Digital storytelling as sociotechnical imaginary

The performative power of journalistic innovation discourse


  • Frank Harbers



journalistic innovation, digital storytelling, sociotechnical imaginaries, technological drama, innovation discourse


This article zooms in on the sociotechnical imaginaries within the discourse on digital storytelling as journalistic innovation in the Netherlands. It analyzes how digital storytelling is discussed since 2015 on the online platforms of the Dutch Journalism Fund and the Dutch Association of Journalists, two central intermediary organizations within the Dutch journalistic landscape that play a vital role in the debate about journalistic innovation and journalism’s future. My analysis shows that this discourse provides a rather one-dimensional and uniform sociotechnical imaginary that presents the future as one in which digital-savvy news consumers can only be engaged through a more captivating way of reporting, allowing for more interactivity and forms of storytelling that draws them into the story on an experiential and emotional level. The techno-centric focus reinforces the already prevalent understanding of journalistic innovation as primarily a matter of mastering and exploiting the digital affordances of new technological tools and platforms without questioning or problematizing how this impacts journalism’s professional ethics and subsequently its cultural authority.


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How to Cite

Harbers, F. (2023). Digital storytelling as sociotechnical imaginary: The performative power of journalistic innovation discourse. Journalistica, 17(1), 64–90.



Special Issue: Nordic Narratives: Embracing narrative journalism in the Nordic countries