News and radio journalism in the digital age

Grer 01

International conference call for papers.

Strasbourg, 20 and 21 March 2014

News and radio journalism in the digital age

 

1. Context:

 The Groupe de Recherches et d’Études sur la Radio (GRER) is organising its seventh international conference. Following on from conferences at Bordeaux (2001 and 2004), Lyon (2006), Paris (2009 and 2011), and Bruxelles (2010), it will take place at the University of Strasbourg on the 20th and 21st March 2014.

An international call for papers has been launched, focused on the issues and approaches described below. (and here you can download the call in pdf format)

The printed press is reconfiguring itself every day, mainly because of the appearance of the digital sector. Beyond the changes brought about by digital technology, questions are frequently asked around the significance of the printed press.

Radio broadcasting, in particular, does not seem to be at risk of disappearing in the short term. Radio remains an essential element within the practice and systems of journalism, on a daily basis, in exceptional circumstances or in times of crisis. The credibility of radio news remains very high, and higher than other media. On the other hand several changes are missing from its evolution. At this conference several questions will be asked: how has the production of radio news become integrated with the digital domain? Have those people connected with news production changed or do they want to change? Has the professional identity of radio journalists changed? Is media content different? How do people hear news on the radio now, and how will people hear it in the future?

With the development of the internet, our media landscape is undergoing a transformation. This conference will study the capacity of radio to inform citizens in contemporary societies. From its heritage to current practice, and through its evolution, we will ask the question: can radio remain an important news medium in the digital age

Focusing on two main themes, the conference will begin by examining this question from the following angles:

2. Two main themes:

Theme 1. Professional practice and radio news: issues and evolutions

Journalism is associated with the birth of radio and its rapid transformation into a mass medium. Radio reportage, which developed during the 1930s, and distinguished by the eloquence of the journalist, allowed us to understand the evolution of radio and it became a genre in its own right. It peaked at the end of the Second World War. The appearance of television certainly constituted a threat to radio journalism, but finally the two media managed to coexist over several decades.

For more than twenty years now, professional practice itself has changed, with the emergence of new technologies. News production was at first distinguished by several phenomena: dematerialisation, compression and miniaturisation. In what ways have these changes affected the routines and the know-how of radio journalists?

In the same way, digitisation challenges the newsrooms which produce news. Often, bespoke newsrooms have been created for web sites. Some journalists only work for a radio station’s web site, and don’t work in radio journalism in the original sense. There are also broadcasting organisations in which, by contrast, news teams have been divided until now and which have adopted the style of multimedia newsrooms which service multiple platforms. Thus radio becomes little more than one platform among a range of different services.

More generally, new competencies are needed by radio journalists: being able to take photos or shoot videos, knowing how to complement one’s own reports in text form, knowing how to put all this on line, and so on. Such abilities have become essential in order to be employed, just as much as being able to write for radio and to do voice-work. The professional identity of radio journalists has thus been transformed in just a few years.

In the face of these changes, journalism schools are asking themselves: with the development of multimedia, is it necessary to organise training in traditional ways (printed press/radio/television)? Isn’t a new type of training needed, one which is multimedia by nature? How to satisfy the demands of employers who always expect more from the training and multi-skilling of new journalists?

So works which explore the development of journalism training for radio, whether it be in terms of professional practice, newsroom etiquette, competencies, training or the new players involved will be welcome under this theme.

Theme 2. Content and its uses: the extension of radio contexts

For several years radio networks have offered internet services. Content has become progressively enriched, and internet users find on these radio web sites plenty of news that is complementary to what is broadcast. Radio is increasingly videoed, cameras are increasingly installed in studios, and it has become possible to ‘watch’ certain radio programmes on the internet. Thanks to these images or to photographs posted on radio web sites, listeners can match a voice to a face more easily than before. Thus it is the ontological relationship that a listener has with a radio station than is redefined.

‘Catch-up’ radio, in the form of streaming (listening through the radio station web site) or podcasts (downloading a programme to the library of a computer or a mobile phone) fundamentally changes the nature of radio. Even if traditional listening is still more common than other methods, users are beginning to adopt the podcast. These new methods of listening could, in time, change the image and the practice of radio, still widely perceived as a live medium, and, by contrast, as an ephemeral medium. Certain radio stations whose audiences remain limited are, for example, becoming leaders in the practices of radio on demand. Other types of programmes could also emerge, which are not linked to time in a linear way.

Thanks to the creation of web sites, it has become possible to listen to a radio station outside a geographical area. The relationship with the editorial area has been changed, and has brought about some different practices (including the discovery of distant stations, or keeping in contact with a home country). Many radio stations, called ‘web-radios’, have also been created on the internet. Wherever they are in the world, how have these new online stations contributed the emergence of new forms of civic expression and participation, and how do they contribute to a reactivation of a public sphere which extends significantly beyond local and national boundaries?

