Exploring data journalism practices in Africa: data politics, media ecosystems and newsroom infrastructures

Paper by Sarah Chiumbu and Allen Munoriyarwa: “Extant research on data journalism in Africa has focused on newsroom factors and the predilections of individual journalists as determinants of the uptake of data journalism on the continent. This article diverts from this literature by examining the slow uptake of data journalism in sub- Saharan Africa through the prisms of non-newsroom factors. Drawing on in-depth interviews with prominent investigative journalists sampled from several African countries, we argue that to understand the slow uptake of data journalism on the continent; there is a need to critique the role of data politics, which encompasses state, market and existing media ecosystems across the continent. Therefore, it is necessary to move beyond newsroom-centric factors that have dominated the contemporary understanding of data journalism practices. A broader, non-newsroom conceptualisation beyond individual journalistic predilections and newsroom resources provides productive clarity on data journalism’s slow uptake on the continent. These arguments are made through the conceptual prisms of materiality, performativity and reflexivity…(More)”.