News: Mobiles, Mobilities, and their Meeting Points
Much research on digital journalism has focused on “online”, and thus has failed to distinguish between platforms and devices. This is surprising since digital journalism and news, once associated with fixed desktop computers, has become entrenched in mobility and closely connected to mobile devices. Trending research topics such as data journalism, social media, audience analytics cannot be treated as if separate from mobile devices and mobility, but should study their role, significance and peculiarities in all these topics. This special issue will address this, publishing a variety of articles on mobiles, mobilities and their meeting points in the salient case of news.
The mobile device is a “miniaturized mobility” par excellence, tailored to fit with contemporary patterns of mobility (Elliott & Urry, 2010). Within the broader realm of digital journalism, we find news produced by mobile journalists (MoJos) as well as citizens using their networked smartphone (e.g. Burum & Quinn, 2015; Westlund, 2013), news distributed via mobile networks and platforms (e.g. Villi & Matikainen, 2015), and news consumed by mobile audiences on mobile devices in diverse spaces and times of the day (e.g. Wolf & Schnauber, 2015). Newsrooms have adapted to accommodate new technologies of mobility: smartphones and related technology (smart watches and augmented-reality glasses), and novel forms of newsrooms have sprung up. Practically, what impact has this had on how reporters source newsmakers and stories, how they report on them, and how they construct news packages? What role do mobile devices have in different forms of journalism, and how is news for mobile devices brought alive and consumed in the form of text, audio and video?
Commercially, the move from print to website was long foretold; news’s move onto social media accessed via smartphones was less expected, and has resulted in news organisations struggling to maintain control over the distribution of their content. This has impacted on the advertising revenue model which has supported news production for the past century. Conceptually, too, news has moved from being fixed to fluid, a flow of updateable information rather than a regularly issued product. Changes in production are also affected by changes in how, where and when news is consumed in the niches of life (Struckmann & Karnowski, 2017) as smartphones also change news consumption. A recent U.S. based study suggests people turn to their mobile devices for news snacking (Molyneux, 2017). Are such patterns found also elsewhere in the world, and how does it correspond to number of occasions people turn to their mobile devices for news, and via other platforms and news media? If so, what effect does that have on news journalism’s presumed civic informational role?
This special issue of Digital Journalism invites scholars to explore the intersection of news and mobility as it concerns production and distribution of news the one hand, and consumption on the other. The news/mobility intersection also raises issues for scholars in how to study such a rapidly evolving target. What epistemologies and methods are best suited to understanding specific aspects of this changeable industry? Both well-argued conceptual pieces, and theoretically informed empirical contributions are welcomed using all research methods, and from scholars working in journalism studies, media, mobilities and related areas. As mobile news is a global phenomenon, we encourage submissions from scholars working in all parts of the world. We invite extended abstracts under these two broad areas, but with an emphasis on digital journalism and the news/mobility nexus:
News production and distribution
• Newsroom adaptation to accommodate the new news mobilities.
• Para-journalism and independent practitioners bypassing traditional news channels (including partisan news, misinformation, fake news, and issues of verification).
• Alternative newsroom approaches and shifts to reconfigure to mobile first
• Studies into the business of mobile media services (m-commerce, payments, advertisements) for news media
• Emerging narrative formats of news reporting afforded by mobile technologies.
• Mobile infrastructure’s impact on news production and distribution.
• Personalising the mobile news experience: customized content and/or delivery
• Mobile devices in diverse forms of citizen journalism (and relating to witnessing, emotions, authenticity, live reporting, social media)
• Impact of mobile news channels on other forms of news consumption behaviour
• The impact of mobile news on civic engagement and political decision making.
• How smart phones, smart watches and augmented-reality glasses weave news consumption and sharing into everyday life
• New literacy skills required to navigate and interpret mobile news.
• New conceptualisations of news as fluid rather than fixed.
• New affordances of mobile news technologies
• Preferences for mobile news (applications, sites, notifications, social media etc.)
• Mobile news consumption in space and time
• Multi-method analyses of mobile news consumption (e.g. mixing survey, interviews or diaries with passive trace data)
Information about Submission
Proposals should include the following: an abstract of 500-750 words (not including references) as well as background information on the author(s), including an abbreviated bio that describes previous and current research that relates to the special issue theme. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline of May 1st. The submission timeline is outlined below. Then on May 18th authors will be notified whether their abstract has been selected, and consequently if they will be encouraged to develop and submit an article for peer review. Finally, full articles will be due November 9th for full blind review, in accordance with the journal's peer-review procedure. Submissions should be between 6,500 and 7,000 words in length. Guidelines for manuscripts can be found here.
• Abstract submission deadline: Tuesday 1st May 2018
• Notification on submitted abstracts: Friday 18th May 2018
• Article submission deadline: Friday 9th November 2018
• Accepted articles will be published immediately as Online First. The entire special issue will come out in 2019.
• Guest Editor: Andrew Duffy, Nanyang Technological University
• Guest Editor: Nuri Kim, Nanyang Technological University
• Guest Editor: Rich Ling, Nanyang Technological University
• Guest Editor: Oscar Westlund, Oslo Metropolitan University, Volda University College, and University of Gothenburg