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[Commlist] CFP: News Beats, Expertise and Division of Labor -- Special Issue
Mon Jan 13 20:28:23 GMT 2020
Call for Special issue of /Journalism Practice/
The State of the News Beat:
Expertise and division of labour in current newsrooms
Zvi Reich, Ben Gurion University of the Negev ((zreich /at/ bgu.ac.il))
Theme rationale and scope
More than hundred years after their inception, news beats
reporting is facing transformative changes. The major roles they played
in modern journalism – both on stage and behind the scenes – is now
threatened by a series of layoffs and downsizing, growing reliance on a
smaller workforce with fewer years of experience, who are expected to
cover broader and growingly complex domains; the demise of older beats
and the emergence of new ones, not necessarily along traditional
thematic and geographical lines.
The existing scholarly literature doesn't supply a coherent and updated
picture on current structures of newsrooms, the prevailing division of
labor inside and outside them, and the social, cultural and epistemic
consequences of these aspects on published and unpublished news
contents. Interestingly, scholars agree that beats were born in late
19^th century, culminated in the second half of the 20^th century, and
transformed since the beginning of the 21^st century following trends of
downsizing, restructuring, digitization and the rise of online sourcing
and social media. However, the actual nature of this transformation
remains unclear. While the classic studies that focused on entire beat
system are growingly outdated, recent works cannot encompass the current
state of the beat system due to their overwhelming focus on single beats.
This theoretical and empirical void gives rise to a series of
questions. Are we facing the death of the news beat, as some scholars
lament, or the end of their “golden era” during which beats served as
the leading principle of division of labor in journalism; as the
assembly-line for most news; as journalistic “micro-cultures”; as
domains of knowledge and expertise and as venues where journalists make
friends and enemies? Are there alternative modes of professional and
non-professional reporting and principles of division of labor that can
substitute for the dwindling beat system?
The special issue wishes to answer these and other questions and
map the current state of the news beats in their broadest sense.
Possible areas of interest include, but are not limited to:
·Emerging modes of division of labour in current newsrooms(e.g. topic
teams, “obsessions”, single-issue newsrooms, personal franchise sites,
specialized blogs, press clubs, combined newsrooms).
·Comparative studies on mixes of beats and other modes of reporting
across organizations. For example: small, mid-sized and metro / national
news outlets; comparisons across media, types of ownership, format
(elite and popular) and nationality (including democratic and
·Comparisons between beats (e.g. old and new beats, online and offline;
“soft”and “hard”; scientific and “common-sensical”).
·Epistemic aspects of beats and alternative modes of reporting:
knowledge, expertise in different beats; modes of recruitment; training,
socialization, skill set acquisition and different stages in the shift
from novice to expert reporting. **
·Life cycles of beats: the emergence, maturation, decline and death of
·Coverage of reporter-less beats: e.g., using plagiarism and content
lifting, reliance on general assignment reporters and aggregation.
FIRST STAGE: SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS
If you are interested in participating in this special issue, please
submit an extended abstract (500-750 words), accompanied by a 100-150-
word bio introducing your relevant expertise Abstracts should be sent no
later than February 1, 2010 to: **
*(beats.specialissue /at/ bgu.ac.il) <mailto:(beats.specialissue /at/ bgu.ac.il)>*
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.
·Deadline for submission of extended abstracts: February 1^st 2020.
·Decision on abstracts: March 15^th 2020
·Deadline for final submission: September 1^st 2020.
·Publication: Online first after acceptance, and later in a forthcoming
issue of /Journalism Practice/.
http://bit.ly/BGUsigEng*Zvi Reich, Ph.D.
*Associate Professor| Department of Communication Studies
Tel: +972-8-6479038 <tel:%2B972-8-6479038> *|*Fax: +972-8-6472855
<tel:%2B972-8-6472855> *|*Mail: POB 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel
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