At certain radio stations, the listener is omnipresent online. Stations have also developed an interactive presence online through the interactivity of the internet. Many programmes have their Facebook pages and their Twitter accounts and permit exchanges between listeners, who can give their opinions and ask their own questions of organisers. Images and text often complement a programme which has become more complex, not restricting itself just to listeners to the broadcast content. One can also ask if ‘participatory’ journalism (blogs, commentaries and so on) has developed on the internet.

Finally, formats themselves have been transformed, seemingly reinvented with the appearance of the digital domain. During the last two decades, alongside the bulletin, short duration reportage (of under two minutes) has become the most favoured form of professionals in radio journalism, to the point that longer-form journalism has almost disappeared from the medium of radio. It remains only on certain types of radio station. Today, multimedia is disrupting genres, modifying formats, and raising issues around duration. We are witnessing the development of sonic landscapes, notably on the web sites of the printed press. Several instances of web reportage (or web documentaries) include a ‘sonic dimension’, and present otherwise unpublished information. Financing comes from multiple sources, and so an even more fragile economic model has emerged than those of the traditional media. As regards this type of production, are we still talking about ‘journalism’? And if yes, do we need to talk about ‘sound journalism’? Have we not moved towards a form of ‘sound journalism’? Will this ‘sound journalism’ develop traditional radio journalism?

Papers may explore any of these questions. They should involve interactions in the digital domain, in whatever form, and radio journalism. They should consider the strategies of different actors (shareholders, media managers, public bodies and so on), the organisation of journalistic production, the evolution of content, and the new ways of listening to news. They will examine changes in professional journalism (status, competencies, techniques, practices, training, and so on). They may concern technological, economic or social developments in the creation of radio journalism and its reception.

As with previous events run by GRER, a range of academic perspectives is expected, including: communication studies, journalism studies, history, geography, economy, psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy, law, ethnology, language studies and more.

Papers from practitioners are also welcome.

3. Methods of proposal submission and the organisation of the conference:

The duration for plenary presentations will be 30 minutes; workshop presentations will be limited to between 15 and 20 minutes.

Authors are invited to submit a proposal in French or English by the 30 September 2013.

It should include: a title (and sub-title), 5 to 8 key words and a statement of relevance to one of the above themes. It should develop in no more than 5,000 characters an abstract presenting the area to be problematised, its hypotheses and a bibliography. Personal information (name, institution of affiliation, status, postal address, email address and telephone number) should be shown on the first page.

The paper can be presented in French, English, German or Spanish. If, at the conference, the paper is presented in German or Spanish, it should be accompanied by a PowerPoint in English.

Thank you for sending your proposals in Word (.doc) format, with the file name including the name of the author, to the two addresses below:

christophe.deleu@unistra.fr  /  grer.mail@club-internet.fr

Telephone (only for the conference) + 06 30 94 84 03

GRER web sites: http://www.grer.fr

http://radiography.hypotheses.org

A receipt will be sent to the authors. The Scientific Committee will begin a double-blind peer review selection process of the proposals. Proposals may be accepted subject to amendments requested by the Scientific Committee. These responses will be sent out to authors from the 30th October 2013.

Authors are invited to submit the full text of their papers, as well as PowerPoint documents, by the 15 February 2014 at the latest, both in paper and electronic form. These texts, with the permission of the authors and the Scientific Committee, may then be published online on the GRER web site (www.grer.fr ).

4. Reminder of important dates:

 30 September 2013 – Deadline for submission of proposals

30 October 2013 – Announcement of accepted proposals

15 February 2014 – Submission of documents

5. Scientific Committee:

Frédéric Antoine : Professeur, Université de Louvain-la-Neuve, Observatoire du récit médiatique, président du GRER ;

Jean-Jacques Cheval : Professeur, Université de Bordeaux 3, laboratoire MICA, fondateur du GRER ;

Valérie Croissant : Maître de conférences, Université de Lyon 2, laboratoire ELICO ;

Etienne Damome : Maître de conférences, Université de Bordeaux 3, laboratoire MICA ;

Christophe Deleu : Maître de conférences (HDR), Université de Strasbourg, laboratoire SAGE, responsable scientifique du colloque ;

Nicole Gauthier : Directrice du Centre universitaire d’enseignement du journalisme (Cuej), Université de Strasbourg ;

Hervé Glevarec : Directeur de recherche, laboratoire Communication et Politique , CNRS ;

Valérie Jeanne-Perrier : Maître de conférences, Université de Paris 4,laboratoire GRIPIC ;

Carmen Peñafiel-Saiz : Professeur, Université du Pays Basque à Bilbao ;

Nathalie Pignard-Cheynel, Maître de conférences, Université de Grenoble 3, laboratoire CREM ;

Pascal Ricaud : Maître de conférences, Université de Tours, laboratoire CITERES ;

Nozha Smati, enseignante contractuelle, Université de Lille 3, laboratoire GERiiCO, représentante des jeunes chercheurs au GRER ;

Julie Sedel : Maître de conférences, Université de Strasbourg, laboratoire SAGE ;

Guy Starkey : Professeur, Université de Sunderland, laboratoire CRMCS ;

Conference organised in partnership with:

CUEJsage

Download here the call for papers in pdf


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