Special Issue: Advancing the Audience Turn in Journalism

Call for Papers – Special Issue in Digital Journalism:

Advancing the Audience Turn in Journalism: Changing practices and experiences of everyday news use

Although news consumption has become increasingly central to academic debates about journalism, research that starts explicitly from an emic perspective and the everyday experiences of news users remains relatively rare. The aim of this special issue is to further understanding of how the digitalization of journalism has changed and continues to shape everyday news use. Advancing the audience turn in journalism requires new theories, new concepts and new methods that can help grasp these changes and their implications for journalism.

We are looking for papers related to one or more of the four topics below. We invite both theoretical and empirical contributions that take practices and experiences of everyday news use as point of departure. We welcome comparative and single-country studies from all regions, including the Global South.
1. We encourage submissions to tackle the challenge of both capturing and making sense of everyday news use in a rapidly changing media environment. First, how can we develop methods and measures that do (more) justice to the complexity and multilayerdness of news use? Second, how can we use theories and concepts from other disciplines (e.g., anthropology, human-computer interaction) to enhance our understanding of everyday news use and users’ experiences of news?

2. We invite submissions that consider the socially-integrative potentialities of news, bridging the private world of individuals and the public space of collective entities. In the light of political polarization, populism, and other current challenges to democracy, how do people currently perceive journalism’s civic value? How can the ability of news and journalism to facilitate public connection be understood from the perspective of the news user? How can new formats, forms of storytelling and interactive functionalities be employed to bring the news in such a way that it connects to people’s lifeworld and (public) frame of reference?

3. This special issue also considers how young people understand and make sense of news. Young people say they turn to professional journalism and legacy news media to learn about news issues, but their actual news habits hardly reflect this. Rather, their news sources include many other genres, such as political entertainment, podcasts and blogs, and although critical of the trustworthiness of social media, it is still an important source of news which they make sense of through affective and social processes and contexts. How can we understand such conflicting scenarios and better grasp the orientations, practices and contexts through which young people understand and give meaning to news?

4. Finally, the contemporary practice and study of journalism is governed by a participatory ideal. Although it is technically possible for news users to participate in various stages of news production, research on digital news consumption has taught us that users are reluctant to participate in the news production process. This raises several questions about the feasibility or even desirability of the democratic ideal of participation. What are the kind of news production practices audiences themselves ignore or wish to take part in? What would participatory journalism ideally look like from an audience perspective?

Information about Submissions

Proposals should include the following: 1) an abstract of 500-750 words (not including references) and 2) an abbreviated bio that describes previous and current research that relates to the special issue theme (250 words). Please submit your proposal as one file (PDF), with your names clearly stated in the file name and the first page. Send your proposal to the e-mail address cfpaudienceturn@news-use.com by the date stated in timeline below. Authors of accepted proposals are expected to develop and submit their original article, for full blind review, in accordance with the journal’s peer-review procedure, by the deadline stated. Articles should target 7,000-8,000 words in length. Guidelines for manuscripts can be found here.


Abstract submission deadline: December 1, 2019
Notification on submitted abstracts: early January 2020
Article submission deadline: June 15, 2020

Editorial information

Guest Editors:

Joëlle Swart
Tim Groot Kormelink
Irene Costera Meijer
Marcel Broersma

Download the Call for Papers here.

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