Epistemologies of Digital Journalism Production

Deadline (abstracts): 11 November 2022

Edited by Gregory Perreault (Appalachian State University), Maxwell Foxman (University of Oregon), Phoebe Maares (University of Vienna), and Valerie Hase (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)

Epistemologies of Digital Journalism Production

From a sociological perspective, journalistic epistemologies refer to the claims of journalism regarding knowledge and truth (Ekström & Westlund, 2019a; Lewis & Westlund, 2014): how journalists know and produce what they know, and how such knowledge claims are produced, expressed, and accepted. They serve an essential societal function in the legitimization and production of knowledge (Uusitalo et al., 2021). Ultimately, such epistemologies not only impact the ways journalists approach their work, but also how knowledge and information are understood as newsworthy, and thus accepted by the public. As such, these “epistemologies of digital journalism” (Ekström & Westlund, 2019b: p. 260) necessitate further exploration and investigation.

While questions about journalism as a knowledge-producing institution have long occupied journalism studies (Lippmann, 1992; Tuchman, 1978), such debates have re-emerged in digital contexts under the heading of journalistic epistemologies (Carlson, 2020; Ekström, 2002; Godler et al., 2020; Nielsen, 2017). Recent studies in communication science shed light on how misinformation challenges and changes these epistemologies (Ekström et al., 2020). This call focuses on how journalists constitute “news production” in times of economic and technological change.

We invite submissions that theorize, describe, or contextualize epistemological shifts in digital journalism production. First, this includes (re)theorizing shifting journalistic epistemologies–what does it mean for journalistic epistemology to shift? (Ekström & Westlund, 2019b; Godler et al., 2020; Mutsvairo et al., 2021) Second, describing such shifts–for instance, in changing epistemic practices as observable in new/under-studied news genres such as mobile journalism, podcast journalism, or data journalism (Canavilhas, 2021; Ekström et al., 2021; Zamith and Westlund, 2022). Lastly, we seek submissions that contextualize these epistemological shifts by discussing the influence of economic, production, and professional aspects such as organizational and time pressures (Harro-Loit & Josephi, 2020), access to resources (Ferrucci & Perreault, 2021; Örnebring et al., 2018), hiring practices and economic precarity (Cohen, 2015; Matthews & Onyemaobi, 2020), social support and social connection with the profession (Nieborg & Foxman, 2018; Miller & Lewis, 2020; Steinke & Bélair-Gagnon, 2020; Wahl-Jorgensen, 2020), or the influence of technological aspects (Perreault & Ferrucci, 2020) related to emerging platforms for news like Instagram, TikTok, or messenger apps (Bossio, 2021; Negreira-Rey et al., 2022; Vázquez-Herrero et al., 2019). This explicitly includes the role culture plays for theorizing, describing, and contextualizing processes of knowledge production. Here, we especially invite contributions from outside the US/West-European context or those taking a cross-national perspective.

Ultimately, the special issue will showcase arguments which focus on changes in journalist’s epistemic practices. Journalists need to rapidly adapt news forms and content to changing economic, cultural, and organizational conditions.

For this special issue, we welcome theoretically-informed and empirically-rigorous articles (using quantitative, qualitative, computational, and/or mixed methods) as well as conceptual articles that speak globally to related issues, including but not limited to:

  • (Meta-)theoretical frameworks, discourses, and methodological approaches for studying epistemologies of digital journalism production
  • The influence of emerging or under-researched news forms and genres (e.g., lifestyle journalism, fashion journalism, gaming/video journalism, podcast journalism, data journalism) on knowledge claims and production in the news.
  • Shifting journalistic roles, especially journalists’ openness and epistemological boundaries, often on emerging platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, podcasting platforms, or messenger apps
  • Economic, technical, and cultural factors and contexts leading to epistemological shifts in what constitutes journalists and news, for instance the influence of time and economic pressure, precarity, new infrastructures and platforms for news consumption
  • Audience participation or disengagement with epistemic practices, as well as acceptance or rejection of journalistic claims

Abstract deadline: 11 November 2022
Manuscript deadline: 24 February 2023

No Payment from authors will be required. More information on the call: bit.ly/3qUVDcv For further details please contact Phoebe Maares ((phoebe.maares /at/ univie.ac.at))

Dr. Phoebe Maares
Universitätsassistentin (Postdoc)

Universität Wien
Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft
Währinger Straße 29, 1090 Wien
(phoebe.maares /at/ univie.ac.at) http://journalismstudies.univie.ac.at/
YECREA Representative Journalism Studies Section