Updated Schedule: Objects of Journalism Preconference

We are happy to announce the tentative schedule for the June 17, 2013 International Communications Association preconference, “The Objects of Journalism,” which will be held at the Frontline Club in London. For a longer description of the themes of the preconference, please see the earlier post on this site. For more logistical details, see the post right below this one.

The Objects of Journalism
International Communications Association Pre-Conference
Sponsored by the Journalism Studies division and Communication History division.
June 17, 2013, The Frontline Club

8:30 – 9:00am
Arrival and coffee

9:00 – 9:15am
Welcome from the organizers

9:15 – 10:45am
PANEL I: Digital Objects

  • Mike Ananny (University of Southern California) & Kate Crawford (Microsoft Research), The Ideologies of Social News: Tracing the Politics of News App Design for Mobile and Tablet Platforms
  • Josh Braun (Quinnipiac University),  A Fuller Spectrum: Hidden Heterogeneities in MSNBC.com’s Online Interfaces
  • Sylvain Parasie (University Paris Est / Marne-la-Vallée ), Data-driven revelations, really? How data processing techniques affect the epistemologies of investigative journalism
  • Heather Ford (Oxford Internet Institute), Talk Pages, Edit Histories and Fact Boxes: The Artifacts of Wikipedia Newsmaking
  • Daniel Kreiss (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill) and C.W. Anderson (City University of New York), Tracing the Objects of Journalism and Politics: A Methodological Approach to Ethnographies of Objects
  • MODERATOR: Juliette DeMaeyer (Université libre de Bruxelles)

Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:30pm
Panel II: Objects of Journalism in Space, Place, and Time

  • Florence Le Cam (Université libre de Bruxelles), From the Printing House to Open Place Office. The Evolution of ‘Newsrooms’
  • Nikki Usher (George Washington University), Castells’ Space of Flows and The International Herald Tribune across Three Time-Zones: Does Time Matter? Does A Physical Product Matter?
  • Matthias Revers (SUNY-Albany), The Augmented Newsbeat: Enhancement of News Production Spaces Through Twitter
  • Sonia Huang (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan), The Substitution Effect of Virtual Studios for TV Broadcasting: Evidence from Taiwan
  • MODERATOR: Amy Schmitz Weiss (San Diego State University)

12:30 – 1:30pm

1:30 – 2:30pm
Keynote Panel: New Materialities, Old Arguments? How to Think About Journalism, Technology, and Objects

Featuring: David Domingo (Université libre de Bruxelles), Gina Neff (University of Washington), and Michael Schudson (Columbia University). MODERATOR: C.W. Anderson (City University of New York)

2:30 – 3:45pm
Panel III: Objects Out of the Ordinary

  • Joe Cutbirth (Manhattan College), Strange Bedfellows: Bar Rags, the AIDS Virus, and Modern Gay Identity
  • Lynn Berger (Columbia University), An Object of Journalism? The Halftone Effect, 1880‐1910
  • Susan Keith (Rutgers University), Pica Poles, Proportion Wheels, and Paper Dummies: Objects of Visual Power in 20th Century Newsrooms
  • Andie Tucher (Columbia University), The Dilemma of Photographic Faking at the Dawn of Photojournalism
  • MODERATOR: Seth Lewis (University of Minnesota)

3:45 – 4:00pm
Coffee break

4:00 – 5:30pm
Panel IV: Context, Circulation, and Journalistic Processes

  • Mark Coddington (University of Texas Austin), Defending Judgment and Context in ‘Original reporting’: Journalists’ Construction of News Work in a Networked Age
  • Kevin Barnhurst (University of Leeds), “The Interpretive Turn in U.S. News”
  • Henrik Bodker (Aarhus University), Journalism as Cultures of Circulation
  • Lucas Graves (University of Wisconsin Madison), Checking Glenn Beck: Objectivity and Materiality in Fact-Checking Work
  • Nele Heise (Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research), “Bridging Technologies”: Intermediating Functions of Technical Objects
  • MODERATOR: Michael Karlsson (Karlstad University)



Update for ICA Preconference, “The Objects of Journalism.”

(Please note: all preconference attendees, whether presenting accepted papers or simply attending the conference, should make sure to register for “PC 17- The Objects of Journalism” when they complete their overall ICA conference registration).

We are happy to announce our tentative schedule for the June 17, 2013 International Communications Association preconference, “The Objects of Journalism,” which will be held at the Frontline Club in London. For a longer description of the themes of the preconference, please see the earlier post on this site.

The process of making the final decisions about accepted and rejected abstracts was a difficult one. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of submissions we received, although our numbers seem consonant with the the overall high level of interest in the London ICA conference. Ultimately, we were only able to accept about  35% of the proposals submitted, which is roughly parallel to the percentage of papers accepted by the Journalism Studies division overall.

