Archive for calls, 2020

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[Commlist] cfp: From the rise of alternative media to the (dis)engagement of MSM - Call for papers

Thu Jan 16 14:37:17 GMT 2020

*Call for papers*

ICA 2020 preconference, 21^st  May 2020.

*Title: *From the rise of alternative media to the (dis)engagement of MSM: making sense of the new political news environment and its audiences**

*Organizers: *
Karoline Andrea Ihlebæk, Associate Professor at Oslo Metropolitan University, (ihlebaek /at/ <mailto:(ihlebaek /at/> (contact person)
Tine Ustad Figenschou, Professor at Oslo Metropolitan University
Stephen Cushion, Professor at Cardiff University
Scott Wright, Associate Professor at University of Melbourne

*Description*: Over recent decades, many countries have seen emerging online and social media platforms offering alternative political agendas to the mainstream media. In the US and Europe, the rise of right-wing sites has received particular attention (Benkler, Faris and Roberts 2018), but both left-wing and right-wing counter media have become prominent sources of news for particular user groups around the world (Zhang 2016). Left-wing alternative media is commonly motivated by anti-globalization and anti-capitalism perspectives, while right-wing media focus on anti-immigration or anti-Islam sentiments (Holt 2019). In common for many alternative media sites, however, is the focus on media criticism and anti-establishment, challenging media power and the communicative authority of established news media (Carlson 2017, Figenschou and Ihlebæk 2019). At the same time, there are signs that some publics have become increasingly disengaged with established media, causing increased polarization of news audiences and growing mistrust towards professional journalism’ self-declared neutral, objective, balanced and impartial approach to reporting politics (Fletcher 2019). The acronym ‘MSM’ has become a widely used pejorative term to describe mainstream/established media, but it is often invoked in different ways to criticize how the media represent the interests of elites and perpetuate the political status quo. As we have seen a rise in alternative media and a disengagement with MSM, a new political environment is fast evolving, prompting questions about how people are being informed about politics and public affairs, and the consequences of audiences relying on news that is consistent with their own ideological perspectives.

In this one-day ICA pre-conference, we welcome papers that will explore the phenomenon of alternative media and MSM (dis)engagement, including both theoretical and empirical contributions, that focus on issues such as:

/Production and professionalization/: Research has pointed out how the boundaries between alternative and professional journalism can be difficult to draw, in particular as alternative media professionalize, pointing to the need for theoretical and conceptual developments of how to draw the distinctions (Holt, Figenschou and Frischlich 2019). We invite papers that highlight how the ongoing boundary-work between alternative media and the mainstream media is constructed and negotiated. In other words, what characterizes mainstream media and alternative media relations?

/Audiences of alternative media/: Audiences of alternative media should not automatically be denounced as misguided or passive ‘populist’ media users. Recent studies show that such audiences can be highly engaged media consumers that to a varying degree express distrust to journalists or the establishment (Noppari, Hiltunen and Ahva 2019; Schulz 2019). However, we still know too little about the gratification and motivation of these media users, and thus encourage papers that explore the ideological, political and affective dimensions of alternative media engagement.

/News, information and opinions/: Research has demonstrated how the content of alternative media is ideologically driven and often blurs the divide between news and views (Nygaard 2019). But the content on alternative media sites are still strikingly unexplored, particularly visual analysis, largescale content analysis and network studies. We welcome papers that systematically examine the content of alternative media, as well as research that compares news agendas with mainstream media.

/Cross-national studies and research from the Global South/: While the US and Europe has long been the focus of academic and popular debates, the rise of alternative media in other media systems and political cultures have brought new types of ideologically-driven news sites. We invite comparative papers that, for example, compare cross-national differences in the production, content and users of alternative media, along with how the MSM has been characterized across countries. We strongly encourage research that focuses on the southern hemisphere and/or non-democratic contexts.

We are in discussion with relevant journals for a special issue on new developments in alternative media and political (dis)engagement. If successful, submissions for the conference will be considered.

*Please send a 300 word abstract to (ihlebaek /at/ <mailto:(ihlebaek /at/> by the 20th of January 2020*

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