Transmedia Storytelling and the Challenge of Knowledge Transfer in Contemporary Digital Journalism. A Look at the Interactive Documentary Hollow (2012– )

Autor: Laura Schlichting
[erschienen in: IMAGE 21 Themenheft (Januar 2015)]

This article explores transmedia storytelling in the context of web-aware journalism, drawing on the documentary Hollow (2012– ) to discuss what it means to fruitfully combine different types of media in a journalistic context. The following analysis is thus informed by journalism as well as by literary and cultural studies, particularly focusing on (trans-)media studies, narratology, and digital communication. It starts from two premises: First, the article recognizes the problem of knowledge transfer, which has become a serious challenge in the digital age. Since the Internet has become the superior way to create and distribute news, the status of newspapers has taken a beating. Second, the article points to a research gap in the analysis of transmediality in nonfiction stories—in this case, in interactive journalistic documentaries or reportages. It proposes, therefore, that the use of transmediality in digital documentary journalism not only affects the way stories are narrated today but, as print journalism declines in popularity, also leads to changes and processes of rethinking in the journalistic field—on the sides of both producers and recipients. Based on this, the objective of this article is to show that the application of Henry Jenkins’ concept of transmediality to web-aware journalism can encourage knowledge transfer as well as usher in a new future of long-form journalism in an age of digital overload.