We are also happy to note that the overall fee for participation in the preconference has dropped to $35, thanks to generous support from ReSIC (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and the City University of New York Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism.

Please see the tentative schedule in the post immediately above this one. Additional logistical details will follow.

— Chris and Juliette

Call For Papers: “The Objects of Journalism: Media, Materiality, and the News.”

Call for Papers: The Objects of Journalism: Media, Materiality, and the News

London, June 17, 2013
Frontline Club

Lead sponsor: Journalism Studies Division
Co-sponsor: Communication History Division

Studying the “objects of journalism” involves looking at the role of actual things in the journalism production process. This pre-conference aims at moving away from perspectives focusing on overarching forces — be they of an economic, ideological or technical nature — as the main explanation of what happens in the making of the news. Without denying the existence of such forces, the approach advocated here tentatively explores the very material objects, sometimes seemingly innocuous or univocal, involved in journalistic production.

It is an effort, in other words, towards fully embodying a vast set of heterogeneous objects that were or are enrolled in the making of the news: from the carrier-pigeon to Google algorithms, from Remington typewriters to robot-journalism.

Taking objects seriously strikes us as being an approach towards which some very challenging research and researchers are currently tending, but also as lacking a larger, unified framework for discussing potential items of research. We also aim, finally, to help to facilitate discussion between those who scholars who might embrace this “material turn” and those who might see it as a return to a realist ontology perhaps best left behind.

Call For Papers

More specifically, this pre-conference seeks papers that:

(1) Emphasize the socio-historical depth of journalistic objects, allowing us to think about up-to-the-minute aspects of modern newsmaking without being stuck in the contemplation of their alleged novelty. Examples would include papers tackling digital artifacts such as lines of code, hyperlinks, databases, APIs, CMS, algorithms, softwares, etc.
(2) Analyze the very material aspects that once mattered — or still do — in the news production processes such as the rise of documents and quotes in the building of journalistic evidence, the evolution of newsroom infrastructure towards integrated open-spaces, or the birth and evolution of news wire services.
(3) Approach, in a more historical fashion, the emergence, acceptance, normalization of various material objects in the news production and dissemination process.
(4) Highlight, by reconstituting how objects that may not be originally journalistic in nature were enrolled in newsmaking, the intersections between journalism and other worlds, other milieux.
(5) Provide critical reflection upon choosing this modus operandi over other classic journalism studies approaches.
(6) Tackle more philosophical and theoretical questions, primarily those involving “new materialist” ontologies and epistemologies, and attempt to integrate practices in journalism with already existing thinking on assemblage theory (DeLanda) actor-network theory (Latour) or object-oriented ontology.
(7) Rethink methodologies — how do we understand what it means to do a materially-minded ethnography? Content analysis? Social network map? Have our methods always been material in this way? Or is there something new here?
(8) Perspectives — whether theoretical, sociological, cultural, economic, or historical — that dispute the advisability or existence of a material turn. In other words, we encourage papers that dispute the thrust, premises, or underlying assumptions of the pre-conference. We are hoping for lively dispute and dialog!
(9) Any other topics of relevance to the general theme of the pre-conference.

In a word, this pre-conference is concerned to reveal the very concrete materiality of journalism. Doing so requires us to think afresh about the ontology of journalism studies, the methods we chose, and the fields we decide to investigate.


The pre-conference will consist of several roundtable discussions, composed of individuals presenting short papers based on abstracts submitted in advance of ICA 2012. The structure will be designed in order to facilitate discussion and dialog rather than individual presentations and a formal “question and answer” session. There will be a designated respondent for each panel, designed to facilitate dialog and interaction.

Paper Submission Process

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to conference organizers C.W. Anderson at heychanders@gmail.com and Juliette De Maeyer at Juliette.De.Maeyer@ulb.ac.be, by November 20, 2012. Authors will be informed regarding acceptance / rejection for the preconference no later than December 20, 2012. It is the goal of the organizers hope to have the papers for this preconference posted online, and thus full papers will need to be submitted no later than May 15, 2013. The pre-conference takes place on June 17.


The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, London W2 1QJ.

The Frontline Club is known as a champion of independent journalism in the United Kingdom, and is only a 7-minute walk from the main ICA conference venue. Interestingly, the Frontline Club is also well known for hosting one of Wikileaks’ first press conferences in July 2010. The relationship between the data-dumping Wikileaks and our pre-conference theme (“the objects of journalism”) makes the Frontline Club a particularly appropriate choice of venue.

Fee: To cover various expenses, we will ask all registrants to pay a pre-conference fee of $50.