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ECREA Section Conference: Journalism in Transition: Crisis or Opportunity?

The Journalism Studies Section of ECREA organises an international conference in Thessaloniki (Greece) 28-29 March 2014. The call for papers is now open and abstract submission deadline is 1 October 2013.

Jelen-Sanchez, Alenka 08.05.2013

Journalism and the news are in transition – not only in Europe but around the world. This transformation has important ramifications for society and public discourse. News organizations face increased economic pressure, cutbacks in news gathering resources, and shrinking editorial autonomy. As a consequence, the quality of many news outlets is deteriorating, and audiences feel less confident in the news media. Furthermore, changes in media technologies have substantially shaken up long-held beliefs about the nature of news and well-pampered practices of journalism, while the industry still in search of viable business models for institutionalized journalism in the Internet era.

These and other developments have given rise to crisis narratives in journalism research and the public arena, with a few scholars and practitioners proclaiming the “death” or “end” of journalism. At the same time, the manifold challenges faced by journalism today – perhaps unprecedented in its history – can also be considered an historical opportunity. Hence, journalism as we know it is in transition, and journalism research should be able to play a constructive role in this process.

It is for this reason that the Journalism Studies Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) devotes its 2014 conference on the transformation of journalism – its manifestations, causes, and consequences. The conference intends to provide a venue for the theoretical, critical and empirical engagement with these issues in both national and international contexts. Submissions from all theoretical, epistemological, and methodological perspectives are welcome. Proposals may be based on empirical evidence, as well as on critical and/or theoretical interventions. The following four problem areas will be emphasized during the conference, but submissions may well go beyond these areas:

Manifestations of transformation: Proposals may examine ways in which processes of digitalization and marketization shape the production, content and consumption of news. Attention may be paid to tabloidization, participation, acceleration and fragmentation in the news, a loss of editorial autonomy, the erosion of a professional identity, as well as the increased precariousness of journalistic work.

Causes of transformation: Submitters may focus on the changes in the technological and economic contexts of journalism, most notably on processes of digitalization and economization. Proposals may assess the extent to which these factors play out in distinct organizational, economic, and regulatory contexts.

Consequences of transformation: Proposals may focus on the consequences of journalism’s transformation on individuals, organizations, and society. Attention may be devoted, for instance, to individualization and increased mobility of news consumption, as well as to the implications of this change for social cohesion and the fabric of the public sphere.

Theories, concepts and methodologies: Submissions may revisit journalism’s conceptual boundaries in light of current developments that may call for a redefinition of news and journalism, with key implications for comparative research.

28-29 March 2014

Call for papers:
Proposals should be submitted in the form of abstracts (max. 500 words) and in English, along with contact information to the organizing committee (at

Deadline for submission:
1 October 2013.

Panel submissions are welcome and should provide a rationale and brief descriptions of all presentations. Submissions will be subjected to peer review; accepted proposals will be announced in early November 2013.

Inquiries should be addressed to Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou ( or Thomas Hanitzsch (


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