Negotiating Culture – October 29-30 conference at RISJ

October 29-30, we at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism are hosting an international academic conference “Negotiating Culture” on how journalists and news media organizations in different contexts and countries deal with cultural challenges surrounding change in the current media environment.

The conference is organized by Lucy Küng, Robert G. Picard, and myself, and we are very happy that Digital Journalism has given us the opportunity to publish the best papers from the conference as a special issue of the journal.

The program outline is below. I’m looking forward to welcoming so many colleagues from all over the world to Oxford.

2015 Negotiating Culture Conference – Program Overview
Conference hashtag: #NewsCulture


1st Keynote by Lucy Küng 8.30 – 10.00

Panel 1 10.30 – 12.30

Panel 1: Strategy, Organizational Change and Innovation

Chaired by Mary Lynn Young

Fry Cook at the Waffle House: How the Boundaries Inside U.S. Newspapers are Shifting in a Digital Age. Alecia Swasy, University of Illinois

Dynamic Capabilities: exploring industry level capabilities in News Media. Dr John Oliver, Bournemouth University

Conflicting Objectives in Innovation Management: A Case Study of a Newspaper Company. Joschka Mütterlein, Dr. Reinhard Kunz, Lea Püchel, Universität Bayreuth, Germany

Digital First? Digital Last! How change management makes sense in newsrooms at regional media in the Netherlands in their struggle in the transition to a digital environment. Henk Jan Karsten, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Zwolle, The Netherlands

Clashes or consensus? What editorial, commercial and senior newspaper executives believe about business model innovation and each other’s ability to deliver. François Nel and Katja Lehtisaari, UCLAN/Helsinki

Panel 2 13.30 – 15.30

Panel 2: Changing Newsroom Practices

Chaired by Alfred Hermida

Connect and Engage: Negotiating Community in Newsroom Values and Practice. Melissa Tully, Shawn Harmsen, Jane B. Singer, Brian Ekdale, University of Iowa, City University London

From Teaching Newsroom to Content Lab: Changes in the Norms and Standards of News Production at a Learning Newsroom. Amy A. Ross, Northwestern University, USA

Assembling Journalism: Conflict, adaptation and mutual conditioning in the new journalistic landscape. Eugenia Siapera, Jane Suiter, Dublin City University

‘Newsroom Cultures’. Aljosha Karim Schapals, City University, London

When Creative Potentials Are Being Undermined by Commercial Imperatives. Brigitte Hofstetter and Philomen Schönhagen, University of Fribourg

Panel 3 16.00 – 18.00

Panel 3: Impact of New News Technologies

Chaired by Suzanne Franks

“Front potential” as a new success criterion in web-TV: Production and publishing practices in VGTV. Vilde Schanke Sundet, Lillehammer University College, Norway

I, Robot: Tools, Conditions and Challenges of Automated Journalism in German Newsrooms. Findings of a Participatory Observation among Online Editors. Stephan Weichert, Volker Lilienthal, Dennis Reineck, Annika Sehl, Macromedia University/ Hamburg Media School,  University of Hamburg,  TU Dortmund University

Don’t tweet this! How journalists and media organisations negotiate tensions emerging from the implementation of social media policy in newsrooms. Dr Vittoria Sacco and Dr Diana Bossio, University of Neuchâtel, Swinburne University of Technology

Journalists and tecnoactors: the negotiation of professional cultures in the online newsrooms. João Canavilhas, Diógenes Luna, Ivan Satuf, Vitor Torres, Alberto Marques, Alciane Baccin, UBI-Portugal, UFBA-Brasil, UnB-Brasil, UFRGS-Brasil

The algorithms for journalism: interpreting and writing rules for robots. Carl-Gustav Lindén, University of Helsinki, Swedish School of Social Science

Finding the Data Unicorn: A hierarchy of hybridity in data and computational journalism. Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young, UBC Graduate School of Journalism


2nd Keynote by Robert G. Picard: 8.30 – 10.00

Panel 4 10.30 – 12.30

Panel 4: News culture meets the challenge of national culture

Chaired by Diana Bossio

How Newsroom Culture is Related to the Ways in Which Newspapers in China and the UK have Responded to Technological Changes: a comparative study. Miao Mi and Hugo de Burgh, University of Westminster

New technology and newsroom cultures: A case study of two Kurdish news channel. Abdulsamad Zangana, University of Liverpool

