List of Academic Papers about Data Journalism and Computational Journalism

In parallel to my work at the European Journalism Centre, for the past couple of years I have been working on and off on a research project that examines sourcing and knowledge production practices in data journalism and how these might be challenging traditional journalism epistemologies. I gave a talk at Stanford University last year about the first part of this study. Thanks to a four-year PhD grant from the University of Groningen and the University of Ghent, I will be able to dedicate more time to this project in the next few years, expand and improve it.

Below is a list of academic papers about data journalism and computational journalism that I collected during my work so far. A few of them, such as Schudson (2010) and Peters (2010) do not directly reference the practice of data journalism but discuss related and relevant developments.

Continue reading

Remediation and Premediation as Medium Specificity in Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin

What is new about new media? As the term “new media” contains powerful ideological connotations, such as “new equals better,” the boundaries between old and new media have been intensely discussed in media studies. Are the old and the new media completely separate entities or are new media old media delivered with new technologies? Bolter and Grusin’s theory of remediation brings yet another way of thinking about new media and answering these questions. For Bolter and Grusin the specificity of new media, their “newness,” lies in the way they remediate older media. Building on McLuhan, they define remediation as “the representation of one medium in another.”[1] Against the technologically progressive view which celebrates new media as an improvement on and a complete break with old media, this notion sets the grounds for conceptualizing the relationship between old and new media not as oppositional but as part of a media genealogy, focusing, in Foucauldian fashion, on their connections and affiliations instead.[2]

Continue reading

Approaches to Medium-Specific Theorizing in Hayles, Fuller and Manovich

The advent of digital media revived the interest for medium specificity as materiality of a medium in media studies, most influentially discussed until now by Marshall McLuhan. As Katherine Hayles[1] rightfully points out, in the literary criticism environment it was the emergence of an alternative medium for supporting literary work, the electronic medium, which helped to make visible the medium specific assumptions of print and the dependence of the meaning of a literary text on the material apparatus used to produce it.

Continue reading

Nanna Verhoeff: Mobile Digital Cartography from Representation to Performance of Space

nanna verhoeff

Nanna Verhoeff, associate professor in the department of Media and Culture studies at Utrecht University, had one of the very few yet very welcomed theoretical presentations at the Urban Screens conference which took place on the 4th of December this year in Amsteram.

Her contribution focused in particular on mobile screens (such as mobile phones, PDA’s and GPS devices), and their role in urban screen culture. She discussed the specificity of these screens in relation to the concept of mobility, an often encountered trope in the history of screen media.

The first question which the speaker addressed was: how are these mobile screens different from the large digital displays in urban space? And, in relation to a broader range of screen media, how do mobile screens influence the relationship between the user, the screen and the space outside the screen?

As Nanna Verhoeff points out, one of the differences between mobile screens and traditional static screens is the fact that mobile screens are ‘application based.’ The mobile screen serves as an interface for the convergence of various technologies and software applications: they can act as cameras, interfaces for online communication or surfing the web, as well as GPS devices. While the relationship between user and screen as material object may remain ‘static’ and unchanged in the context of the mobility afforded by the use of mobile digital screens, what changes and deserves attention according to the speaker is “the relationship to the off-screen space, the world surrounding the screen, [which] is perhaps becoming at once more intimate, more flexible, and more mobile”:

“Because of these characteristics (application-based hybridity + “intimate” closeness) mobile screens put forward practices of a mobile and haptic engagement with the screen that fundamentally revise the spatial coordinates of large, fixed and (paradoxically) distancing televisual, cinematic, and architectural screen-dispositifs. When the screen is becoming an interactive map, camera, and a networked communication device all-in-one, these mobile (touch)screens and practices of mobile screening problematize set boundaries of agency, between making, transmitting, and receiving images (who “makes”, “programs” and watches them). Moreover, these devices turn the “classical” screen as flat and distanced window on the world, into an interactive, hybrid navigation device that repositions the viewer central within that world.”

Equipped with mobile screens we therefore become a sort of ‘postmodern’ cartographers: we produce space by navigating through and interacting with an augmented space. But unlike traditional cartography which is concerned with the systematic and objective rendering of space and space relations at different scales, creative cartography in 4D enabled by mobile screens is a subjective, flexible and open-ended practice of personalized space mapping.

What are some of the applications which enable this practice? GPS navigation, for example, in which the movement produces the map, is one of them. Another example of subjective/ creative production of space is geo tagging, through which geographical identification data is added to media such as photos. In mobile augmented reality, reality browsers or ‘layar’ applications, the information enhanced map fluctuates according to our position.

In conclusion, Nanna Verhoeff points out to a new notion of cartography which is being revealed by the use of these applications, by means of which we are not only navigating space but also constructing space. According to her cartography:

“it is not a precondition only, but a product of navigation, and as such, cartography is becoming more than a systematic representation of space: it is a performance of space in a true sense: a making and expressing of space.”

With this notion the media theorist emphasizes the necessity of a shift in discussing some of the contemporary media practices from the notion of representation, which received criticism in modernity for its potential to produce alienation and engender passive consummation, to the notion of process, performance, performativity, more specifically “the process in which representation comes into being” through the embodied experiencing of space.