about the research project
Photo: Markus Jokela / Helsingin Sanomat
Live journalism attracts and engages audiences at sold-out events both in Europe and in the United States. At live journalism events, carefully edited and rehearsed journalistic content is presented to a live audience.
Live journalism builds on the tradition of rhetoric and public speaking as well as on the inherently human practice of storytelling. On stage, the journalist is present, vulnerable and very human. To attract the audience’s attention, live content must be immersive, well-structured, and be presented in a transparent manner with a clear ethos.
In our three-year-long research project, The Power of Live Journalism – From Insights to Applications, funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, we examine live journalism and its relevance for the future of journalism. We study the potential of live journalism to strengthen the audience’s interest and confidence in journalism.
The article by Juho Ruotsalainen and Mikko Villi, published by the journal Media & Communication, investigates the journalistic manuscripts of live journalism performances. With the focus on texts, the article reaches beyond the live performance to explore the wider implications and potentials pioneered by live journalists. The data were gathered from 'Musta laatikko' (‘Black Box’) manuscripts, a live journalism production by the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
The manuscripts were analysed as eudaimonic journalism through four conceptual dimensions: self-transcendence, autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The results show how eudaimonic journalism can contemplate history, the future, and the meaning of finite human life. Moreover, by describing self-determinant individuals and communal social relationships, eudaimonic news stories can foster a sense of meaning and agency in audience members. By employing eudaimonia, journalists at large can reflect on the meaning and purpose of contemporary life and offer a more comprehensive understanding of the world. Such understanding includes not only facts and analysis, but also values, affects, and collective meanings mediated through the subjectivity of a journalist.
What exactly is behind the appeal of live journalism? What kind of connection does it forge between journalists and the different audiences? How does one go about putting on such a show? These are the questions that Jaakko Lyytinen, feature writer at Helsingin Sanomat and producer of 'Musta laatikko', studied as a journalist fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University in 2019–2020. In his final report, he shares his findings and lessons learnt.
'I hope my report will serve as a travel guide or manual for journalists who wish to try this new and intriguing format,' Jaakko says.
Jaakko's article at the Reuters Institute site
Journalist Fellow paper: Pulling back the curtain: How live journalism is re-engaging news audiences