From Crisis to Departure? Newsroom Culture under the Impact of Digital Structural Change in Germany. Dr. Leif Kramp, Dr Stephan Weichert, University of Bremen, Macromedia University/ Hamburg Media School

Reducing Complexity: A Behavioral Perspective on Journalistic Quality. Bartosz Wilczek, Prof. Dr. Stephan Russ-Mohl, Institution: Università della Svizzera italiana, European Journalism Observatory

Panel 5 13.30 – 15.30

Panel 5: Inside Newsroom Culture

Chaired by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Embracing Change: the role of institutional integrity on the responsiveness of newspaper organisations. Sara Ekberg, Folker Hanusch, Maria Norbäck and Patrik Wikström, Jönköping International Business School, Queensland University of Technology, Gothenburg University

What’s the Matter with Newsroom Culture? A Sociomaterial Analysis of Professional Knowledge Creating in the Newsroom. Steen Steensen, Oslo and Akershus University College

Innovative Learning Culture (ILC) at Dutch newspapers in transformation. Ornella Porcu, City Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

Tensions in the newsroom: a case study of a Fynske Medier’s digitalization process. Aske Kammer, University of Southern Denmark

News Production Cultures. Natacha Yazbeck, Annenberg School for Communication

Panel 6 16.00 – 17.45

Panel 6: News Culture, Local Communities and National Politics

Chaired by John Oliver

All the Actions Fit to Print: Nonprofits as digital intermediaries in US journalism and the rise of “what next?” reporting. David Conrad, University of Pennsylvania, Annenberg School for Communication

Organisational Culture and Its Influence on Strategy in Local Media in the Digital Age. Sarah O’Hara, Canterbury Christ Church University

The interactions between journalists, digital technologies, the audience and the political field. Florin C. Serban, Hong Kong Baptist University

Campaign culture 2015: embracing intermediality to “tell the story” in ITV news’ election 2015. Amy P. Smith, Royal Holloway, University of London

Where Journalists cannot report. Negotiating the dilemmas of covering Syria between March- September 2011. Professor Suzanne Franks, Lisette Johnson, City University, London

Next steps and Wrap ups 17.45-18.00

2015 Int’ Journal of Press/Politics Conference

IJPPI’m proud to present the 2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Conference, hosted September 17-18 by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

The full program including abstracts is here [PDF], and an overview with titles and presenters is below–we will be covering many issues relevant for the International Journal of Press/Politic‘s mission: to advance our understanding of the relations between news media and politics in a global perspective.

With more than 60 researchers from over 20 countries, it will be a truly international event and it is one I really look forward to–a good start to what I plan as an annual event, with the best and most relevant papers submitted to the journal for later publication.

2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Conference


Keynote by Frank Esser: 9.00 – 10.30

Panels 1a and 1b 10.45 – 12.15

Panel 1a: Protest, Activism, and Civil Society

Chaired by Katrin Voltmer

Prospective journalism redux: The new life of political magazines in the digital age Francisco Seoane Pérez, University of Castilla-La Mancha

Experiential Learning, Standby Citizens and the Redundancy of Slacktivism: Exploring the Day-to-Day Use of Social Media for Political Participation. James Dennis, Royal Holloway, University of London

The engineering of dissent: How international NGOs use digital tools to craft oppositional politics. Matthew Powers, University of Washington – Seattle

We doth protest too much, methinks (perhaps): Does the concept of the ‘protest paradigm’ truly capture the predominant features of the reporting of protest? Ian Taylor, University of Leicester

Panel 1b: Comparing Media Systems and Cross-National Influences

Chaired by Paolo Mancini

Media influence upon Global South development institutions. Felipe Rodrigues Siston, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)

Comparing Defective Media Systems in Southeast Asia. Melanie Radue, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg

Critical and multiperspectival investigation in political news coverage: Is Mediterranean journalism better than its reputation? Edda Humprecht and Frank Esser, University of Zurich

The Impact of Trust in the News on Online News Interaction in 11 Countries. Richard Fletcher, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford and Sora Park, University of Canberra

Panels 2a and 2b 13.00 – 14.30

Panel 2a: Contentious Politics and Media Audiences in Transitional Societies (I)

Chaired by William Porath

Contested transitions: Journalistic interpretations of democracy in Egypt and South Africa. Katrin Voltmer and Hendrik Kraetzschmar, University of Leeds

The Ripple Effects of International Broadcasting: How Activists Interpret the Role of International Broadcasting in the Egyptian and Syrian Protests. Ben O’Loughlin and Billur Aslan, Royal Holloway, University of London

