Society for the Social Study of Mobile Communications

The Society for the Social Study of Mobile Communication (SSSMC) is intended to facilitate the international advancement of cross-disciplinary mobile communication studies. It is intended to serve as a resource and to support a network of scholarly research as to the social consequences of mobile communication.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

CFP: Journalism and the search for truth in an age of social media

Call for Papers
International symposium
Journalism and the search for truth in an age of social media
Implications of “fake news” and internet trolling for democracy, politics and citizen inclusion
Boston University
April 23-25, 2017

As the journalism profession struggles to respond to social media’s proliferating role, fresh social scientific and philosophical perspectives are required to comprehend news in relationship to the pursuit of truth. Such perspectives will allow insight into the limits and potential of news creation. Moreover, they will yield a firmer grasp of professional journalism’s role as the public consumes and responds to news.

Social media-based production and consumption of news poses not only unprecedented challenges to journalism’s gatekeeper role in society but also to democratic processes themselves. Social media’s effects reverberate around the world, altering events on a global scale. Although there is a constantly changing kaleidoscope of particular manifestations of these challenges, questions of credibility and truthfulness as represented through information outlets have recently gained renewed prominence. 

This was an issue foreseen by James E. Katz’s 1998 article, “Struggle in cyberspace: Fact and friction on the World Wide Web.” Of course in the intervening years, this struggle has broadened well beyond the World Wide Web to encompass an array of rapidly evolving digital outlets and technologies. Indeed, the struggle has become a pivotal dimension concerning how people come to grips with their reality.

Consequently, a sense of crisis has gripped many quarters as the authority of democratic processes and institutions have been questioned. One response has been calls for action that are now reverberating throughout boardrooms, college campuses, and legislatures. In response, steps are already being taken by media giants, but to unknown effect and with virtually no transparency or accountability. Moreover, such steps have been greeted by telling criticism on philosophical, ideological and oligopolistic grounds.

To pursue a clearer understanding of the scope and implications of this dramatic struggle between fact and fiction, which now goes to the heart of the journalistic enterprise, Boston University will hold interconnected sessions April 23-25, 2017.

Research-based perspectives invited, especially from younger scholars. Travel and lodging support available for paper presenters. Send abstracts to

MARCH 7, 2017
New Extended Deadline ~