London, 19-20 May 2009
Call for papers
News journalism is in deep crisis. Newspaper readership is falling, the audience for television news shrinking, and young people in particular seem to be less interested in traditional forms of news consumption. 24-hour news channels on shoestring budgets fight over tiny audiences while even well established and committed news organisations like the BBC and New York Times are cutting budgets and laying off journalists.
Those that remain complain of increased workloads, lack of resources, insecurity of employment, greater dependence on news agencies and PR handouts, and lack of training opportunities. There are accusations that serious journalism, with in-depth coverage of important issues that can hold the powerful to account, has given way to a toxic mix of infotainment, sensationalism and trivia.
Some, particularly the young, see online as the way forward. Internet penetration is high in most developed countries and growing rapidly in the developing world. The web offers a multimedia environment for new developments like citizen journalism and blogging, different kinds of news reporting and new approaches to current affairs.
But it also threatens the business model of newspapers as classified advertising moves online, while television suffers from fragmented audiences and the growth of time-shifted viewing. Many question whether user-generated content can ever be a substitute for well-resourced newsgathering carried out within trusted institutions according to established professional values.
This conference will review the current threats to the practice of journalism and examine some of the developing alternatives.
Papers are invited that address any of these issues. We welcome contributions on:
- The audiences for news
- The development of new media outlets
- Current practices in journalism
- The impact on journalism of changing economics and ownership
- New approaches to journalism, and
- The future of journalism as a paid occupation.
Many of the problems identified are specific to the advanced countries. The organisers welcome papers that address the different situation in developing areas, like India, China and Africa, where audiences for traditional media continue to grow and where online news has quite different implications.
NB:Reproduced from the University of Westminster page