Volatile Politics and the Dynamics of Media Audiences: A Longitudinal Study of News Consumption in Egypt. Nael Jebril, Bournemouth University

New Politics of News Circulation and Reception in Turkey. Suncem Koçer, Kadir Has University, Istanbul

Panel 2b: Media Logic, Crises, and Strategy

Chaired by Ralph Schroeder

News Media Logic on the Shift. How new media actors shape the printed news. Maria Karidi and Michael Meyen, University of Munich

Comparing Reactions to News Aggregators´ Practices. Sarah Anne Ganter, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford

Values Priming and Press Performance: How Media Crises Activate Latent Attitudes and Shape News Evaluations. Erik P. Bucy, Texas Tech University and Paul D’Angelo, The College of New Jersey

Execution as a Strategic Tool: Fear and Legitimisation in ISIS Media Agenda-Setting. Andrew Barr and Alexandra Herfroy-Mischler, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Birds of a feather sessions: 15.00 – 16.00

Panels 3a and 3b 16.30-18.00

Panel 3a: Digital Media and Changing Patterns of News Consumption

Chaired by Michaela Maier

Rethinking Digital Media and Political Change. Ralph Schroeder, University of Oxford

The Ubiquitous Bigfoot and the new Digital Audiences: Contesting negotiations in the literate networked publics in India. Vibodh Parthasarathi, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; Ananda Mitra, Wake Forest University, and Sanjay Mamani, Redinfi LLC

The History of Social Sharing of News. Jonathan Bright and Scott Hale, University of Oxford

GlobalCOM. Juan Luis Manfredi-Sánchez, University of Castilla-La Mancha

Panel 3b: Journalists, News Media, and the State (I)

Chaired by Jesper Strömback

Relations between political actors and journalists: Media instrumentalization in Serbia. Ana Milojević and Aleksandra Krstić, University of Belgrade

Press Offices and Political Parallelism in Spain. Links Between the Professionalisation and Increase of Political Control of the Media. Andreu Casero-Ripollés and Pablo López-Rabadán, Universitat Jaume I, Spain

Corollaries of relations between political actors and journalists on journalism and democracy in Nigeria. Rodney Ciboh, Benue State University, Nigeria

In the shadow of state power: Citizenship rights, civil society and media representation in China, 1978 – 2012. Na Liu, Sichuan University and Tsan-Kuo Chang, City University of Hong Kong


Panels 4a and 4b 9.00 – 10.30

Panel 4a: Agenda-Setting and Social Issues

Chaired by Bilge Yesil

Taking News at Face Value? The Effect of Deserving and Undeserving Exemplars in News Coverage of Welfare State Reform. Christian Elmelund-Præstekær and Morten Skovsgaard, University of Southern Denmark

Poverty Discourse in the United States, 2004-2014. Lori Young, University of Pennsylvania

The Schizophrenic Mass Media: Contingencies of Coverage of Welfare State Reforms. Morten Skovsgaard and Christian Elmelund-Præstekær, University of Southern Denmark

African Newspaper Coverage of AIDS: Comparing New Models of Press-State Relations and Structural Factors in Sub-Saharan Anglophone Africa. John C. Pollock, D’Angelo, Paul, Burd, Amanda, Kiernicki, Kristen, and Janna Raudenbush, The College of New Jersey

Panel 4b: Journalists, News Media, and the State (II)

Chaired by Frank Esser

How the national context and presumed media influence shape the orientations of political actors towards news media: Evidence from four European contexts. Peter Maurer, University of Vienna

Why the media matters for politicians. A study on the strategic use of mass media in lawmaking. Lotte Melenhorst, Leiden University and Peter Van Aelst, University of Antwerp

Governmental communication in the wake of mediatization. Magnus Fredriksson, University of Gothenburg and Josef Pallas, Uppsala University

Between media and political power: perceptions of government intermediaries caught in the cross-field. Ruth Garland, LSE

Panels 5a and 5b 10.45 – 12.15

Panel 5a: Contentious Politics and Media Audiences in Transitional Societies (II)

Chaired by John Pollock

Corruption in the press coverage: Audience segmentation and the lack of shared indignation. Paolo Mancini, Marco Mazzoni, Alessio Cornia and Rita Marchetti, Università di Perugia

