A Question of Power - Conflict, agreement and negotiation between journalists and their sources
Call for Papers
Groningen, September 29-30, 2011
UPDATE: Confirmed keynotes
In the two-day conference ‘A Question of Power’, the changing dynamics between journalists and their sources will be addressed. Conventional wisdom is that reporters want to obtain newsworthy or even spectacular information while their sources aim for a profitable image. However, among media researchers, be they from a political communications or journalism studies perspective, there is consensus that this relation has changed dramatically. Broadly discussed under the idea of ‘mediatization’, it is thought that media logic increasingly determines the language in which public communication takes place. On the other hand, the proliferation of social media allows sources to bypass journalists to speak to audiences directly. Yet, the effect of these changes on the journalist-source relationship is not clear-cut and the question of how they affect the power relations between reporters and their sources has so far remained largely neglected. Is the development towards a ‘mediatized’ public sphere detrimental to meaningful political debate? And what does it mean for the journalist’s autonomy? This conference seeks to investigate how the journalist-source relationship as we know it has transformed and still is transforming.
A special focus of this conference is on the changing norms and forms of the journalistic interview, as it is an act central to modern news journalism, embodying the complexity and struggles that exist between reporter and source. This relation is most intensively researched in political journalism, but the changes mentioned above are also relevant for sports, celebrity, human interest and many other journalistic categories. The form of the interview significantly influences the reporter-source relation. For example, the difference between a conversation with an eye-witness, broadcasted live on television, and a multiple-page interview with a celebrity in a glossy magazine that results from several hours of conversation clearly impacts the interaction between interviewer and interviewee.
Comparison across time, media platforms and national environments is welcome. Submissions that address the following aspects – and the research challenges they present – are encouraged:
- Changes in the interaction between journalists and sources
- Mediatization and/or personalization in the interview
- Increasingly image-conscious and media-trained sources
- The position of the interview in different types of journalism
- Negotiating media content: do sources have a say?
- Changes in the role and position of the interview in the newsgathering process
- The interview as an instrument of accountability
- The ‘celebrity journalist’
Submissions are welcome in the form of a working abstract (maximum of 400 words). Participants are advised that the organizers seek to publish a selection of essays from the workshop, either in a special issue of a journal or in an edited volume.
Abstracts, along with full contact information (title, name, affiliation, email), should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by april 15, 2011. If your proposal is accepted, rough papers (approximately 4000-6000 words) are expected by september 15, 2011.
September 29-30, 2011.
Keynote speeches will be held by prof. Steven Clayman (Professor of Sociology, University of California) sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/clayman/Site/Home.html and Åsa Kroon-Lundell (Associate Professor in Media and Communication, Örebro University). oru.se/English/Organization/School-of-Humanities-Education-and-Social-Sciences/PersonalPages/Asa-Kroon-Lundell/
In this conference, the keynote adresses will be combined with expert workshops and discussion, the overall aim being a fruitful scholarly debate. The conference will start on Thursday morning and will run until Friday afternoon (around 3 p.m.). Accommodation will be provided for all accepted paper contributors.
Bas den Herder, Birte Schohaus, and Professor Marcel Broersma, Groningen Centre for Journalism Studies, University of Groningen
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