The implications of datafication in media work (DataMedia)

You will be hard-pressed to find a journalistic or media environment that does not use data and metrics to measure how their content, or indeed their workers, perform. However, the use of metrics (such as audience metrics) and sheer volume of data can cause metric anxiety among media workers. This is especially true when data becomes sacrosanct to evaluate the performance of media content, or the media workers who create them. With this project we want to investigate the implications datafication of media work environments has for the work experiences, wellbeing, and professional identities of those working in media.  

We broadly define datafication, in organizational contexts, as the practice of taking an activity, behaviour, or process, and turning it into meaningful data to be categorised, analysed, and used to identify and predict patterns in the motivations, behaviours, and performance of employees. For us, the question is not whether datafication will, or has, changed media work, but rather in what ways the nature of media work is changing and with what consequences for media workers.

In this research project data will be collected through interviews, observations, and surveys. The results will inform scholars and practitioners about the implications of data and metrics in contemporary work environments. We will specifically develop insights that aid media organizations in managing the multivalent involvement of data in work processes while developing and maintaining a motivating, inspiring, and human(e) workplace.

The research is funded by the Helsingin Sanomain Säätiö for the years 2023 – 2024.

Get to know the research team