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[ecrea] Call for chapters for a Nordicom book on teletext
Wed Nov 13 05:20:29 GMT 2013
Call for Chapters for a Nordicom book on teletext
We invite colleagues to submit a proposal for a chapter contribution to
an edited book on teletext published by Nordicom.
Edited book topic and scope
This edited book will take the ‘forgotten’ medium of teletext as an
innovative inroad to understand the way in which ‘new’ media
developments - identified as digitization, convergence, hyper-mobility
and social media - impact on and are appropriated by ‘old’ media. We
invite contributions from colleagues specialized in media and ICT
history, media and ICT policy, technology and society, media and
language, and other relevant fields to help fill the extensive gap in
academic knowledge on the development and the current and future status
of teletext as a medium for communication, and contribute to a research
framework fit to analyze the impact of the new on the old.
Utilizing free distribution capacity in terrestrial broadcast networks
in the 1970s, teletext was the result of experiments that started with
subtitle services. Teletext has enjoyed huge and continued success in
countries all over Europe, including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the
Nordic countries and the UK. Indeed, teletext’s popularity with
audiences survived the arrival of internet, digitization, mobile and
social media. It appears these new media even helped to secure
teletext’s continued success e.g., in several countries teletext pages
are very popular on the internet, and the teletext mobile media app is
the most popular (and most downloaded) app of Flemish public service
broadcasting (PSB). This huge success with European audiences contrast
sharply with the neglect of teletext by academic researchers. At best it
is mentioned ‘in passing’, as by-product of traditional broadcasting
services, considered on its way out with the rapid introduction of new
hyper-mobile, social and other text-based digital services. Even major
works on European broadcasting history tend to neglect this part of the
institutional and journalistic development.
As a media technology and service, teletext provides a prime case to
understand pressing questions regarding media change. Technologically,
teletext represented a ‘pull’ service within what was at the time the
‘push’ domain of broadcasting. In a sense, teletext represented a
pre-runner to the world wide web. This is the case content-wise, since
teletext made news and other informational services available ’on
demand’. The technical restrictions regarding the number of characters
and lines for each teletext page led to a special journalistic style:
brief, ‘dry’, to the point, similar to today’s RSS feeds and Twitter.
Policy-wise, teletext services in many countries became controversial as
they represented an expansion for the often publicly funded, public
service broadcasters into an area many saw as the territory of newspaper
publishers. In several European countries (e.g. Germany) the fight over
the organization of teletext services proved an omen for long-lasting
debates between PSB and commercial competitors that marked especially
the first decade of the 2000s. Elsewhere, in the 1990s, teletext became
a probe into the digital future, as broadcasters envisioned a
convergence between broadcasting and the internet, and moved to exploit
the commercial potential of teletext. During this period, teletext
became the centre of attention for some regulatory agencies, e.g. in
Norway, as it represented an “acid test” for the future of PSB.
Range of potential contributions
To fill the academic blind spot, the edited book will deal with this
forgotten topic by inviting contributions that can be historical and
diachronic as well as national and international comparative studies. We
expect the edited book to contain 12 to 16 chapters, together with an
Questions that can be tackled include:
- Under what institutional, political, technological and economic
circumstances did teletext develop in different countries, and how can
we understand its success or lack thereof?
- How did teletext content develop in different contexts – from the
instant news provision, via classified ads, to “chat room” services –
and how can we understand the genres and styles of teletext?
- How can the relative ‘policy silence’ and limited industrial interest
throughout the history of teletext - as against its continued success
with users - be explained, and what can it tell us about how certain
media developments manage to attract policy and industrial attention and
others remain in the background?
- How can an analysis of the historical development inform an
alternative history of the development of other media such as internet
that can question dominant views on these histories?
- How can we understand teletext’s current success in a world of
digital, hyper-mobile and social media, and what lessons can we learn
from this about dynamics of media change in general?
- In what ways do new media developments impinge on the possibilities
and uses of teletext, and how does the morphing of teletext to fit new
media platforms (like smart phone apps and websites) change our
impression of continuity and disruption in technological developments
from an historical perspective?
- How can we develop a conceptual and methodological framework to
analyze the impact of new media developments on existing media in a
diachronic and transnational perspective?
- What can an analysis of the history of this medium tell us about
current issues and debates about the introduction of new media and their
impact on existing media?
Instructions for contributors
Abstract of 750 words explaining the topic, theoretical framework and
empirical work/case of your proposed chapter as well as a 100 word
author’s bio are expected no later than January 15, 2014 and should be
sent to (info /at/ teletext-research.eu)
Authors will be informed of acceptance no later than February 15. Full
manuscripts are to be completed by June 15, 2014. Manuscripts should be
between 6000 and 8000 words and must follow APA. They will be submitted
to double blind peer review. Expected time of completion of the book is
For further information, please write to (info /at/ teletext-research.eu)
We look forward to receive your abstracts.
Hallvard Moe (University of Bergen, Norway) and Hilde Van den Bulck
(University of Antwerp, Belgium)
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