From sound to screen: a qualitative study of NRK P3 Dokumentar

Ana Laws, Kjetil Vaage Øie, Jon HarmanTormod Utne, Ivar John Erdal

From sound to screen: a qualitative study of NRK P3 Dokumentar

What changes take place when teams of journalists that have worked with radiodocumentaries expand their universe to include multiple screens? “From sound toscreen: a qualitative study of NRK (Norwegian public service broadcaster) P3Documentary” is a case study of the ongoing expansion of NRK P3 Documentary (hereinafter P3 Dok).

We are interested in changes in relation to the organization and journalistic practices and procedures documentary producers, journalists, and designers go through when moving from audio to multiple screens and onlineplatforms. P3 Dok is originally a radio show that focuses on “young Norwegian reality”.

Although it is a radio program, P3 Dok has as most significant publication channel a podcast, which is among the most visited items on every week. Since its inception in 2012, P3 Dok has published about 80 documentaries on the website, won the “NRK Journalist Prize” in 2012, has been nominated for the Prix Europa and Prix Italia in2013, and won “web piece -small newsroom” in NONA 2014. A major change in production practices of P3 Dok is planned from the end of 2015.

P3 Dok will start producing television documentaries and will further enhance its weboffer. So far, however, no “new media professions” (e.g. media producers trained in documentary or within transmedia or cross-media production) have been hired to make the change, and content creators will continue to be mostly recruited amongst traditional journalism professionals.

One of the biggest challenges some P3 Dok journalists report about working in this new setting is that they must think of severaldifferent platforms while gathering the footage and audio content. In addition, concepts such as cross-media, web documentary, multi-platform or transmediadocumentary are at the moment not being actively used in strategies for the newproductions.

Our project will examine P3 Dok to understand:

1) editorial and production practices for multiple platforms, and the changes taking place in the expansion of radio to television and to web-documentary

2) how these new practices are reflected in the finished web-documentary productions. We will do so by drawing upon the broad issues raised by Deuze (2007) on the new demands that the network society imposes upon media work, Karlsen’s (2014) work on the state of transmedia documentary production in Norway, Moe (2008) and Sundet (2008) research on the use of new technologies and storytelling formats in Norwegian Public Service companies, Nygren’s (2014) discussion on multi-skilling and changes in journalistic practices, and we also draw comparisons to research by Edmonds (2015) into new radio practices, including transmedia-radio, in the U.S. and Australia. Data-gathering activities are to be conducted in the Spring of 2016, and we would like to report the preliminary results of our investigation at i-Docs 2016.