Is populism the hegemonic political communication style of the 21st century? The impossible cases of Hugo Chávez and Nigel Farage. Ralph Negrine, University of Sheffield and Elena Block, University of Queensland

Press and Politics in a Neoliberal Islamist State: The Case of Turkey. Bilge Yesil, City University of New York

From Contentious Moments to Everyday Politics of Mundaneness – Researching digital media and contentious politics in China. Jun Liu, University of Copenhagen

Panel 5b: Media Freedom, Professionalism, and Accountability

Chaired by Raymond Kuhn

“It’s so cool what we’ve created here”: How the fact-checking movement became international. Lucas Graves, University of Wisconsin

New professionals for a new genre. Freelance journalists in China’s public debate. Emma Lupano, Università degli Studi di Milano

Negotiating tolerance: Freedom of expression, secularism, and contemporary political communication. Charlotte Elliott, University of Leeds

Doing International Politics Under Domestic Public Pressure – A Model of the Relationship between Public Opinion, Published Opinion and Political Decision-Making in an International Context. Christina Köhler and Philipp Weichselbaum, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz

Panels 6a and 6b 13.00 – 14.30

Panel 6a: Campaigns and the Democratic Process

Chaired by Ralph Negrine

Political Parties’ and Media’s Interplay in Politicizing EU Integration: A six-country analysis of party communication and media coverage in the 2014 EP election campaigns. Michaela Maier and Melanie Leidecker, University of Koblenz-Landau; Silke Adam and Beatrice Eugster, University of Bern

Media and the Mobilizing Effects of Election Campaigns – Comparing Election Campaigns to the National and European Parliament. Jesper Strömbäck, Gothenburg University and Adam Shehata, Gothenburg University

Televised debates in parliamentary democracies. Nick Anstead, LSE

Cross-Media Strategies in Online Petition Campaigning. David Kapf, George Washington University

Panel 6b: Politicized Individuals

Chaired by Jay Blumler

The mediatization of presidential leadership in France. Raymond Kuhn, Queen Mary University of London

Three types of political personalisation in the press and in political advertising during election campaigns: Chile 1970 – 2009. William Porath, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Dr. Juan-Cristóbal Portales, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez

From the Presidential Spouse to the First Lady – how have the media created a new political actor? A comparative study of the political rise of the First Lady in France, Spain, Poland and the US. Ewa Widlak, University Pompeu Fabra

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”: A Comparative News Analysis of the Michael Brown’s Shooting in Four Countries. Suman Mishra and Elza Ibroscheva, Southern Illinois University

Roundtable with IJPP Editorial Board Members 15.00 – 16.00

Closing remarks 16.00-16.15

Selection of 2015 Reuters Institute Digital News Report coverage from around the world

Our new Digital News Report is out. All data, from 2015 and back to the first study in 2012, is freely available, as is the report itself and essays by James Harding, Emily Bell, and others, at

Below a selection of the news coverage from around the world, including news organizations from countries with a combined population of more than 3.5 billion (thanks to China and India in large part)-

BBC: “News outlets need ‘more inventive’ business model.”

Reuters: “Surge in smartphones’ popularity, social media threaten online news providers” (this was widely published all over the world, like Indonesia), it was published also in Spanish “Aumento en uso de celulares y redes sociales amenaza a proveedores de noticias en internet.” (this too was republished in various places).

Financial Times: “Young people switch off television news in increasing numbers.”

Guardian: “News outlets face losing control to Apple, Facebook and Google.”

Huffington Post: “For Newspapers Swimming in Rough Currents of Digital Era, More Bad News.”

BuzzFeed: “Apple’s Mobile Ad-Blocking Move May Be Good News For Facebook.”

Indian Express: “Why surge of smartphones, social media threatens ad-revenue for news sites.”

The Hindustan Times: “How surge in smartphones, social media could threaten online news providers.”

South China Morning Post: “Apple hiring spree for iPhone News curators sparks censorship fears.”

Tencent (China): “智能手机兴起 社交媒体威胁在线新闻”

Liberation: “Infos en ligne : plus de mobile, mais toujours personne pour payer.”

Corriere della Sera: “Reuters: niente carta, gli italiani preferiscono ancora la tv.”

Die Welt: “Wie wir uns informieren werden – die zehn wichtigsten Thesen des “Reuters Digital News Report” and “Für Online-News will kaum jemand wirklich zahlen.”

Berlingske: “Nyheder læser man da på Facebook.”

De Telegraaf: “Sociale media verdrijven nieuwsapps.”

