Retelling Journalism: Conveying Stories in a Digital Age

Peters, C., Marcel Broersma (2014). Retelling Journalism: Conveying Stories in a Digital Age. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters.

Abstract: Storytelling is at the centre of journalism practice. It is the key for com-municating with the audience and it exerts a heavy influence over how news is perceived in the public sphere. The idea of ‘just the facts’ journalism is a caricature – and an inaccurate one at that – as the type of news that circulates, that breeds discussion and reaction, that is both remarkable and memorable, is based around conveying a narrative that generates meaning. In this respect, one could call journalism an industry of narrative. However, in the digital era the way in which journalists tell stories is undergoing a dramatic shift. New media offer new possibilities, while they at the same time stimulate traditional media to search for new venues to convey their stories in an attractive and authoritative way. Notions of truth and trustworthiness are reinterpreted and we are only beginning to understand how these transitions stimulate new journalistic practices and shift the institutional function and ethics of journalism. The broader commercial and global context in which journalism now operates impacts the types of stories that are desired, sought out and produced, and may even change how we conceive of the societal role of journalism in an increasingly connected and ubiquitous media ecology. This volume addresses how journalism tries to find and craft new forms and genres of storytelling within this environment, considering what it means to tell ‘newsworthy’ stories in a digital age. Its sections look different lines of research that reflect on the broader themes of truthful, personal, and sensational stories, as well as the journalistic practices that underlie them.