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Look Who’s Talking: Voices and Sources in the News

Gio, 12/12/2024 - Ven, 12/13/2024
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Venue TBA

Having established a solid reputation in research into journalism theory and journalism practice, the Brussels Institute for Journalism Studies (BIJU) is proud to launch its fifth call for papers for a new international conference. The topic for this year will be voices and sources in the news. As always, our conference is multidisciplinary. We invite scholars from different backgrounds like communication and media studies, conversation and discourse analysis, (cognitive) linguistics, translation studies, speech technology, epistemology and political and social sciences to share their insights with us on which voices and sources are heard in the news, and on how their words are represented.

Studying voices and sources in the news can be done empirically from many different angles. From a linguistic point of view, studying the voices and the sources in a given text comes down to studying the evidentiality expressed in the text. Evidentiality is the linguistic category which gives shape to perception, proof and evidence. While the formal designation of evidentiality may vary widely among languages, evidential meanings are universally expressed in all languages. We can say that evidentiality indicates the source of information of the speakers/writers, what speakers/writers base their knowledge on and how certain speakers/writers are of that knowledge. 

From a journalistic point of view, studying evidentiality in a text makes us aware of the sources cited in the text. The study of reported speech and quoting is important to explain which voices are present in the news and how they are represented. Register also plays a role here, for example to examine how journalists deal with hate speech and rude speech.

Combining multiple disciplinary angles, it is relevant to look at the journalist's own voice and study how perception and other sources of knowledge are linguistically represented, and how certainty and reliability are expressed. Additionally, the language of fake news and the role AI and speech technology play in it are other possible topics for this conference.

Furthermore, as news sources are often international and interlingual, translation and interpreting processes in news production are of interest for this conference as well. How may translation, voiceover, dubbing or subtitling affect the news content, and do they increase or decrease the number of voices that are heard, are questions that could be addressed.

With this wide variety of possible approaches in mind, we invite participants to engage in a critical discussion of voices and sources in journalism, trying to answer questions like: whose voices sound the loudest in the public debate, which sources are quoted most often, does the traditional journalistic method of including multiple sources guarantee balanced reporting,  how can voices and sources be rendered linguistically and/or visually, how is the perception of the journalist expressed linguistically, what are linguistic tools to indicate certainty and (source) reliability, are there any linguistic tools for identifying fake news, and what are legitimate applications of AI for journalism?

We welcome submissions from all relevant disciplinary backgrounds approaching the central theme of ‘voices and sources in the news’ from a conceptual, empirical or methodological perspective; using quantitative and qualitative methods, or a mixed-methods design; and looking into journalism practices, products, or audiences. 

Possible topics include but are by no means limited to: 

  • Source diversity and source hierarchies in the era of digital journalism
  • Plurivocity and ‘multiperspectivism’ in contemporary news reporting/journalism
  • Factors and processes affecting voice/source silence versus salience in journalism
  • Voice/sources and ‘alternative’, ‘ambient’, or ‘interpretive’ journalism
  • Voice/source diversity, objectivity and fairness
  • Transparency in journalism
  • Voice/source diversity in journalism and knowledge production 
  • Journalistic voice and institutional roles from a global perspective 
  • Voice/source (in)visibility and social/environmental justice or identity politics
  • Voice/sources in journalism, listening and exposure diversity 
  • Hate speech and rude speech in journalism
  • Linguistic devices for expressing evidentiality in journalism
  • The translation of foreign-speaking voices in the news
  • The expression of voice in visual and artistic journalism
  • The language of fake news
  • Human-AI collaboration in journalism
  • (Diverse) voices in AI-generated content
  • AI and source authentication
  • Voices behind the algorithms
  • Innovative methodologies for the study of voice/sources in journalism

Junior researchers are warmly invited to participate.

Brussels Institute for Journalism Studies
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Martina Temmerman
E-mail di contatto