Financni Noviny: “Popularita smartphonů je prý hrozbou pro zpravodajské organizace.”

Irish Times: “Irish half as likely to pay for online news as Finns and Danes.”

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: “Facebook, Google set to crowd out competitors in digital news.” “Brits and Germans reluctant to pay for online news.”

Various trade publications have also picked up on the report–

Nieman Lab: “Smartphones and Facebook continue to grow as gateways to online news around the world.”

Columbia Journalism Review: “Digital news consumers unlikely to pay for content and increasingly block ads.” “Study: Smartphone is ‘defining device’ in digital news.”

Meedia: “Digital News Report: der unaufhaltsame Aufstieg von Smartphones und Social Media.”

Poynter Institute: “One-third of readers disappointed or deceived by sponsored content.”

2015 Reuters Institute Digital News Report

2015 DNRThe 2015 Reuters Institute Digital News Report is now out. We are launching it in London and will discuss it around the hashtag #risj15 on Twitter.

Three main takeaways from the report across the 12 countries covered–

1) An accelerating move to mobile web use, with desktop use (for news) down and tablet use stagnant in many countries.

2) The increasing importance of digital intermediaries like search engines and social media, more than anything Facebook, in how people find news online.

3) Mounting commercial challenges for news media in terms of the move to mobile (where advertising is even more difficult), the rise of ad-blocking software, and no significant increase in the number of people paying for digital news.

The main report, written by Nic Newman with input from David Levy and myself and research support from Richard Fletcher is available on our dedicated website

There, you can also find supplementary essays by BBC Heads of News James Harding, Director of the Two Center for Digital Journalism Emily Bell and others, as well as interactive graphics with the data and data from previous years.

Nic, with his usual energy, insight, and talent for communication, has also made a video covering the main points in a 100 seconds. (That’s less than 1 second per page.)

Everything is also freely available for download. Thanks to all our partners for supporting this project. We hope it will be of use to journalists, media professionals, researchers, and anyone else interested in the future of news.

4 x come work with me!

From 2016 onwards we at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism are expanding our Digital News Report with a much wider range of research on developments in the media business, in media policy, and in news media start-ups across Europe.

We will be hiring four post doctoral research fellows to work with David Levy, Nic Newman and myself on what will be an exceptionally exciting comparative news media research project. This is a great chance to come to Oxford and be part of a strong, interdisciplinary, and growing research team with strong connections to practicing journalists, the news media, and various digital media.

Deadline for application is July 3. Links below to each of the positions.

RISJ seeks 4 new researchers for project on Digital News Media

We are seeking to appoint four Research Fellows to work on a 3 year project aimed at analysing media developments in more than 20 European countries, with a particular emphasis on digital media, news, and politics.

Each post has a different focus, though it is expected that they will work closely together on this exciting new project.  For further details please visit the individual job pages on the Department of Politics website:

New edited book on local journalism out

Local journalismLocal Journalism: the decline of newspapers and the rise of digital media, has just been published by I.B. Tauris. It contains a range of analysis of local news media ecosystems, relations between local journalists and various other actors  in local communities, and of hyperlocal news sites across a range of high income democracies in the Western Europe and North America.

I edited this book because local journalism is important, because it is often overlooked by academics as well as in discussions around the future of journalism, and because the contributors to the book had some really interesting things to say about how local journalism is developing, including in terms of differences and similarities across various countries.

The first chapter is available for free download here, and the book can be purchased through the usual routes including the publisher or Amazon.

Full description, nice words of praise from Bob Franklin and David Ryfe, as well as the list of contributors and the table of contents all below.

Local Journalism: the decline of newspapers and the rise of digital media

Edited by: Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

For more than a century, local journalism has been taken almost for granted. But the twenty-first century has brought major challenges. The newspaper industry that has historically provided most local coverage is in decline and it is not yet clear whether digital media will sustain new forms of local journalism.

This book provides an international overview of the challenges facing changing forms of local journalism today. It identifies the central role that diminished newspapers still play in local media ecosystems, analyses relations between local journalists and politicians, government officials, community activists and ordinary citizens, and examines the uneven rise of new forms of digital local journalism. Together, the chapters present a multi-faceted portrait of the precarious present and uncertain future of local journalism in the Western world.

“This is a detailed, research-based and comparative account of developments in local news and journalism at a time of structural change and transition in local news ecosystems. It reasserts the significance of local news and journalism for local communities and their economic, political, social and cultural life and sets a benchmark for future studies of local news and journalism during a period of change and uncertainty.”

