data visualisation with the interactive possibilities of digital media, these narratives involve users in the narrative in new ways. In journalism studies, the convergence of different media forms in this manner has gained significant attention. However, interactivity as part of this form has been left underappreciated. In this study, we scrutinise how navigational structure, expressed as navigational cues, shapes user agency in their individual explorations of the narrative. By approaching interactive narratives as story spaces with unique interactive architectures, in this article, we reconstruct the architecture of five Dutch interactive narratives using the walkthrough method. We find that the extensiveness of the interactive architectures can be described on a continuum between closed and open navigational structures that predetermine and thus shape users’ trajectories in diverse ways.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in Digital Journalism
Key words interactive narrative, digital longform journalism, multimodality, narrative space, architecture of interaction, user agency
Digital Object Identifier 10.1080/21670811.2021.1960178

Renée van der Nat

Renee van der Nat

Renée van der Nat

  • Researcher
  • Research group: Quality Journalism in Digital Transition