Rethinking News Work Between Data-Drivenness, Hacking and Activism
In 2013, Arianna Huffington wrote about the future of journalism: “The future will definitely be a hybrid one, combining the best practices of traditional journalism – fairness, accuracy, storytelling, deep investigations – with the best tools available to the digital world – speed, transparency, and, above all, engagement.” As journalism becomes increasingly networked and participatory – produced by different actors, professionals and amateurs alike, with different backgrounds, intentions, forms, discourses and genres, and often grounded on diverging norms – new types of hybrid journalism arise. On the one hand, this trend towards hybrid forms of journalism transcends traditional and monolithic conceptions of journalism, making the already difficult task to define journalism even less straightforward. On the other hand, it enables new forms of journalistic truth-telling (Baym, 2017) at the intersection of journalism, storytelling and activism. Therefore, this pre-conference wants to explore, discuss and shed light on the different types and forms of hybrid journalism, what hybridity actually means and what consequences it entails for news work.
Scholars like Carlson (2015, 2016) and Lewis (2012, see also Carlson & Lewis, 2015) have shown that the boundaries of journalism are more and more contested as journalists are forced to renegotiate the space between producers and users in a digital environment characterized by high choice (Van Aelst et al., 2017) and a participatory culture (Jenkins, 2013). The established news production with its specific set of epistemological beliefs is thus confronted with new actors and professional roles such as data journalists, hackers, cybersecurity experts, activists or whistleblowing platforms that turn journalism into an ambiguous term. These circumstances might result in tensions over definitions of journalism or it spheres of influence as cultures, role conceptions, epistemologies, norms and educational paths increasingly differ. However, they can also entail wilful attempts of boundary crossing (Beckett & Mansell, 2008), for instance through institutionalized collaborations between newsrooms and whistleblowing platforms, making the boundaries even more porous.
The preconference aims at exploring uncovered and new forms of hybrid journalism in order to map potential instances of boundary crossing or dissolving boundaries in the field. Overall, the preconference wants to challenge conventional and oversimplifying concepts of journalism, particularly with regard to the use of data. Hybrid journalism requires us to rethink theories about how to define journalism, and some of its most central notions such as autonomy, collaboration, objectivity, the separation of news and entertainment or the separation between fact and fiction (or disinformation). This pre-conference wants therefore to discuss, with a specific emphasis on the role of data-driven journalism, cybersecurity and the role of coders/hackers in the newsroom, the different kinds of hybrid journalism, what hybrid journalism actually means and what consequences it entails for news work. In addition we would like to explore collaborative news production between journalists and actors outside the established journalistic field, and how they shape the culture(s) of journalism. We also encourage scholars to submit papers that cover non-Western countries, given that hybrid journalism can also be observed in countries such as China (Dai, 2013).
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- The role of data-driven reporting in shaping the journalistic culture
- The borderline between activism and journalism
- Hybrid journalism and investigative journalism
- The importance of cybersecurity for and its impact on journalism
- Alternative technologies and networks for reporting and news-making
- The consequences of dissolving boundaries and shifting norms for journalistic authority
- Ethical challenges of hybrid journalism
- The amalgamation of pop culture and news reporting
- The consequences for newsmaking of different role conceptions of actors participating in the networked news production
- Specific genres of hybrid journalism
- Hybrid forms of journalism and advertising
- The organizational implementation of hybrid journalism
The preconference would like to bring together researchers from different backgrounds. Also experts from outside academia are welcome, particularly in order to foster the discussion between scholars and practitioners on hybrid forms of journalism. In addition, the preconference wants to bring together young and established scholars. Consequently, we specifically encourage submissions from young and emerging scholars, particularly from the YECREA network. We expect to host around 25-30 attendees including scholars and experts interested in the topic.
Abstracts of 500 words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 May, 2018. The abstracts should include the main idea/argument, research questions, a short literature review and/or theoretical perspectives, information on methodology and empirical findings (if relevant). Again, we welcome all different kinds of approaches, including discussions of literature, concepts and theories, historical perspectives and empirical analyses. All submitted abstracts must be anonymous with no reference to authors. Please include your names, affiliations and contact details either in the mail or in a separate attachment.
All submissions will be blindly peer-reviewed and acceptance notifications will be sent out on June 11, 2018.
The preconference takes place on 31 October, 2018, in Lugano, Switzerland.
The registration opens after the acceptance notifications have been sent out.
The participation fees are as follows:
Non members: 80 EUR
Regular ECREA members: 50 EUR
PhD-student: 30 EUR
(University of Zurich, Department of Communication and Media Research IKMZ)
Philip Di Salvo
(Università della Svizzera italiana, Institute of Media and Journalism IMeG)