ICA 2019 Preconference: “Digital Journalism in Latin America”

Organizers: Pablo J. Boczkowski (Northwestern University, USA) & Eugenia Mitchelstein (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)

Preconference Date and Time: May 23th, 2019, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Location: School of Media & Public Affairs, George Washington University

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2019

Research on digital journalism has by now a solid tradition that spans more than two decades (Barnhurst, 2012; Boczkowski, 2002; Reich, 2018; Steensen, 2011). For the most part, this scholarship has focused on industrialized nations in North America and Europe (Mitchelstein and Boczkowski, 2009) and has paid comparatively less attention to other regions such as Latin America (for some notable exceptions, see Bachmann & Harlow, 2011; Boczkowski, 2010; González de Bustamante and Relly, 2014; Harlow and Salaverría, 2016; Vimiero, 2017). This relative scarcity contrasts with the prominent role of digital journalism in the news diets of Latin Americans: around 9 out of 10 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico access news online (Newman, et al, 2017). The growth in online audiences has been paralleled by the expansion of digital news operations, either as the internet operations of print media (Bachmann & Harlow, 2011) or as new online enterprises (Harlow and Salaverria, 2016; Requejo Alemán and Lugo Ocando, 2014).

As both digital news production and consumption have featured increasingly more prominently in the information landscape of Latin America, it is worth inquiring into whether the specificity of Latin America and its culture and institutions might entail differences with digital journalism as it is practiced and appropriated in other parts of the world. For instance, Latin American journalism has been described as less professionalized and less independent than in more stable democracies (de Albuquerque, 2005; Hallin and Papathanassopoulos, 2002; Hughes, 2006). How have these two long-standing features affected the practices of online news production and the self-perception of reporters? Has the development of online journalism allowed for the emergence digital start-ups and fact-checking organizations that compete with traditional news organizations with long-standing links with politicians and corporations? Have online news operations conducted mostly partisan journalism, due to their dependence on government advertising? Moreover, Latin American audiences tend to show high levels of skepticism towards news (Newman, et al, 2017). Has this lower level of credibility been tied to differences in willingness to pay for digital news, information acquisition online, and uptake of alternative media sources, among other activities?

The ICA pre-conference on Digital Journalism in Latin America invites scholars to examine the production, distribution, and consumption of digital journalism in Latin America. Both empirical and theoretical conference presentations; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches; single-country and comparative research (with a major focus on Latin America); and historical and contemporary inquiries are welcome.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Information about submission:

Authors should submit an extended abstract of no more than 750 words (excluding references). Abstracts should be submitted no later than 16:00 UTC, January 31, 2019. Please email your submission to the preconference organizers (pjb9@northwestern.edu and emitchelstein@udesa.edu.ar).  Authors will be notified about whether their abstract has been selected on February 28, 2019. Presenters will be encouraged to submit a full manuscript for the pre-conference. Full manuscripts should be sent to both of the pre-conference organizers via email by May 15th, 2019, for presentation and discussion during the pre-conference. Papers should be between 6,500 and 7,000 words in length. Attendance to the preconference has a USD 25.00 fee. Please contact the organizers (pjb9@northwestern.edu and emitchelstein@udesa.edu.ar) if you have any questions and/or need any additional information.

Sponsorship:

This pre-conference is possible in part due to the generous support of the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University, and the Center for the Study of Media and Society in Argentina (MESO).