News: I’ve been elected Vice Chair of the Journalism Studies Division of ICA

I learned this week that I’ve been elected as the next vice chair of the Journalism Studies Division of ICA (International Communication Association). I’m very excited to serve this division—a wonderful, inspiring, and truly global mix of friends, colleagues, collaborators, and scholars with a shared passion for studying news and journalism. The Journalism Studies Division, which has grown tremendously in its roughly 15 years, becoming one of the largest ICA divisions, has been such a central part of my progression from PhD student to professor during the past decade, so I’m excited to give back and help the division move forward.

I will assume the new role at the end of the Prague conference in May 2018, and will be the program planner (lucky me, ha!) for the Washington, D.C. (2019) and Australian Gold Coast (2020) conferences. Then I’ll serve as chair of the division for two years, including the Denver (2021) and Paris (2022) conferences.

I’m excited to work with such a great Journalism Studies leadership team: the outgoing chair Henrik Örnebring, the incoming chair Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, secretary Nina Springer, and the newly elected graduate student representative Alla Rybina.

Below is the candidate statement that I put together for the election.

I feel a real kinship with the Journalism Studies Division, my home base in the academy. Through this division, I have met such wonderful people, built collaborative networks, and learned to sharpen my research. I owe a great deal to this vibrant and growing area of the communication field. I am pursuing a leadership role in the division to do my part in continuing that growth. My goals in helping the division move forward include: (1) balancing concerns about quality with the need to include a broader range of voices, particularly from regions less represented at ICA annual conventions; (2) expanding mentoring initiatives for graduate students and early-career scholars; (3) developing forms of outreach to help members stay better connected to the division outside of the conference; (4) exploring ways to improve the standing of journalism studies, by more effectively communicating to journalists, funders, and other scholars who we are, what we do, and why our work matters; and (5) continuing to provide space for important conversations about journalism and its future.

Regarding my experience, I am the Shirley Papé Chair in Emerging Media in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. Previously, I was an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, held visiting appointments at Stanford and Yale, received my Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and was a journalist at The Miami Herald. My empirical and conceptual research, focusing on the sociotechnical dynamics shaping journalism in the digital age, has been published in nearly 50 journal articles and book chapters. I have twice received the division’s award for Outstanding Journal Article of the Year in Journalism Studies (in 2013 and 2016). I actively serve the Journalism Studies Division as a paper reviewer, session chair, and respondent.

News! I’m taking a new role as Papé Chair at the U. of Oregon

UO-SOJCBeginning Fall 2016, I will join the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication as the inaugural Shirley Papé Chair in Electronic Media. I’m thrilled and honored to have this endowed-chair opportunity, to further my research and teaching on journalism and technology, and to work with a terrific set of colleagues both in Eugene and at the School’s Turnbull Center in Portland. Notably, the School has grown tremendously in recent years and is celebrating its centennial in 2016.

While my family and I are sad about leaving behind the many people and places we love here in Minnesota, we’re also excited about the unique nature of the chair position and this new adventure ahead, particularly given that it puts us closer to family roots in the Pacific Northwest.

I have loved my six years as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, and am deeply grateful to my colleagues here. They have been friends, mentors, and collaborators in the best sense of those words, and I am so much the better, personally and professionally, for having worked with and learned from them along the way.

From Minnesota Gophers to Oregon Ducks, here we go!

Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation

9781138020672I’m excited to announce the publication of Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation (Routledge, 2015), which I co-edited with the immensely talented Matt Carlson of Saint Louis University. The book includes some terrific contributions from an international group of scholars studying boundary work and journalism. It is published as part of the Shaping Inquiry in Culture, Communication and Media Studies series edited by Barbie Zelizer.

Below is the back-cover material, as well as the table of contents and links to more online:

 

BOUNDARIES OF JOURNALISM: PROFESSIONALISM, PRACTICES AND PARTICIPATION
Edited by Matt Carlson and Seth C. Lewis

Routledge, 2015

The concept of boundaries has become a central theme in the study of journalism. In recent years, the decline of legacy news organizations and the rise of new interactive media tools have thrust such questions as “what is journalism” and “who is a journalist” into the limelight.

Struggles over journalism are often struggles over boundaries. These symbolic contests for control over definition also mark a material struggle over resources. In short: boundaries have consequences. Yet there is a lack of conceptual cohesiveness in what scholars mean by the term “boundaries” or in how we should think about specific boundaries of journalism.

This book addresses boundaries head-on by bringing together a global array of authors asking similar questions about boundaries and journalism from a diverse range of perspectives, methodologies, and theoretical backgrounds.

Boundaries of Journalism assembles the most current research on this topic in one place, thus providing a touchstone for future research within communication, media and journalism studies on journalism and its boundaries.

