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Digital watchdogs? Data reporting and the news media's traditional "fourth estate' function

Felle, T. (2016). Digital watchdogs? Data reporting and the news media's traditional "fourth estate' function. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, 17(1), pp. 85-96. doi: 10.1177/1464884915593246


As governments throughout the world transition to storing and releasing vast amounts of numerical information digitally, journalists are increasingly using digital data reporting as an investigative tool to report on issues in the public interest and to hold government - elected officials and bureaucracy – to account. Through a series of qualitative interviews with data journalists in 17 countries, this article examines the impact that digital data reporting is having on the traditional role of journalism as a fourth estate. Findings suggest the emergence of digital data reporting as a key tool in accountability journalism and in informing and engaging the public. However, the failure of popular ‘tabloid’ journalism to engage with data journalism means that a new technologically adept and data-informed elite class is on the rise, with important implications for democratic processes in advanced societies.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Accountability journalism, computer assisted reporting, data journalism, mapping, media and democracy, open government, visualisation
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
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