Call for Papers:
”A Question of Power. Conflict, agreement and negotiation between journalists and their sources”
In the two-day conference ‘A Question of Power’, the changing dynamics between journalists and their sources will be addressed. Conventional wisdom is that reporters want to obtain newsworthy or even spectacular information while their sources aim for a profitable image. However, among media researchers, be they from a political communications or journalism studies perspective, there is consensus that this relation has changed dramatically. Broadly discussed under the idea of ‘mediatization’, it is thought that media logic increasingly determines the language in which public communication takes place. On the other hand, the proliferation of social media allows sources to bypass journalists to speak to audiences directly. Yet, the effect of these changes on the journalist-source relationship is not clear-cut and the question of how they affect the power relations between reporters and their sources has so far remained largely neglected. Is the development towards a ‘mediatized’ public sphere detrimental to meaningful political debate? And what does it mean for the journalist’s autonomy? This conference seeks to investigate how the journalist-source relationship as we know it has transformed and still is transforming.
A special focus of this conference is on the changing norms and forms of the journalistic interview, as it is an act central to modern news journalism, embodying the complexity and struggles that exist between reporter and source. This relation is most intensively researched in political journalism, but the changes mentioned above are also relevant for sports, celebrity, human interest and many other journalistic categories. The form of the interview significantly influences the reporter-source relation. For example, the difference between a conversation with an eye-witness, broadcasted live on television, and a multiple-page interview with a celebrity in a glossy magazine that results from several hours of conversation clearly impacts the interaction between interviewer and interviewee.
Comparison across time, media platforms and national environments is welcome. Submissions that address the following aspects – and the research challenges they present – are encouraged:
– Changes in the interaction between journalists and sources
– Mediatization and/or personalization in the interview
– Increasingly image-conscious and media-trained sources
– The position of the interview in different types of journalism
– Negotiating media content: do sources have a say?
– Changes in the role and position of the interview in the newsgathering process
– The interview as an instrument of accountability
– The ‘celebrity journalist’
The conference will be held on September 29-30, 2011, and the deadline for abstract submissions is on April 15. Full information about the Call for Papers and guidelines for submissions can be found at the conference website.