Nordic Narratives: Embracing narrative journalism in Scandinavia

Narrative journalism has gained strong momentum in Scandinavia in recent years. Digitally born media such as Zetland in Denmark makes extensive use of the approach, but traditional print media, for instance Verdens Gang in Norway and Kristeligt Dagblad in Denmark, have also discovered the power of narrative and won international awards for their digital storytelling. Public service media such as Danish DR, Icelandic RÚV and Swedish SVT especially experiment with style and digital elements in their narrative web docs, and narrative journalism also thrives in new print media such as the newly launched publications Atlas in Denmark (2010), Magasinet Plot in Norway (2011) and Filter in Sweden (2008). But what is the state of research in narrative journalism?

Internationally, narrative journalism has attracted some scholarly attention in recent years, not least due to the journal Literary Journalism Studies which has served as an arena for studies of the form since 2009 (van Krieken, 2021), and the journal’s publisher, the International Association for Literary Journalism Studies, which has organized conferences, published newsletters etc. In a Scandinavian context, practitioners of the form have reflected on its particular characteristics and qualities, e.g. at the annual, ever-growing conference Fortellingens Kraft in Bergen and in a number of anthologies with prescriptive texts, interviews with practitioners and examples of narrative journalism (Kinch-Jensen, 2001; Sønnichsen & Kramer, 2002; Dalviken, 2005; Hvid, 2007; Skjold, 2015; Vaaben, 2019).

However, as of yet narrative journalism still has not been the subject of unified research across countries and institutions in Scandinavia, which is why, with this special issue, we take initiative to such a collaborative effort. The common starting point for the special issue’s contributions is the subject: narrative journalism in Scandinavia in the past, present and future – although we welcome contributions that include international practice and research as well. With the term ‘narrative journalism’ we broadly refer to journalism that makes use of narrative features such as plot, characters, scenes and dialogue to convey journalistic stories (thereby allowing the term to embrace other terms such as ‘new journalism’, ‘literary journalism’ and ‘storytelling’, cf. Jørgensen, 2007). Narrowing the focus of the issue down to narrative journalism in Scandinavia, we see – due to the many common features of the Scandinavian countries in terms of history, media system and language – a potential for the special issue’s contributions to be in dialogue with each other and thus promote a more unified Scandinavian research effort in the future.

We want to launch a broad special issue that deals with narrative journalism from a rich selection of starting points and approaches. We therefore invite contributions with studies of, for instance:

  • Scandinavian examples of narrative journalism, current as well as historical
  • agents/the field, e.g. based on interviews with practitioners of narrative journalism
  • theoretical aspects of narrative journalism
  • the history of narrative journalism in Scandinavia
  • the special aesthetic and political potential(s) of narrative journalism, e.g. in relation to
  • other journalistic genres, specific subjects, special situations, etc.
  • the narrator’s role(s) in narrative journalism, e.g. in analysis of exemplary texts
  • the role(s) of the reader/user in narrative journalism, e.g. in interactive stories
  • the audiences’ consumption of narrative journalism, for example relative to their other
  • news and media consumption
  • the role(s) of the platform in narrative journalism and new journalistic forms with narrative
  • features such as news games, TikTok journalism, Insta-stories and cartoon journalism
  • critical aspects that may spark discussion of the characteristics of narrative journalism.

It is our hope and wish that with this special issue we can enrich the Nordic research dialogue when it comes to narrative journalism. We invite contributions in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian, but also welcome contributions in English. We initially select articles for the special issue based on submitted abstracts. Please submit an abstract of 400-500 words outlining the article you would like to contribute, including its problem/focus, main contribution as well as theory, method and possibly case to Steffen Moestrup ( The deadline for abstracts is October 1st 2022. If your article is accepted for the special issue, the deadline for submitting an manuscript ready for peer review is February 1st 2023. We intend for the special issue to be published in autumn 2023.

The guest editors for the special issue are:

Steffen Moestrup, senior associate professor, Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX),
Rasmus Rønlev, associate professor, University of Southern Denmark (SDU),


Dalviken, L. (2005). Fortællende journalistik i Norden. Århus: Ajour.
Hvid, M. (2007). Fascinerende fortælling – Den journalistiske feature. Århus: Update.
Jørgensen, John Chr. (2007). Journalistik med stil. Fra klassiske nyheder til fortælling. Århus: Ajour.
Kinch-Jensen, A. (2001). Forankring fryder. Journalistisk fortælleteknik. Århus: Ajour.
Skjold, S. B. (2015). Den journalistiske fortælling. Frederiksberg: Dansklærerforeningen.
Sønnichsen, O., & Kramer, M. (2002). Virkelighedens fortællere. Ny amerikansk journalistik. Århus: Ajour.
Van Krieken, K., & Sanders, J. (2021). What is narrative journalism? A systematic review and an empirical
agenda. Journalism, 22(6), 1393–1412.
Vaaben, L. (2019). Fortællingernes tid. Styrken i fortællende journalistik. København: Informations forlag.