Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
For a Special Issue on
Journalistic Role Performance in Times of Change
16 December 2022
01 July 2023
Special Issue Editor(s)
School of Journalism, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
Department of Communication, University of California, San Diego
Journalistic Role Performance in Times of Change
Over the past decade, research on journalistic role performance—defined as the study of how particular journalistic norms and ideals are collectively negotiated and result in specific practices—has become very important among scholars from the Global North and South, providing a more thorough understanding of the processes behind journalistic practices in relation to normative expectations in a fluid media environment.
While journalists must adapt, adjust, and perform multiple roles on a daily basis in response to ever-changing circumstances, shifting norms, rapidly changing technology, political polarization, and a years-long pandemic are making the profession more challenging than ever. In public discourse, journalists are often derided as failing to live up to their duties to serve society, and public distrust with media performance is widespread and by many accounts increasing. At the same time, journalists across the world are working in smaller newsrooms, covering a variety of beats, feeding more platforms, often in environments that offer little job security. How do these circumstances impact the performance of journalistic roles? How is the performance of journalistic roles shaped in the news, and how do journalistic ideals compare to actual practice?
As a concept, role performance conceives of journalism as a social practice, focusing on the interplay between political economy, agency, and the structure of the media. This epistemic umbrella provides a strong theoretical and empirical framework to account for the fluid, dynamic nature of journalistic roles and to explore the constant tension between norms, ideals, and the practices of journalists and news organizations in different institutional settings.
This special issue explores the factors shaping journalistic roles, what roles journalists most frequently perform in their newsrooms, the way journalists feel they can perform multiple roles, to what extent journalistic ideals consistently or fully match the real-world behavior of journalists and the content of news media in different newsrooms, how this varies across space and time, and how this affects the way audiences evaluate the profession.
We welcome empirical and theoretical submissions that contribute to the further development of this research area. Contributions to this special issue may employ different methodological and theoretical approaches and study professional roles and role performance from different levels of analysis.
A conference related to this special issue, “Between ideals and practices: Journalistic role performance in transformative times,” will be held by Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) in May, 2023 before the ICA Conference. People interested in submitting to the special issue are encouraged, but not required, to submit to this conference as well.
The special issue aims to bring together innovative, thought-provoking contributions, from different national and regional contexts, exploring a range of topics, including:
- Professional roles and pandemic reporting: How has the pandemic affected roles performed by journalists? How has journalistic content creation changed/evolved and how has a global pandemic impacted the ways journalists view their roles?
- Role performance and technology: How have technology and AI modified news media practices and consumption? How has the digital transformation of journalism impacted the performance of journalistic roles in the news? How are converged newsrooms that deliver to multiple platforms changing traditional roles?
- Role performance and media systems: What political, social and economic contexts shape the performance of journalistic roles?
- Role performance and news beats: How does the performance of professional roles vary across news beats and genres?
Role performance and news routines: How do journalistic roles materialize in, or are shaped by, the practices of sourcing, newsgathering, and packaging the news?
- Role performance and audiences: How do audiences play a role —shaping, perceiving or receiving— the roles that news media and journalists perform?
- Methodological challenges of studying journalistic roles: What are the best practices to engage with and gain access to journalists and for data collection and analysis in the study of journalistic role performance?
- Blurred professional boundaries: How do the proliferation of digital media and the variety of actors and channels introduced into the circulation of news affect professional norms and role performance?
This is a call for extended abstracts (500-750 words), accompanied by a 100-150-word bio introducing your relevant expertise. Abstracts should be sent no later than December 16, to [email protected] and [email protected]. Upon selection, scholars will be invited to submit full papers. Article submissions should be about 8,000 words in length, including references, and are subject to full blind peer-review, in accordance with the peer-review procedure of Journalism Practice. Manuscripts will be submitted through the journal’s ScholarOne website. Authors must indicate that they wish to have their manuscript considered for this Special Issue.
Deadline submission of extended abstracts: December 16, 2022
Decision on abstracts: February 1, 2023
Deadline for full-papers submission: July 1, 2023.
Publication: Online first after acceptance, and later in a forthcoming issue of Journalism Practice.
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