Today was the first day of the Future of Journalism conference, hosted by the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. I really feel like I’ve missed out by not attending this one, as there were some fascinating papers presented today and even more to come tomorrow. If you’re interested you can have a look at the agenda online here.
Some of the topics that caught my eye are ones like ‘The journalistic shield and its fissures: studying source credibility in the context of newswork‘; ‘Negotiating privacy in the 21st century‘; ‘Blogging science: reassessing the future(s) of science journalism‘; and ‘Web 2.0, grassroots journalism and social justice in China‘.
There are some fantastic topics being discussed throughout the conference that cover everything from the business of journalism, to 21st century ethical issues, all the way to the growing influence of activist journalism. It really does look like a great, comprehensive overview of current and emerging trends in journalism.
Unfortunately, albeit understandably, the papers themselves are unavailable for the general public. Although they are hosted online, they have been password protected to ensure the integrity of the authors’ work (enabling them, for example, to submit their articles to established journals following the conference without them being considered previously published).
Although we can’t know the content of the papers themselves yet (if anybody reading this attended do leave a comment!) – the titles and topics tell us quite a lot about the general zeitgeist of thinking in the field. One thing that is readily apparent is that the field of journalism is seeing a huge shift thanks to the newly available communication technologies. Although this aspect is self-evident in many ways, there seems to be quite a great deal of concern about future business models for news organisations, coupled with the role that grassroots citizen journalism will play and how they will interface with professional bodies.
Surrounding this also seems to be an idea that maybe the concept of the objective journalist is changing somewhat – that people now want to read opinions and passion within many areas. This change has surely come about in great part because of the growth in personal expression and social influence that the social media generation has brought about. The heavy role of activism and political causes is represented strongly throughout the conference, showing how our new found global voice is being used to make a difference for the better all over the globe.
Overall, it really sounds like a fantastic conference and I look forward to reading some of these papers when they are published proper. Hopefully, following the completion of the conference some of them will be released online – if not, we can be assured that many of them will find their way into peer-reviewed journals in the coming months.
It’s times like these that I really do appreciate being an alumni and having access to my old university’s library and its academic archive subscriptions!