Den interaktive web-dokumentar - en journalistisk genre?

Anita Jensenius

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines the interactive web-documentary and the potential of this genre as a journalistic means of expression. This genre combines the documentary with the nonlinear narrative, which nowadays to a large extent is used by online news media. Therefore, Bill Nichols’ definition of the documentary and modes of representation are introduced followed by Peter Harms Larsen’s interpretation of basic concepts in journalism. In order to give an insight into the interactive web-documentary the report elaborates some of the latest research in this area made by Sandra Gaudenzi, Kate Nash and Arnau Gifreu. The basic characteristic of this genre is that it departs from the linear narrative and calls for the user to be active. Thus, the report explains the concept of interactivity as well as Espen Aarset’s theory of nonlinear narratives. One consequence of the nonlinear narrative is that the journalist (to some extent) loses control of the story, which collides with the principle of fairness. This concept is elaborated by Heidi Jønch-Clausen and Lise Lyngbye, whose investigations are presented. This thesis attempts to show how the genre can be put into practice and this production functions as an empirical basis for discussion. Based on the production the nonlinear narrative is compared with traditional journalism. Also, the concept of the active user is discussed in relation to the journalist’s lack of control with the story and hence the risk of compromising fairness. The relationship between the control exercised by the user as well as the journalist constitutes the basis for a typology of the interactive web-documentary as a journalistic genre. Finally, the report suggests how this genre can be used without renouncing journalistic ideals as well as quality. Among others, the conclusion is that though not all stories are suitable for being interactive, the genre has a potential for immersion and identification.

EducationsJournalism, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date1 Sep 2015
SupervisorsMads Kæmsgaard Eberholst


  • Interactive web-documentary