Reviews

“As emerging forms blur the line between media writ large and the realm culturally acknowledged as journalism, the concepts of boundaries and boundary work become vital tools for scholarly sense-making. Carlson and Lewis make an immense contribution to journalism studies, bringing together an international group of scholars to explicate these concepts that both highlight journalism’s universal traits and identify it as contextually unique.” — Dan Berkowitz, Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa, USA

“Carlson and Lewis expertly weave together a variety of thoughtful conceptual and methodological perspectives on boundary work in journalism. The compelling contributions to this outstanding volume offer key insights into cultural, political, technological and economic factors influencing the construction of boundaries between journalists and audiences related to news practices, participants and professional norms.” — Bonnie Brennen, Nieman Professor of Journalism, Diederich College of Communication, Marquette University, USA

“Boundaries of Journalism provides an apposite intervention into the uncertainties surrounding definitions of journalism and journalists. The collection provides an eclectic mixture of perspectives looking at the social and material changes affecting journalism in the 21st century. The book provides a further building block in advancing the maturity of journalism studies.” — Howard Tumber, Director of Research, Graduate School of Journalism, City University London, UK

Contents

Introduction: The Many Boundaries of Journalism Matt Carlson

Part I: Professionalism, Norms and Boundaries
1. Out of Bounds: Professional Norms as Boundary Markers — Jane B. Singer
2. Nothing But The Truth: Redrafting the Journalistic Boundary of Verification — Alfred Hermida
3. Divided we stand: Blurred Boundaries in Argentine Journalism — Adriana Amado and Silvio Waisbord
4. The Wall Becomes a Curtain: Revisiting Journalism’s News-Advertising Boundary — Mark Coddington
5. Creating Proper Distance through Networked Infrastructure: Examining Google Glass for Evidence of Moral, Journalistic Witnessing — Mike Ananny
6. Hard News/Soft News: The Hierarchy of Genres and the Boundaries of the Profession — Helle Sjøvaag
7. Internal Boundaries: The Stratification of the Journalistic Collective — Jenny Wiik

Part II: Encountering Non-Journalistic Actors in Newsmaking
8. Journalism Beyond the Boundaries: the Collective Construction of News Narratives — David Domingo and Florence Le Cam
9. Redrawing Borders from Within: Commenting on News Stories as Boundary Work — Sue Robinson
10. Resisting Epistemologies of User-Generated Content? Cooptation, Segregation and the Boundaries of Journalism — Karin Wahl-Jorgensen
11. NGOs as Journalistic Entities: The Possibilities, Problems and Limits of Boundary Crossing — Matthew Powers
12. Drawing Boundary Lines Between Journalism and Sociology, 1895-1999 — C.W. Anderson
Epilogue: Studying Boundaries of Journalism: Where Do We Go From Here? — Seth C. Lewis

Routledge Site
Amazon
Google Books

New publication — Reciprocal journalism: A concept of mutual exchange between journalists and audiences

I’m excited to announce the publication of this new piece, “Reciprocal journalism: A concept of mutual exchange between journalists and audiences,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Journalism Practice (a non-paywalled PDF is available here). The article will appear in 2014 as part of a special issue on “community journalism midst media revolution,” guest-edited by Sue Robinson (see her terrific introduction to the issue).

I was lucky to work with two fantastic co-authors in Avery Holton of the University of Utah and Mark Coddington of the University of Texas (all three of us were/are Ph.D. students in the School of Journalism at UT-Austin). We worked together in developing the “reciprocal journalism” concept last spring, drawing on theorizing about reciprocity from social psychology to imagine a way for understanding the evolving relationship between journalists and audiences. While a lot of what is classified as participatory journalism primarily works in the service of the news organization, we see reciprocal journalism as a concept for visualizing a process of mutual benefit between journalists and their communities of readers and followers—whether one-on-one in some instances or more indirectly and sustained over time. Now that we have begun to develop the contours of this concept, the next step is to test it in practice: To what extent does reciprocity—or the perception of reciprocity—factor into the way journalists perceive their relationships with audiences? How are such beliefs about reciprocity connected to certain kinds of news work practices or forms of participatory journalism? and so on. We hope to begin answering those questions via a survey of U.S. journalists that we’re launching soon.

Below is the citation information and abstract. If you can’t access the paywalled PDF, just email me for a copy: sclewis@umn.edu.

Lewis, Seth C., Holton, Avery E., & Coddington, Mark (2013). Reciprocal Journalism: A Concept of Mutual Exchange Between Journalists and Audiences. Journalism Practice, 1-13. doi:10.1080/17512786.2013.859840 (pre-print version)

Abstract

Reciprocity, a defining feature of social life, has long been considered a key component in the formation and perpetuation of vibrant communities. In recent years, scholars have applied the concept to understanding the social dynamics of online communities and social media. Yet, the function of and potential for reciprocity in (digital) journalism has yet to be examined. Drawing on a structural theory of reciprocity, this essay introduces the idea of reciprocal journalism: a way of imagining how journalists might develop more mutually beneficial relationships with audiences across three forms of exchange—direct, indirect, and sustained types of reciprocity. The perspective of reciprocal journalism highlights the shortcomings of most contemporary approaches to audience engagement and participatory journalism. It situates journalists as community-builders who, particularly in online spaces, might more readily catalyze patterns of reciprocal exchange—directly with readers, indirectly among community members, and repeatedly over time—that, in turn, may contribute to the development of greater trust, connectedness, and social capital. For scholars, reciprocal journalism provides a new analytical framework for evaluating the journalist–audience relationship, suggesting a set of diagnostic questions for studying the exchange of benefits as journalists and audiences increasingly engage one another in networked environments. We introduce this concept in the context of community journalism but also discuss its relevance for journalism broadly.