Bob Franklin, Professor of Journalism Studies, Cardiff University

“Journalism is changing, nowhere more rapidly than in locally produced news.  This book provides an on-the-ground glimpse of these changes as they are taking place across Europe, the UK, and the United States.  An invaluable snapshot of a fast-moving process…and an important touchstone for research yet to be done!”

David Ryfe, Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa

The contributors to the book are Andrew Williams (Cardiff University), Bengt Engan (University of Nordland), C. W. Anderson (CUNY-CSI), Dave Hart (Birmingham City University), David Domingo (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Emmanuel Marty (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis), Florence Le Cam (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Franck Bousquet (University of Toulouse), Jerome Turner (Birmingham City University), Julie Firmstone (University of Leeds), Marco van Kerkhoven (Utrecht University of Applied Sciences), Matthew Powers (University of Washington), Nancy Thumim (University of Leeds), Nikos Smyrnaios (University of Toulouse), Oliver Baisnee (Sciences Po, Toulouse), Piet Bakker (Utrecht University of Applied Sciences), Sandra Vera Zambrano (Sciences Po, Toulouse), and Stephen Coleman (University of Leeds).

Table of contents

  1. The Uncertain Future of Local Journalism (Rasmus Kleis Nielsen)

PART I – Local media ecosystems

  1. The News Crisis Compared: The Impact of the Journalism Crisis on Local News Ecosystems in Toulouse, France and Seattle, USA (Matthew Powers, Sandra Vera Zambrano, and Olivier Baisnée)
  2. Local newspapers as keystone media: the increased importance of diminished newspapers for local political information environments (Rasmus Kleis Nielsen)
  3. How News Travels: A Comparative Study of Local Media Ecosystems in Leeds (UK) and Philadelphia (US) (C.W. Anderson, Stephen Coleman, and Nancy Thumim)

PART II – Local journalism and its interlocutors

  1. The plurality of journalistic identities in local controversies (Florence Le Cam and David Domingo)
  2. Rethinking local communicative spaces: reflecting on the implications of digital media and citizen journalism for the role of local journalism in engaging citizens in local democracies (Julie Firmstone and Stephen Coleman)
  3. Perceived relevance of and trust in local media (Bengt Engan)

PART III – New forms of local media

  1. Between journalistic diversity and economic constraints: local pure players in Southern France (Nikos Smyrnaios, Emmanuel Marty, and Franck Bousquet)
  2. Hyperlocal with a Mission? Motivation, strategy, engagement (Marco van Kerkhoven and Piet Bakker)
  3. Filling the News Hole? UK community news and the crisis in local journalism (Andy Williams, Dave Harte, and Jerome Turner)

Special section of IJoC on qualitative political communication research published

IJoCThe International Journal of Communication has just published a special section on qualitative political communication research based on an ICA preconference last year in Seattle on the theme that Daniel Kreiss, Dave Karpf, Matt Powers, and I organized.

In our opening article framing the special section (as well as the preconference itself), we make the case for a new era of qualitative research to contribute to the study of political communication at a time of rapid media change.

Going back to pioneering work by Gladys Lang and Kurt Lang (see their essays collected in Television and Politics) as well as by Paul Lazarsfeld–far more known for his quantitative work, but actually deeply committed to the integral role of qualitative methods in good social science, as is clear from his methodological writings as well as from for example The People’s Choice–we detail the history of a tradition of mixed-methods research in the United States from the 1920s to the 1960s, and show how a new and far more quantitatively-oriented methodological consensus formed from the 1970s onward, facilitating great advances in some areas while marginalizing qualitative inquiry in political communication research.

We conclude our opening article with a discussion of the ways qualitative research, including the articles in this special section, can complement quantitative work and advance the field of political communication–there are many, many opportunities out there for scholars willing to invest the time and effort in learning qualitative methods and in using them to complement quantitative methods and contribute to our collective understanding of political communication.

The many excellent articles in the special section itself are examples of what can be accomplished by political communication research based in whole or in part on qualitative methods. You can see the whole table of contents with link to articles here.

It was a real pleasure to work on this project, from its origins in a paper Daniel, Dave, and I first presented at ICA in London 2013, over the process of organizing the preconference itself (which so many people helped make an extraordinarily interesting event), and finally to the process of editing the special section to ensure we captured and published some of the best work presented along the way.