How Investigative Journalists Around the World Adopt Innovative Digital Practices

Abstract

This article explores how investigative journalists around the world adopt innovative digital practices in their daily work, what challenges they perceive to the adoption of digital practices, and how they cope with those challenges. We interviewed 133 journalists from 60 countries. Utilising the lens of the Diffusion of Innovations Theory, we found that journalists generally perceive the impact of digital practices as positive, but structural and individual factors heavily influence the adoption processes. Journalists from the Global South stress the importance of simple everyday technology and report that they only have limited access to data, which is in stark contrast to interviewees from the Global North. Journalists across countries feel overwhelmed by the need for digital skills, especially those related to digital security. They often work in interdisciplinary teams to address these challenges, which allows them to combine skills and tackle more complex topics. Overall, we found that traditional approaches remain indispensable to investigative work around the world, while innovative digital practices are adopted cautiously in accordance with the journalistic mission. We call for a global network to facilitate diffusion of digital practices, addressing that journalists from the Global South are often laggards against their will due to contextual factors.

Jessica Kunert, Jannis Frech, Michael Br├╝ggemann, Volker Lilienthal & Wiebke Loosen (2022) How Investigative Journalists Around the World Adopt Innovative Digital Practices, Journalism Studies, 23:7, 761-780, DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2022.2033636