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Exploring audience perceptions of, and preferences for, data-driven ‘quantitative’ journalism

Stalph, F., Thurman, N. & Thäsler-Kordonouri, S. (2023). Exploring audience perceptions of, and preferences for, data-driven ‘quantitative’ journalism. Journalism: theory, practice and criticism, 25(7), pp. 1460-1480. doi: 10.1177/14648849231179606


Although data-driven ‘quantitative' journalism has increased in volume and visibility, little is known about how it is perceived and evaluated by audiences. This study helps fill this research gap by analysing the characteristics of quantitative journalism that a diverse group of 31 news consumers pay attention to and, within those characteristics, where their preferences might lie. In eight group interviews, participants read and discussed articles chosen to represent the diversity that exists in the forms and production of data-driven journalism. Our analysis reveals 28 perception criteria that we group into four major categories: antecedents of perception, emotional and cognitive impacts, article composition, and news and editorial values. Several criteria have not been used in prior research on the perception of quantitative journalism. Our criteria have obvious application in future research on how audiences perceive different types of quantitative journalism, including that produced with the help of automation. The criteria will be of interest too for researchers studying audience perceptions and evaluations of news in general. For journalists and others communicating with numbers, our findings indicate what audiences might want from data-driven journalism, including that it is constructive, concise, provides analysis, has a human angle, and includes visual elements.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page ( Request permissions for this article.
Publisher Keywords: News perception criteria, group interviews, news perception, news credibility, news quality, data journalism, quantitative journalism, artificial intelligence, automated journalism, audience studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
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