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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
African Journalism Studies

For a Special Issue on
Old problems and new journalism? Exploring the contours of African environmental communication

Abstract deadline
30 September 2022

Manuscript deadline
30 June 2023

Cover image - African Journalism Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

Dr Emenyeonu C. Ogadimma, University of Sharjah, UAE
[email protected]

Dr Julian Matthews, University of Leicester, UK
[email protected]

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Old problems and new journalism? Exploring the contours of African environmental communication

It is noteworthy that environmental issues are growing in prominence within Africa and African journalism is responding by offering new and existing spaces for their deliberation.  Given these developments, this Special Issue seeks to update our knowledge of environmental journalism at the present time and, specifically, to offer a space to interrogate some important conceptual developments for environmental communication in the African context.  First, then, the issue seeks to reengage with longstanding environmental problems in the continent.  Momentarily placing to one side the developing academic interest in the reporting of global climatic changes (see Wasserman 2012), it will concentrate on the presence and recent development of existing environmental problems reported in African journalism against patterns of problem exacerbating economic growth across countries (Sarkodie 2018). Showcased, therefore, will be the characteristics of the African context as important to understanding any developing environmental communications. In contrast to the often-rehearsed assumptions about western political and media operations, the spotlight will fall on the interconnections between the often unique and diverging political contexts and governmental economic policies in African countries and the associated news agendas and environmental reporting of countries’ media outlets.

Consequently, a related, second, concern of this Special Issue will be to explore the presence of environmental journalism at this time. Of interest is to chart the development and maintenance of specialist reporting on the environment in African countries given what we know of its unequal history and presence (Jjuuko 2020) and its potential, alongside democratic developments, to assist in mitigating environmental problems (Farzanegan and Markwardt 2018). Equally of interest, nevertheless, will be the specifics of when the environment becomes the subject of interest for ‘ordinary’ reporters and their news writing. Such interest helps to clarify a final, third, concern of the issue that focuses on exploring new conceptual views of the professional mediation of environmental issues.  Research into the experiences of African journalists echoes the importance of the unique African news-making context.  Understanding the practice to report environmental problems and solutions demands that we consider, therefore, the relationship between journalism and various configurations of media ownership, wider political reaction to problems and solutions - including environmental public relations, the various states of journalists’ precarity and professionalism (Matthews and Onyemaobi 2020), alongside other regional related concerns. At the same time, it is important to recognise that African media news ecologies are providing additional opportunities for environmental reporting at this time. Observed here is a growth in online news outlets and their diverging news agendas and audiences, together with an expansion of new forms of participatory and citizen journalism.  The collective impact of these developments on the visibility of environmental problems local to the region demands further analysis. In sum, the African continent offers a unique context to further explore the production of environmental communication and develop, subsequently, new conceptual views of the practice, and impacts of environmental journalism.

Hence, we invite papers that will theorise and/ or empirically map African environmental journalism. Pertinent themes may include, but are not restricted, to:

-Environmental specialist reporters

-Training and professional practice for environmental reporting

-Journalists’ relationship with environmental advocacy and PR

-Legacy and online news production and environmental news writing

-Framed environmental news coverage and visuals

-Alternative environmental views from citizen and activist journalism.

-Politics, media ownership and the visibility of environmental concerns

-Journalists, reporting and public opinion

-Journalism, audiences, and green culture

Submission Instructions

Interested authors should submit an abstract of 300 words (including their name(s) and institutional affiliation(s)), on or before 30/09/2022,  to the following: [email protected]  Authors of accepted abstracts will be required then to submit a full paper (8000 words) according to the following timeline:

Timeline:

22/04/2022 Call for Papers
30/09/2022 Deadline for abstract submission
10/10/2022 Review of abstracts and communication to prospective authors.
16/03/2023 Hybrid symposium with prospective authors
30/06/2023 Deadline for submission of full papers
30/08/2023 Editorial review of full papers
15/09/2023 Communication to authors of decisions and revisions on papers
30/09/2023 Submission of final version of articles to the publisher

 

Symposium:

The Special Issue will be linked to a hybrid symposium, hosted by the University of Sharjah, U.A.E. The symposium will bring together authors of the selected abstracts to discuss their proposed work and to create potential synergies prior to paper submission. Hybridity will allow those authors, who may experience issues barring travel, to participate. Further, and depending on approval, the organizers may be able to waive fees for accommodation and meals for some designated participants, including PhD students.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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