Analyzing the Research Literature on Data-driven Journalism: A Presentation at Dubrovnik Media Days

9. November 2015, by Julian Ausserhofer

Last week, Julian Ausserhofer and Robert Gutounig attended the Dubrovnik Media Days in Croatia to present a paper on which they have been working on in the past months together with Michael Oppermann: A structured literature review on workflows in data-driven journalism.

Download the Slides (PDF)


News Production Workflows in Data-driven, Algorithmic Journalism: A Systematic Literature Review

In the past decade, the “experimental use of algorithms, data and social science methods” (Gynnild, 2014, p. 715) in journalism has been growing rapidly. What was known as Computer-assisted reporting and database journalism and what was mainly employed by election analysts, weather reporters, and investigative journalists in the United States (Cox, 2000), is today important for many more practitioners in all kinds of newsrooms and departments all over the world. Data-driven journalism has become a key theme in journalism education, in the public discourse about journalism, and in journalism research. But in what way have journalistic workflows and routines actually changed due to the broad introduction of data in the newsroom? How has this impacted journalistic norms and ethics, and the skills requirements for journalists?
Based on a systematic review of 33 scholarly papers and industry reports this paper develops a comprehensive conceptual model for newsroom processes in data-driven journalism. It discusses regional differences, the background and epistemology of data journalists, and enabling and hindering factors of data-driven news projects. In the conclusion, the article identifies gaps in the research landscape that are fruitful for future investigations.

Our work also includes a tool that allows you to explore the literature corpus interactively. But be warned, the corpus is preliminary and it’s also a protoype.


In the upcoming weeks we will continue to develop this further into a journal paper. While Julian and Robert will work on the general structure and the qualitative analyis, Michael, who is currently a visiting research student in Harvard, will continue to work on the corpus exploration tool. So stay tuned for more.

Ausserhofer, J., Gutounig, R., & Oppermann, M. (2015, October). News Production Workflows in Data-driven, Algorithmic Journalism: A Systematic Literature Review. Presented at the Dubrovnik Media Days, Dubrovnik.


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netflower – Visual exploration of flows in dynamic networks
mtdb2 – Visual exploration of media transparency data