SACOMM 2022 is here!

It is only a little over a day before SACOMM 2022 starts at Wits on Wednesday! The Wits LOC has availed the final programme (with all amendments submitted before publishing). The programme is available under ‘Annual Conference’ on this website. To all those that have registered, we look forward to seeing you there.

ICA 2022 Regional Hub Invitation

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Centre for Film and Media Studies together with the South African Communication Association (SACOMM) invite you to attend the regional hub event of the International Communication Association (ICA) on May 27th-28th.   

In keeping with the theme of the ICA conference this year, One World, One Network, the event will take place in-person on the upper campus of UCT and will comprise screenings and streamed content direct from Paris, as well as panel discussions and social events. 

If you are interested in attending, please sign up here or via the link below. There is no conference attendance fee, so spaces will be limited.    

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vmC7F7hn4900_MEFPx-h_8FjoUGKbssxuIGAZ77O280/edit

CALL FOR CHAPTER PROPOSALS: 100 YEARS OF RADIO IN SOUTH AFRICA

100 years of Radio in South Africa: Reflections from Academics and Practitioners
A book edited by Ms Sisanda Nkoala and A/Prof Gilbert Motsaathebe


Abstract Submission Deadline: November 30, 2021

Introduction
The Year 2023 will mark a hundred years since radio broadcasting started in South Africa. Despite technological innovation characterised by new media platforms, radio continues to be a powerful medium because of its reach, affordability and place in the lives of South Africans. There has been a resurgence in radio studies in recent years as scholars ponder over how the introduction of digital technologies have reconfigured this traditional medium. In a context like South Africa, where the majority still turn to radio for information and entertainment, scholars are contemplating on how the development of the medium over the past century is shaping the convergence between radio and digital media as well as the reconfiguration that has taken place due to changes in access and participation.
The book aims to bring together media scholars and practitioners to deliberate on the role and influence of radio broadcasting in South Africa over the past 100 years. The publication will add to the existing body of knowledge on radio in this context by being among one of the few to consider radio broadcasting in South Africa-. Essentially, the book will make a distinct contribution by providing the following: a historical account of the development of the sector, an in-depth look at some of the key people and institutions that have shaped the sector, and a critique of the medium’s role in community-building and culture making among others. While the book will provide relevant theoretical frameworks, it also aims to include the voices of media practitioners who can reflect on the importance of this medium from a more realistic perspective.

The target audience is anyone with an interest in radio broadcasting in South Africa, including the general public, media professionals and academics who want to introduce a reflective text to their research agenda and curricula.
Possible themes include, but are not limited to:

Theme 1: The role of radio broadcasters/presenters/DJs in shaping public discourse, language and culture in South Africa
This theme will explore at the role of radio broadcasters in shaping public discourse and language, and culture. Radio broadcasters in South Africa are often more than mere announcers who inform the audiences about what is coming up on the programme. They are cultural icons who shape public discourse. They also play an essential role in the development and upliftment of indigenous languages. They have been instrumental in helping South Africans make sense of developments in this context. At many pivotal moments in the country’s development, they have been the voice communities turn to for information, reassurance, and a perspective on the prevailing state of affairs. This theme will profile some of those individuals and discuss the role of the South African radio broadcaster and how it has developed over the years.
Theme 2: The role of South African radio stations: then and now
This theme will explore the role of South African radio stations over the years. Radio stations in South Africa are the bastions of popular culture and repositories of our nations cultural heritage. As the most widely consumed form of media for decades, they have been an unrivalled source of information and entertainment. Some stations have played a critical role in political developments, while others have been the driving force behind fundamental changes in popular culture. Chapters based on this theme will examine the role of radio stations and may adopt a historical orientation of the radio station landscape or choose to focus on particular stations.
Theme 3: Reflections on South African radio regulation and governance over the years
This theme will explore the political dynamics behind the regulation and governance of South African radio over the years. From the establishment of radio to initially only serve English and Afrikaans speaking audiences to the present day constitutional provisions aimed at encouraging freedom of the airwaves, the changes in radio regulation and governance have been influential in determining the degree to which citizens can exploit the democratisation capabilities of radio as a medium. Chapters under this theme will consider the shifts in South African radio regulation and governance and reflect on how these have shaped the radio landscape over the years.
Theme 4: Reflections on the relationship between radio and politics/business in South Africa over the years
Due to its broad reach as a medium, radio has long been used as a strategic platform by political and business entities. The political economy of the medium is often deemed to drive all the other priorities, and this aspect has at times been at odds with the socio-cultural affordance of radio. Chapters under this theme will examine the relationship between radio and politics/business in the South African context over the years.
Theme 5: The future of radio in South Africa – Learning from the past
This theme seeks to forecast the place and character of South African radio in the coming years. With social media introducing audio forms such as podcasts and Twitter spaces, how will these developments affect the place of radio? It is clear that the medium has shown its longevity in this context, but will the technological shifts dethrone it from its place as the most widely consumed medium in South Africa? Chapters under this theme will endeavour to answer these and other questions regarding the future of South African radio.
Theme 6: Managing Radio in a digital environment
The digital media environment has presented both challenges and opportunities to the media industry. This theme seeks to examine specific challenges and opportunities concerning radio and how managers have navigated the complexity
presented by a networked, converged media environment. Proposals that contemplate future directions of the medium and business models will be considered under this theme.
Theme 7: Radio and African languages
With this theme, we welcome proposals that engage specifically with the contribution of radio to the preservation of African languages, which have generally seen a considerable decline in other media forms. Any other topic involving radio and indigenous African languages spoken in South Africa will be most welcome.


