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[ecrea] CFP Constructed | Constructive Journalism

Wed Mar 09 18:01:05 GMT 2016

Call for papers

Constructed|Constructive Journalism

8-9 December 2016

Brussels Institute for Journalism Studies (BIJU)

Department of Applied Linguistics

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium

Deadline for proposals: 30 June 2016

Plenary speakers

Cathrine Gyldensted (Windesheimhogeschool Zwolle, The Netherlands)

Peter Bull (University of York, UK)

This conference aims at bringing together researchers from different
backgrounds investigating construction in journalism.

We define construction in a twofold way. On the one hand, there is the
perspective of journalism as an interpretive and discursive construction
of social reality which goes back to postmodern and poststructuralist
approaches. In this view, news is the product of linguistic and
journalistic choices with possible ideological implications. A recent
interpretation of this approach focuses on the deconstruction of the
idea of the journalist as an ‘objective’ gatekeeper by pointing out new
and hybrid roles like that of storyteller, activist or opinion leader.
Likewise, the discursive construction of ‘reality’ has evolved along
with the development of grassroots and participatory types of
journalism  afforded by new media technologies. Contemporary analyses
have responded to, and moved beyond postmodern and poststructuralist
thinking by initiating a ‘both/neither’ dialogue between notions of
deconstruction and reconstruction.

On the other hand, there is the perspective of journalism as a
constructive activity. Whereas journalistic practice traditionally was
defined as impartial and detached, many practitioners and scholars
nowadays adhere to the vision that journalists should not only point out
problems, but should also play an active role in proposing solutions.
Also, in the constructive view, journalists should not ruminate the
negative aspects of the news, but they should try to bring untold and
affirmative stories. Constructive journalism draws on insights from
positive psychology and reception studies and purports to frame news by
involving and connecting audiences. Inclusion is an important topic
within this perspective, not only as covered in political news but also
in all other beats (sports, culture, lifestyle, etc.). Constructive
journalism can be related to other approaches of journalism, such as
slow journalism, hyperlocal, activist, citizen and peace journalism.

We want to encourage participants to engage in a critical discussion of
constructed and/or constructive forms of journalism and to also consider
possible overlap and tensions or interactions between both forms.

Is constructiveness a construction just like objectivity,
adversarialness, neutrality or neutralism? Does construction sometimes
occur with constructive purposes? What are the boundaries between
constructive journalism and biased forms of communication or even
activism? The role of social media and alternative media in this process
will be a special point of interest.

Inspirational literature:

Bull, Peter, Ralph Negrine & Katie Hawn (2014). Telling it like it is or
just telling a good story? Editing techniques in news coverage of the
British parliamentary expenses scandal. Language and Dialogue 4:2, 213-233.

Gyldensted, Cathrine (2015). From Mirrors to Movers. Five Elements of
Positive Psychology in  Constructive Journalism. s.l., GGroup Publishing.

Although our institute is part of a linguistics department, we welcome
submissions from all relevant disciplinary backgrounds approaching
topics including but certainly not limited to:

* the construction of news in broadcast journalism as well as in the
written and online press

* the borderlines between constructive journalism, solution-oriented
journalism and activism

* (linguistic aspects of) the representation of minority groups and the

* psychological effects of good/bad news and of specific types of framing

* social media and journalism from a constructivist/constructive perspective

* alternative vs. mainstream media from a constructivist/constructive

We welcome both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and analyses
at process, product/text, and/or audience level.

All papers will be published (after the authors’ consent) in the
electronic proceedings of the conference and we are planning to publish
a selection of the papers in a volume and/or a special issue.

As there will be separate panel sessions for PhD students, junior
researchers are warmly invited to participate.

The venue for the conference will be the Royal Flemish Academy of
Belgium for Science and the Arts, Academy Palace – Hertogsstraat/ Rue
Ducale 1 - 1000 Brussels, Belgium (next to the Royal Palace, in the
heart of Brussels). (

Conference fee (including pre-conference reception, lunch, coffee): €
150 (regular participants), € 75 (PhD students).

Dinner will be organized on Friday 9 December and charged separately.

Please send a proposal of no more than 300 words (excluding selected
references) together with your affiliation and a short biography (c. 100
words) to (construjou /at/ by 30 June 2016. Decisions will be
announced by 15 August.  Questions about any aspect of the conference
should be addressed to (construjou /at/

For updates on the practical organization, please check our website:

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