International Journal of Communication
Publishes Special Section
Voices for a New Vernacular: A Forum on
Digital Storytelling


Changing media and communications technologies have ushered in an era of constant digital connection. And yet, in the face of all this change, it seems that storytelling — the human impulse to create narrative — persists. Across video games, social media, and various Internet platforms, the dynamics of audience agency have shifted. New technologies have allowed for stories that illuminate new political possibilities, while media companies have created new ways to profit from this activity. Still, the impulse to craft and consume narrative provides a common strand that unites digital storytelling with its earlier, analog forms.


Leading digital communication scholars have gathered as part of this Special Section, Voices for a New Vernacular: A Forum on Digital Storytelling, to explore the overlaps of old and new that comprise the term “digital storytelling.” Conducted as interviews, these free-ranging contributions explore the following: What makes digital storytelling unique? What are its possibilities for social and cultural transformation? How does it draw attention to the relationship between humans and machines? Is there actually anything new about digital storytelling at all?


Edited by Anandam Kavoori, Mark C. Lashley, and Brian Creech, the Special Section features interviews with the following scholars that published March 13, 2017. Please Ctrl+Click on the scholar’s name below to link to the interview that published. 


Henry Jenkins                   University of Southern California

Zizi Papacharissi                University of Illinois-Chicago

Knut Lundby                     University of Oslo

Janet Murray                     Georgia Institute of Technology

Hector Postigo                  Temple University, USA

Veena Raman                    Pennsylvania State University

Vladimir Barash                 Independent Scholar

Marie-Laure Ryan              Independent Scholar


The contributors offer their provisional thoughts on the perils and potentials of digital storytelling. Because the technology is open-ended, so are the answers. Each response offers the germ of a new idea or line of research and, in their collected form, represent many of the ways the digital has come to occupy a central place in the study of human communication. To quote from Zizi Papacharissi’s contribution, “Technologies network us, but it is our stories that connect us, or further drive us apart.”