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Free Content Journalism in the age of hybridization: Los vagabundos de la chatarra – comics journalism, data, maps and advocacy

The process of hybridization has pervaded all fields of human communication; journalism and activism are no exceptions. An example is the graphic project Los vagabundos de la chatarra, an editorial undertaking that comprises observations, drawings, data, a map, a video and accounts of the people who gathered and sold scrap metal for a living on the edges of Barcelona during the economic crisis that started in 2007. This exploration is conducted and communicated in an extremely hybrid manner: it visualizes data on a map, it strives for social change, it is journalistic and it has a comic design face. Relying on media literature and critical data studies, discourse analysis and qualitative interviewing, this article examines the multifaceted shapes that activism and journalism are taking in complex times and explores the potential for subversion that such formats offer. The findings suggest that activists and journalists around the world are embarking on unapologetic hybridization, crossing lines between journalism, campaigning and art.

Keywords: comics journalism; critical cartography; data activism; graphic novel; hybridization; journalism; maps

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universidad de Deusto

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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