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[Commlist] Call for Papers - Digital Journalism: Covering AI Amid the Hype: How Journalists Are Navigating the Buzz of Technological Innovations
Wed Oct 18 20:59:05 GMT 2023
Call for Papers - Digital Journalism
*Covering AI Amid the Hype: How Journalists Are Navigating the Buzz of
The recent developments in generative artificial intelligence (AI) to
produce new content (e.g., ChatGPT and Dall-E) are quickly landing on
the front pages of most major newspapers and media outlets. Temptingly,
the world of AI emerging technologies offers journalists a plethora of
topics and buzzwords—from machine learning and neural networks to
algorithms—to enhance their headlines and capture and hold the attention
of their audiences.
But as the hype produced by AI has gripped journalists and audiences
alike, causing media workers to struggle with grasping the meaning of
these concepts, the technical details of the latest software, and the
potential societal effects, the overuse of the "AI" buzzword is
hindering a clear comprehension of the underlying ideas and consequences
of implementing some of these technologies in society (O’Neil, 2016).
We refer to this phenomenon as media hype, a term frequently referenced
in both popular culture and academic discourse (Borgman, 2007) that
nevertheless lacks a concrete, universally accepted academic definition.
Vasterman (2005), for example, argues that media hype should not refer
to a gap in the news coverage between what technology promises to do and
what it can do. Instead, Vasterman argues, hype simply describes the
stimulation, amplification, and magnification of an issue by a
self-reinforcing media-generated news wave.
On the contrary, a new wave of literature, such as Cave and Dihal
(2019), argues that it is imperative to study the gap between AI’s
possibilities and realities because the “perceptions of AI’s
possibilities, which may be quite detached from the reality of the
technology, can influence how it is developed, deployed and regulated”
(p. 74). The phenomenon of media hype, when enveloping AI discussions,
transcends simple technological hyperbole. As underscored by Vinsel and
Funk (2022), this type of narrative often gives rise to a scenario that
deviates from facts, creating concerns about its potential to obscure
critical underlying societal concerns.
Understanding how to define, measure, and navigate media hype in
relation to AI is particularly important today because, from autonomous
vehicles and robotaxis to chatbots and metaverses, how these emerging
technologies are portrayed in the media —but also created and shaped by
news organisations— can influence people’s attitudes and significantly
influence policy decision-making worldwide (Brennen et al., 2020). In
this context, we seek to understand how hypes are born, what reporting
responsibly on hypes really means, how media intersects with other
actors (such as big tech, policymakers, and influencers), and the
effects and consequences of hype reporting for civil society.
This special issue of Digital Journalism aims to understand the
intersection of media hype with how news organisations cover innovations
in artificial intelligence. With growing scholarly attention to the
phenomenon, it is essential to understand how journalists are reporting
on fundamental technological advances, identifying the benefits that
come from many of these new technologies, but at the same time avoiding
the temptations to focus on the latest gadgets, apps, and trends rather
than the broader AI’s societal implication. Indeed, this issue invites
proposals describing how journalists and news organisations respond to
AI hype in myriad strategic ways, such as through investigation and
critical treatment of AI innovation and capability or of the companies
pushing hyped claims. This issue also explores how journalists and
newsrooms may fail to be critical of these issues. It also offers the
opportunity for the development and extension of theory regarding the
meaning-making functions of journalism, within the newsroom and with
audiences, as well as the examination of the power dynamics at play
regarding technology, media, and society.
We encourage submissions from diverse disciplines and contexts. We
invite contributions of theoretical, methodological, and empirical
manuscripts, including different philosophical and theoretical
approaches and empirical methods (i.e., content analysis, interviewing,
critical and cultural analysis, and critique) that want to move the
field forward. Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):
* The media coverage of emerging technological innovation in AI,
including its intersections with related areas of robotics,
immersive technologies, and others.
* Conceptual interventions and clarifications regarding the media
industry’s AI coverage, hype in media innovation, and hi-tech news.
* Examination of professional practices and norms in relation to media
coverage of AI and AI- related technology.
* Audience perspectives on media coverage of AI and AI-related
* Historical and cultural analysis of media hype surrounding AI and
related technologies in contrast and comparison to previous
* Methodological and contextual challenges (skills and expertise) for
critical tech news and algorithmic accountability reporting,
including issues of transparency and accountability in the tech
* The mechanisms, economics, actors and ecosystems of hype, including
connections to the role of social media platforms, algorithms, and
other actors in contributing to media hype.
* New role performances for the coverage of AI and how “hype”
interacts with other factors, such as costs and time savings, and/or
more normative principles, such as investigative/critical journalism.
* The borderline between hypes and myths and the ethical questions
about to what extent journalists have a role in debunking and
critically scrutinising hypes.
* Methodological approaches to the study of media hype and innovations
in artificial intelligence, including content analysis, interview
studies, survey research, discourse analysis, and comparative
analysis across different media platforms and countries.
* The dynamics and effects of hypes on public debates, policy process,
and technology regulation.
The special issue is open for regular submissions; decisions about
inclusion will be quality-based and reliant on thorough peer-review.
*Information about submission *
Please submit an abstract of approximately 500 to 750 words (not
including references) in either an MS Word or PDF file format to
*(t.dodds.rojas /at/ hum.leidenuniv.nl)* by *January 10, 2024*. Authors of
accepted abstracts are expected to develop and submit their original
article for the journal’s full peer-review process by the stated
deadline. Articles should be between 7,000 and 9,000 words in
length, following the journal’s style guidelines. *No payment from the
authors will be required.*
Abstract submission deadline: January 10, 2024
Notification on submitted abstracts: February 16, 2024
Article submission deadline: June 15, 2024
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