Archive for calls, 2020

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[Commlist] Call for paper "Problemi dell'informazione": Local matters. Challenges and opportunities for local journalism

Thu Jan 09 17:41:54 GMT 2020

Call for papers “Local matters. Challenges and opportunities for local journalism” in "Problemi dell'informazione"- extended deadline

/Problemi dell'Informazione/ is an Italian journal of Media and
Communication Research. It is an international academic refereed journal
published by Il Mulino in Italy. Principal Editor:Carlo Sorrentino.
There are no APC (article processing charge) for authors.

Here ( its national and
international board.

*_Call for Papers_Special Issue*

*‘/Local matters. Challenges and opportunities for local journalism/’.*
Special Issue: Edited by
Maria Francesca Murru, Università degli Studi di Bergamo
Francesca Pasquali, Università degli Studi di Bergamo


The special issue 3/2020 of Problemi dell’Informazione aims to explore and critically discuss how local journalism is trying to redefine its identity against the economic, cultural and technological challenges of the contemporary mediascape. Although the tensions currently affecting the local media are partly coinciding with those observed at the national level, relevant differences are likely to be found in the potential ways out and the concrete repercussions that these shared structural conditions have on the way of operating, of intercepting audience and reaching economic sustainability. The crisis that has affected journalism in recent times is part of the wider digital revolution and has manifested with a constant erosion and fragmentation of the audience, a huge decline of advertising investments and a wider questioning of the credibility of journalistic mediation and trust in professional authority. However, as pointed out by Zelizer (2015), the use of a unitary concept such as "crisis" risks to overlook not only the diversity of underlying political, technological, occupational, ethical and social issues but also the potential variety of solutions and ways out.

This issue stems from the belief that this historical moment is propitious to give local journalism the analytical attention it deserves. The empirical and theoretical acquisitions on the subject are still scarce, especially if compared to those concerned with national and global journalism (Nielsen, 2015).  The gap is worth filling especially now that the challenges and opportunities implied by the complex and contradictory scenario together constitute an incredibly fruitful starting point to deeply focus on the present and the future of local media.

The disruptive and innovative character of the digital revolution has not yet fully unfolded, and this is particularly visible in the never-ending emergence of new formats and contents. Digital storytelling, immersive journalism, data visualization, are some of the new paths that are taking root and that promise to deploy new ways of representing reality and constructing shared meaning. The combination of mass and interpersonal communication that currently characterizes the contemporary media ecosystem brings new opportunities for participatory involvement of the audience in the various stages of ideation, production, and circulation of news. New inquiries are then necessary to map the variety of participatory platforms initiated by local newspapers and to explore their effects on community belonging, social cohesion and civic activism of interest-based communities. The connection with social media platforms and the new economy of attention introduced by algorithmic mediation, brings a wider reconfiguration of disintermediation and remediation dynamics of public discourse. Among the many challenges that journalism must face, one of the most relevant has to do with how to manage the competition and the cooperation with a plurality of collective subjects (from public administration bodies to private companies and civil society organizations) that are now autonomous in the production and dissemination of news. But there is also the necessity to negotiate the grounds of journalism’s credibility in a discursive space that appears as increasingly crowded and polyphonic. Moreover, local media need to find a way to address the wider cultural and political processes that are currently leading to a redefinition of the sense of place. Geo-social (Hess, 2013) and hyper-local are some of the labels that the most recent academic research has adopted to describe how local media are trying to restructure the relationship with its geographical area of reference. What is at stake is the taken-for-grantedness of the same definition of “local media” and the questioning of what makes “local” a still relevant perspective on the world. Finally, we cannot speak of the geographical bearing without putting into play the role of watchdog carried out by local journalism and its social functions in giving citizens a voice, triggering their civic engagement and their sense of belonging. The deeper implications of such a complex scenario cannot imply but a broader redefinition of the social functions traditionally carried out by local media, especially concerning the liveliness of the public sphere and the well-being of the communities. We invite proposals that address this multifaceted phenomenon focusing on topics that include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Audience
• Professional identities and organizational cultures
• Local and hyper-local media
• Social and civil functions of local journalism and impact on the public sphere
• Participatory/citizen journalism, community media
• Emerging trends in digital storytelling, immersive journalism, data visualization

The acceptance of the abstract does not guarantee the publication of the article, which will be under blind peer review.

*Submission of proposals*

Extended deadline for abstract submission is January 20, 2020.
Abstract:  250 words maximum (references not included)
Full papers will be due on 20 April 2020 and will undergo a double-blind peer review procedure. Papers: length between max 8000 words maximum (including notes and references).
Papers in English and Italian are accepted.
The abstracts must be sent to (probleminformazione /at/ <mailto:(probleminformazione /at/> or via the platform available at the address:

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