 

Call for papers: Journalism in an Era of Big Data (special issue)

rdij20.v001.i01.coverI’m excited to be guest editing a special issue of Digital Journalism, an international, peer-reviewed journal (new in 2013) that is led by the same editor (Bob Franklin at Cardiff University) who produces the well-renowned Journalism Studies and Journalism Practice journals. The topic, we believe, is a timely one: “Journalism in an Era of Big Data.”

The full Call for Papers can be found here and below. The deadline for abstracts is July 1, 2013, with eventual publication in 2015 (though online-first publication earlier than that, I’m sure; still, as with any academic publishing, there’s a certain time lag involved).

Please spread the word to colleagues, and let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

• • •

Call for Papers for a special issue of Digital Journalism:

Journalism in an Era of Big Data

Deadlines: July 1, 2013 (abstracts); January 1, 2014 (full papers for peer review); June 1, 2014 (revised full papers due)

Guest Editor: Seth C. Lewis of the University of Minnesota, USA (Digital Journalism Editor: Bob Franklin)

The term “Big Data” is often invoked to describe the overwhelming volume of information produced by and about human activity, made possible by the growing ubiquity of mobile devices, tracking tools, always-on sensors, and cheap computing storage. In combination with technological advances that facilitate the easy organizing, analyzing, and visualizing of such data streams, Big Data represents a social, cultural, and technological phenomenon with potentially major import for public knowledge and news information. How is journalism, like other social institutions, responding to this data abundance? What are the implications of Big Data for journalism’s norms, routines, and ethics? For its modes of production, distribution, and audience reception? For its business models and organizational arrangements? And for the overall sociology and epistemology of news in democratic society?

This special issue of the international journal Digital Journalism (Routledge, Taylor & Francis) brings together scholarly work that critically examines the evolving nature of journalism in an era of Big Data. This issue aims to explore a range of phenomena at the junction between journalism and the social, computer, and information sciences—including the contexts and practices around news-related algorithms, applications, sophisticated mapping, real-time analytics, automated information services, dynamic visualizations, and other computational approaches that rely on massive data sets and their maintenance. This special issue seeks not simply to describe these tools and their application in journalism, but rather to develop what Anderson (2012) calls a “sociological approach to computational journalism”—a frame of reference that acknowledges the trade-offs, embedded values, and power dynamics associated with technological change. This special issue thus encourages a range of critical engagements with the problems as well as opportunities associated with data and journalism.

The special issue welcomes articles drawing on a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, with a preference for empirically driven or conceptually rich accounts. These papers might touch on a range of themes, including but not limited to the following:

  • The history (or histories) of computational forms of journalism;
  • The epistemological ramifications of “data” in contemporary newswork;
  • Norms, routines, and values associated with emerging forms of data-driven journalism, such as data visualizations, news applications, interactives, and alternative forms of storytelling;
  • The sociology of new actors connected to computational forms of journalism, within and beyond newsrooms (e.g., news application teams, programmer-journalists, tech entrepreneurs, web developers, and hackers);
  • The social, cultural, and technological roles of algorithms, automation, real-time analytics, and other forms of mechanization in contemporary newswork, and the implications of such for journalistic roles and routines;
  • The ethics of journalism in the context of Big Data;
  • The business, managerial, economic, and other labor-related issues associated with data-centric forms of newswork;
  • Approaches for conceptualizing the distinct nature of emerging journalisms (e.g., computational journalism, data journalism, algorithmic journalism, and programmer journalism);
  • The blurring boundaries between “news” and other types of information, and the role of Big Data and its related implications in that process

Articles should be no more than 8,000 words in length, including references, etc. Please submit an abstract of 600-800 words that clearly spells out the theoretical construct, research questions, and methods that will be used. Also include the names, titles, and contact information for 2-3 suggested reviewers. Abstracts are due by July 1, 2013, to sclewis@umn.edu (with “DJ special issue” in the subject line). Providing the abstract meets the criteria for the call, full manuscripts are due by January 1, 2014 (also to sclewis@umn.edu), at which point they will be peer-reviewed and considered for acceptance. The proposed date of publication is 2015. Please contact guest editor Seth C. Lewis with questions: sclewis@umn.edu. Manuscripts should conform to the guidelines for Digital Journalism.