Interactive Multimodal Narratives in online journalism (PhD research)

Duration: 2017 - present
Involved research group: Journalism in Digital Transition
Involved professor: Yael de Haan
Involved researchers: Renée van der Nat
Involved course: School for Journalism

Interactive multimodal narratives have studied in both digital journalism studies and documentary studies, each under a different name; ‘digital longform’ and ‘interactive documentary’ respectively. These diverging conceptualizations lay bare a fundamental tension in the author-text-audience relationship that is established in interactive multimodal narratives. While one side of the debate favors an approach in which authors exert their agency by creating a controlled narrative experience for the audience, the other argues that user agency is what shapes the narrative. I, however, argue that both these approaches can be combined in a conceptualization of interactive multimodal narratives that focusses on the distribution of agency among the different actors involved. How this agency is expressed through the use of interactive technologies and different media modalities is key to understanding the narrative principles involved. Thus, the main question of my PhD research is: How does the distribution of agency take shape in interactive multimodal narratives?

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About the Research Group