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[ecrea] Special Issue of Journalism Studies: Local sources of news for distant audiences
Wed Sep 05 21:24:55 GMT 2018
Call for Papers
*Reporting Global while being Local: Local sources of news for distant
Special Issue of _Journalism Studies_
Chris Paterson (University of Leeds) and Saumava Mitra (University for
There has been copious research over the years concerning foreign
correspondents, but news professionals working in their /own/ countries
but for /distant/ audiences only garnered passing attention of
researchers. But such news-staff – who have been described as
‘local-foreign’ – have long played important roles within international
news production. To gather news in areas considered difficult to access
for foreign journalists, local people are engaged by foreign journalists
as logistical and linguistic aides, known as ‘fixers’. Local journalists
– including visual journalists – are also increasingly employed by
global news organisations to produce news from their home countries for
distant and diverse foreign audiences. Local activists and
non-governmental organisations and foreign news organisations
increasingly collaborate to produce international news. As the costs of
international news production rise and budgets for foreign bureaus are
cut, and as the protracted conflicts of the 21^st century have proved
increasingly dangerous for foreign correspondents to navigate on their
own, the importance of the local collaborators has grown. Consequently,
‘local-foreign news production’ can be understood as expanding in
magnitude and in the kind of actors involved.
In light of these changes, scholars have argued, international news
today needs to be understood as a chorus of voices – both foreign and
local as well as professional and non-professional. Research has shown
that these voices within local-foreign news production arise from
distinct geo-cultural but comparable socio-economic backgrounds in
different parts of the world. International journalistic processes can
also be shaped by both local story-telling objectives as well as efforts
to conform news narratives to those perceived as preferred by foreign
clients and audiences. The growing importance of local-foreign news
workers is also understood as giving rise to tensions between
international news-staff and local news-staff who work side by side.
These tensions have been noted to arise from non-recognition of the
journalistic labour provided by the local news-staff by international
correspondents of news organisations, differing news values among
international and local news-staff as well as differing working and
employment conditions of the local news-workers as opposed to their
international colleagues and counterparts. Research has shown that the
work of local-foreign news-workers is typified by more precarious, and
often dangerous, conditions of employment. In the case of the
news-fixers, researchers are striving to better understand the nature of
news-work performed by them because we are yet to understand the
emotional and cultural aspects of the journalistic labour they perform.
Furthermore, the long-criticized hegemonic practices within
international news production which prioritise Western perspectives and
norms are giving rise to frictions within international media
organisations as local news-staff struggle to come to terms with them.
The prospect of the stereotypes and biases in news produced from Western
perspectives being challenged from within the processes of international
news production by the local news-staff has been shown to be real, but
dependent on the established hierarchies of editorial power within
international news production processes changing from its current
The shift to reliance on local fixers and journalists within
international news production continues unabated today as does the
reliance on locally-based non-professional sources. This special issue
is inspired by the need for geographically broad, theoretically deep,
methodologically sound, and culturally sensitive understandings of these
under-investigated processes of change.
*We invite contributions addressing any of the following questions:*
1. Is local-foreign news production ‘new’ or just more visible than
before? What are the historical trajectories of and factors behind the
recent growth in local-foreign collaboration within international
2. Are locally-based activists and NGO workers who collaborate in or
provide a parallel production of international news, part of
local-foreign news production? Should they be included within future
research on local-foreign news production? What other type of
news-related work can form part of local-foreign news production?
3. Are local news-staff safer or in more danger because they are local?
In what ways do the threats and dangers faced by local news-staff differ
from their international colleagues?
4. Are the precarious employment situations of the local news-staff
changing as this type of news-work becomes more entrenched within
international news production? What are the measures being taken by the
news industry and the news-workers themselves, against their precarious
5. Is the increasing importance of local-foreign news-workers within
international newsgathering giving rise to tensions and conflicts within
newsroom and news production structures of international media
organisations? Do these tensions and conflicts reflect a battle within
the traditional gatekeeping processes on which international news
6. In what ways do the local employees of international news
organisations facilitate understanding of local events and actors across
cultural, ideological, and linguistic boundaries for international
journalists, as well as for international audiences through their
journalistic labour? How are their local knowledge, contextual
understanding, cultural sensitivities and political affinities – their
‘cultural capital’ – negotiated with their professional affiliations and
knowledge, by them and their employers?
7. Have local news professionals – and locally-based activists and NGO
workers – now come to wield editorial power in the telling of global
news stories by playing gatekeeping roles within global news production?
Are there other, less understood ways that they are able to influence
the production of global news stories and images?
8. How do local news professionals perceive their professional role as
journalists and conduct their journalistic work for distant audiences?
Do their perceptions and practices differ from their international
colleagues? In what ways? What are the implications of any potential
differences in professional role perceptions of local-foreign news staff?
Articles should be between 6000 and 9000 words in length.
Please send a 300 word abstract to the guest editors
(_c.paterson /at/ leeds.ac).uk_ <mailto:(c.paterson /at/ leeds.ac.uk)> and
firstname.lastname@example.org_ <mailto:(smitra /at/ upeace.org)> by***21st September, 2018*.
We will notify authors if their abstract has been accepted by 12th
October, 2018, and full papers should be submitted for peer review by 14
January, 2019. An invitation to submit does not guarantee inclusion in
the special issue. We hope for publication in mid-2019.
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