Literary Journalism: Theory, Practice, Pedagogy
Media and journalism fulfill important functions for the self-monitoring of modern societies. However, the realization of these functions is increasingly inhibited by various context factors: Current debates about “fake news” and the “lying press” (Lügenpresse) point to a growing lack of trust in professional media products. The ongoing economization of practical news work leads to an erosion of journalism’s financial basis. Moreover, technological change propels new challenges and questions: How reliable is journalistic information in the digital age?
In this context, many media researchers – as well as practitioners – call for a fundamental re-definition of journalism’s identity and professional purpose. Instead of following the general obsession with speed, they argue that deceleration is the key to help journalism (re)gain public trust – and to fulfill its social function in the best possible way. Particularly high hopes are nourished by the approach of a literary journalism, which is often said to have multifaceted positive effects, e.g. for generating attention for certain topics and communicating them in a most comprehensible manner. Success proves them right: Apparently, narrative forms of journalistic reporting have recently been experiencing a proper upsurge in many newsrooms. In fact, quite a few editors are trading storytelling techniques as a sheet anchor that could not only help them to sell their products, but also highlight the social significance of journalistic writing in general – and thus brave the never-ending storm of the ongoing media crisis, which has irritated the profession to the core.
The scientific conference “Literary Journalism: Theory, Practice, Pedagogy“ will cast a closer look at the assumed advantages of a narrative journalistic approach in the digital media world. Which (theoretical) options does literary journalism entail for responsible media communication? In how far are these options realized in the newsrooms around the globe? How can the potentials of journalistic storytelling be adequately communicated in vocational training programs? And in how far can they contribute to a sustainable support of the social functions of journalism?
Organized by the Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies (CMC), the conference is expected to answer these questions from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. Thanks to a cooperation with the renowned International Association for Literary Journalism Studies (IALJS), which connects members from different academic backgrounds such as media and communication studies, sociology, economics, linguistics, philology and history as well as journalistic practitioners, more than 70 speakers from 20 different countries could be invited to Vienna. The conference will take place in the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art (MAK Vienna) from 17-19 May 2018.
The complete conference program is available here.