Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    The discourses of data journalism

    Hannaford, Lizabeth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6026-3484 (2022) The discourses of data journalism. Journalism: theory, practice and criticism. ISSN 1464-8849

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    Becoming a data literate, technologically competent journalist is represented as a desirable goal that will benefit the individual, the industry and society as a whole. Data journalism skills are increasingly being taught in journalism programmes around the world. This article applies Foucault’s distinctive conceptualisation of discourse to critically examine data journalism as constructed in the ‘talk’ of its most visible pioneers. The analysis is driven by three distinctive aspects of Foucault’s theory of discourse – power, knowledge and materiality. Using these tools, I investigate how data journalism knowledge is produced, the practices that reinforce it and the strategic power relations it conceals. I argue that data journalism draws on four discourses – journalism, technology, enterprise and citizenship – and wraps itself in the power relations embedded in these prestigious discourses. I argue that there is a political imperative for journalism educators to examine these power relations because material injustices along race, gender, class lines are built into them and have consequences for our students and society.

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