Call for Papers



Breaking Binaries:

Exploring the Diverse Meanings of Journalism in Contemporary Societies


The field of journalism is undergoing some dramatic transformations in the early 21st century, a development which is widely discussed among scholars. These transformations, which are to varying degrees of political, economic, social, cultural and technological nature, have increasingly drawn into question some long-held assumptions and expectations of journalistic work. In response, journalism studies scholars have begun to question some established truths of their own. Slowly, these efforts are resulting in far more complex visions of what journalism is, what audiences expect it to be and also what it perhaps should be from a normative point of view.

To address the transformations of a more complex and dynamic journalistic field, this conference invites in particular theoretical and empirical research to address the breaking up of long-established dichotomies, or binaries, in journalism studies. For example, it seems much harder to differentiate between soft and hard news in a time of a burgeoning variety of journalistic formats. Similarly, boundaries between amateur and professional journalistic work are being eroded, and established definitions of journalism and who counts as a journalist are questioned. Further, the old divide between online and off-line is no longer tenable in light of the increasing platformization of journalism. In addition, the re-emergence of the relevance of the audience in both journalistic work and journalism studies calls for work that goes beyond simplistic distinctions of issues such as trust or distrust. Journalism’s relevance in society is also increasingly challenged, with public stakeholders and audiences questioning the legitimacy of journalism. Here, it appears important to examine how audiences and public stakeholders define journalism, what they expect from it, and how they distinguish between legitimate (good) and illegitimate (bad) journalism. While we may see an overall quantification of methodologies of journalism studies due to the availability of unprecedented amounts of data, there is also an increasing need to break up the often still-entrenched binary between qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Further, in an increasingly globalized environment, binaries of 'the West' and 'beyond the West' may no longer be adequate.

The organizers therefore call for papers to address how journalism studies can help to address the increasingly complex journalistic field, and to propose theoretical and empirical ways that go beyond previous, simplistic binaries that have at times defined the field. In addition to papers dealing with the conference theme, we invite papers which study cultural, political, economic, social, technological and professional aspects of journalism and news work in a broad sense. We welcome submissions from all theoretical, epistemological and methodological perspectives.

The conference will feature traditional paper presentations, high density sessions and coherent panels.

  • Traditional paper presentations: Traditional paper presentations will take place in panels consisting of four to five papers.
  • High density sessions: Participants present their research on a poster, which will be put up in the hall way. The session starts with an introduction round, where each presenter introduces her poster in a brief talk. After these talks the audience is invited to visit the posters and discuss the work with the researchers.
  • Coherent panels: A limited number of slots will be available for coherent panels where one topic is addressed in four to five presentations, followed by a respondent. Preference will be given to panels with presenters from diverse backgrounds and affiliations.


How to submit

Submissions can be sent to no later than September 28, 2018. Please include in the email (1) the title of your paper, (2) an abstract of no more than 400 words, (3) names and affiliations of the authors, (4) an indication whether you want your paper to be considered for a high density session.

To submit a panel proposal, a 300-word rationale should be sent alongside a 150 word explanation per presentation, as well as the names and affiliations of presenters and respondent.

-       All submissions will undergo scholarly peer-review.

-       Only one proposal per first author can be accepted.

-       Notifications of acceptance will be issued in late October.

Please contact the conference organizing committee with questions at

We are looking forward to welcoming you in Vienna!