Digital Journalism We invite you to submit to a Special Issue

Digital Journalism in Latin America

Digital Journalism

Research on digital journalism has by now a solid tradition that spans more than two decades (Barnhurst, 2012; Boczkowski, 2002; Reich, 2018; Steensen, 2011). For the most part, this scholarship has focused on industrialized nations in North America and Europe (Mitchelstein and Boczkowski, 2009) and has paid comparatively less attention to other regions such as Latin America (for some notable exceptions, see Bachmann & Harlow, 2011; Boczkowski, 2010; González de Bustamente & Relly, 2014; Harlow & Salaverría, 2016; and Vimiero, 2017). This relative scarcity contrasts with the prominent role of digital journalism in the news diets of Latin Americans: around 9 out of 10 in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico access news online.  (Newman, et al, 2017). The growth in online audiences has been paralleled by the expansion of digital news operations, either as the internet operations of print media (Bachman & Harlow, 2011) or as new online enterprises (Harlow & Salaverria, 2016; Requejo Alemán & Lugo Ocando, 2014).

As both digital news production and consumption have featured increasingly more prominently in the information landscape of Latin America, it is worth inquiring into whether the specificity of Latin America and its culture and institutions might entail differences with digital journalism as it is practiced and appropriated in other parts of the world. For instance, Latin American journalism has been described as less professionalized and less independent than in more stable democracies (de Albuquerque, 2005; Hallin and Papathanassopoulus, 2002; Hughes, 2006). How have these two long-standing features affected the practices of online news production and the self-perception of reporters? Has the development of online journalism allowed for the emergence digital start-ups and fact-checking organizations that compete with traditional news organizations with long-standing links with politicians and corporations? Have online news operations conducted mostly partisan journalism, due to their dependence on government advertising? Moreover, Latin American audiences tend to show high levels of skepticism towards news (Newman, et al, 2017). Has this lower level of credibility been tied to differences in willingness to pay for digital news, information acquisition online, and uptake of alternative media sources, among other activities?  

This special issue of Digital Journalism invites scholars to examine the production, distribution, and consumption of digital journalism in Latin America. Both empirical and theoretical manuscripts; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches; single-country and comparative research (with a major focus on Latin America); and historical and contemporary inquiries are welcome. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical development of digital journalism.
  • Innovation and technological change in newsrooms.
  • Business models of digital journalism.
  • Modifications in work practices.
  • Relationships with governmental, business, and nonprofit actors in the production and distribution of news.
  • Differences and similarities in the emergence and development of digital journalism across and within Latin American countries.
  • Occupational matters, including appearance of new roles such as engagement coordinator.
  • The role of users in the creation of journalistic content.
  • The influence of content intermediaries such as social media platforms, and the engagement with and of users on those platforms.
  • The dynamics of digital news consumption on websites and apps.
  • The role of gender, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status in the uptake, reception, and re-circulation of digital news.
  • The relationship between digital journalism and civil society, including indigenous populations, social movements, and human rights organizations.
  • Issues of news credibility, including interpretations and practices related to fake news and misinformation, including partisan news organization and fact-checking operations.

Information about Submissions

Proposals should include the following: an abstract of 500-750 words (not including references; background information on the author(s), including an abbreviated bio that describes research that relates to the issue theme. Please submit your proposal as one file (PDF) with your names stated in the file name and the first page. Send your proposal to both pjb9@northwestern.edu and emitchelstein@udesa.edu.ar by November 2nd 2018. On November 15th authors will be notified whether their abstract has been selected, and they will be encouraged to submit an article for peer review. Full articles will be due May 15th 2019 for full blind review, in accordance with the journal's peer-review procedure. Special issue submissions should be between 6,500 and 7,000 words in length. Guidelines for manuscripts can be found here.

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Pablo Boczkowski
  • Guest Editor: Eugenia Mitchelstein