Skip to main content

Call for papers

The call for abstracts is now open.

2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges and obstacles for journalism as an institution, and journalists as professionals. At the same time, journalism has never been more important. With audiences around the world urgently requiring reliable information on the coronavirus pandemic and major breaking news events, journalists have carried out their work under difficult and often dangerous circumstances.

In doing so, their storytelling has shed light on, and made tangible, the realities on the ground which would otherwise be inaccessible. Audiences, in turn, have altered their news-seeking behaviour and engagement with traditional and alternative media. Against this backdrop, news organisations around the world have had to operate with unprecedented agility and flexibility, changing their routines and practices to overcome the many obstacles thrown in their path. The Future of Journalism conference 2021 invites contributions that engage with the theme of “overcoming obstacles,” examining areas including, but not limited to:

Transformations in journalistic practices

  • How have news organisations around the world covered the pandemic? What have been the major logistical and ethical challenges in doing so?
  • How have news organisations managed the coverage of major events beyond the pandemic (e.g. the Black Lives Matter movement and critical race theory, and the US presidential elections)?
  • How have news organisations responded to unprecedented attacks on journalists as professionals and journalism as an institution?
  • How have journalists changed their working routines and practices given the challenges of covering the news in a pandemic?
  • How has journalism fared in holding governments to account?
  • How have the experiences of journalists varied across national contexts and types of journalism?
  • How has journalism responded to embrace greater diversity and inclusion?
  • How has journalism’s role changed?

Enhancing storytelling

  • What new storytelling formats, techniques and platforms have journalists developed to cover the pandemic?
  • What has been the role of emerging practices (e.g. data journalism, fact-checking artificial intelligence, constructive journalism) in shaping storytelling?
  • Which theoretical approaches can help us understand changes in storytelling techniques?

Engaging and supporting audiences

  • How has audience engagement with the news changed?
  • How have news organisations responded to the “infodemic” of misinformation, disinformation and conspiracy theories? What role have social media played in this context?
  • How have audience members changed their news-seeking behaviour?
  • What have we learned about news avoidance?

Building resilience for the future

  • What has been the emotional impact of covering news in crisis, and how can news organisations ensure support for the mental health of journalists in the future?
  • How have news organisations maintained their commitment to longer-standing projects (e.g. investigations and experimentation) in the face of the pandemic?
  • How have business models in journalism coped with the pandemic?
  • What are the most promising avenues for financial sustainability in the future?
  • What research agendas and theoretical approaches are most helpful to understand the future of journalism?
  • How can practising journalists and academics strengthen their ties and work to better inform audiences?

We are delighted that a selection of papers presented at the conference will be published in special issues of international peer-reviewed journals, such as: Digital Journalism, Journalism Practice and Journalism Studies.

The deadline for submitting abstracts (500-750 words maximum) for papers is Thursday 5 March 2021. Please submit your abstract via the conference email address:

Please do not submit more than one abstract as first author, with no more than two abstracts in total. Should you have any questions, please contact us at