In what manner may narrative theory be applied to visual research? This digital story tackles the various ways in which newspapers construct stories through the use of visuals and text. Using a case study of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s coverage of the Cebu Pacific flight 387 crash in 1998, it ultimately aims to raise questions about how a newspaper churns out a narrative of tragedy as informed by the dominant discourse of what remains to be “newsworthy”. By using a pool of data (composed of news photographs, headlines and captions) within a three-week period, it focuses on the narrative logic of a Filipino newspaper in the portrayal of a national tragedy.
What is implicitly woven throughout this analysis is a deeply personal narrative as well. As a researcher deeply imbricated in her topic of study, the challenge to eliminate, or at least minimize bias becomes even more herculean. ‘Data’, here, is not simply a pool of images, or headlines, or words to be dissected—but just like Barthes’ punctum, it is “that accident which pricks, bruises me”.