Submission Procedure
Researchers, academics and practitioners are invited to submit abstracts or chapter proposals of 500 to 700 words on or before November 30, 2021. Authors will be notified by December 15, 2021, about the status of their proposals. Authors of accepted abstracts/proposals will be invited to present their full papers at a colloquium on April 30, 2022. After the colloquium, authors will be given a chance to revise their papers, and final submission should be a maximum of 8000 words, including the references. When submitting abstracts, authors must indicate which of the above themes their submission aligns with.
Please send your extended abstract by November 30, 2021, to Sisanda Nkoala (nkoalas@cput.ac.za) AND Gilbert Motsaathebe (gilmot2000@yahoo.co.uk)

Important Dates

November 30, 2021: Abstract Submission Deadline

December 15, 2021 Notification of Acceptance
April 30, 2022: Colloquium

May 31, 2022: Full Chapter Submission

August 31, 2022 Review Results Returned

September 15, 2022: Final Acceptance Notification

October 15, 2022: Final Chapter Submission

CFP: ‘Journalism Studies’ Special Issue Call for Papers:

Rethinking the Sociology of News: Global, Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives 

Special Issue Editors: 

Hayes Mabweazara, University of Glasgow – Hayes.Mabweazara@glasgow.ac.uk 

Catherine Happer, University of Glasgow – Catherine.Happer@glasgow.ac.uk 

Manuscript deadline – 1 May 2022 

Journalism studies is defined by and benefits from its interdisciplinary nature and broad scope of interests and priorities. However, one consequence of this is that the way in which distinct disciplines might differentially shape and bring value to our understanding of the field can be overlooked.  A key strand of the current foundational critique of journalism was established and deeply rooted in the discipline of Sociology, which gave rise to specific concerns and approaches to understanding the ways in which news organisations manage the processes through which information is gathered and transformed into news and the pressures that encourage journalists to follow familiar patterns of news making.  In the British context, the late 20th century was a particularly prolific period for the sociology of news in which the empiricism of institutional research centres such as the Glasgow University Media Group (GUMG) played a leading role in setting the agenda for journalism and media studies. The conceptual basis for such work was the understanding of journalism as embedded within systems of power (economic, political, social, cultural) and as institutionalised through everyday practices, shared beliefs, and norms.  Methodological approaches which involved the analysis of production processes, patterns in content, audience reception and the formation of public opinion addressed the totality of communication systems with journalism and journalists as key agents in driving a range of societal outcomes. 

The body of work produced by the GUMG in particular was influenced by the political economy of the media as represented, for example, by Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model, ideas of media as cultural hegemony and the role of ‘primary definers’ in the work of Stuart Hall.  Shared foci around journalistic selection, inclusion, and omission paralleled work in the US, including McCombs and Shaw’s research on ‘agenda setting,’ Robert Entman’s ‘media framing’ and David Manning White’s seminal ‘gatekeeper theory,’ among others.  The importance of structures of ownership and control and the extent to which the broader ideological climate shapes the thinking of journalists also came to the fore. News production was also seen as a highly regulated and routine process shaped by organisational pressures, with very little acknowledgment of journalistic agency. For some time, this pioneering body of work collectively ushered in revolutionary approaches to understanding news as a historically contingent ‘manufactured’ product. 

However, the complexities of contemporary societies and their media systems have increasingly rendered these early sociological approaches anachronistic, and in some cases, inadequate as explanatory frameworks for understanding the operations of journalism in the 21st century. The systems of power or ideological climate of news production have changed significantly and the field of analysis has expanded beyond a focus on the production of information flows and their impacts within Western economies. New political and social formations, including the complexities of increased globalisation and the emergence of multicultural citizenship have become central concerns in changing social and political contexts in which new global news players are emerging. At the heart of these changes are developments in digital technologies which have radically transformed the working practices of journalists and news consumption habits. The time is long overdue for revisiting early sociological studies and their deep-rooted Western-centrism which continue to define journalism studies’ key areas of inquiry and the field’s theoretical and methodological direction globally. 

This special issue addresses the question of the continuing value of the priorities of the sociology of news and the importance of a sociological critique of journalism more generally, the dynamism and adaptability of its modes of analysis to different contexts, and the validity of the conceptualisations of power and resistance built into them. Themes and areas of particular interest may include: 

·        Emerging methodological approaches to studying news and news organisations 

·        Doing content analysis beyond mass media 

·        Conceptualising ‘media power’ in the age of big tech 

·        Constructing ‘public opinion’ through social media content production 

·        Agenda setting on social media platforms 

·        News values in non-Western contexts 

·        The impact of technological innovation on traditional sociological understandings of news production 

·        Studies that challenge and throw into question Anglo-American conceptions of news 

·        Changing connections between journalists and news sources 

·        Shifts in the culture and patterns of news consumption/reception 

·        The shifting nature of social class identifications and media audiences 

·        Contestable notions of bias and objectivity in the news media 

UMass PhD Program Info Session

16.11.2021

The Department of Communication at UMass Amherst invites interested PhD applicants to a virtual visit and meet-and-greet with faculty and current graduate students.
The one-hour Zoom session aims to introduce you to faculty and their current research projects, connect you with graduate students, and answer questions that can help demystify the application process.
For 49 years, the Department of Communication has produced innovative, influential, and interdisciplinary scholarship about communication and its centrality to social, cultural, and political processes. Our diverse areas of focus include digital technology studies, film and media studies, media and cultural production, media effects, rhetoric and performance studies, social interaction and culture, and the political economy of communication. From across these areas, our faculty and PhD student community share a commitment to address issues of social inequality and work toward equity and social justice through our empirical research, multimodal scholarship, community outreach, and teaching and mentoring.
PhD students admitted to our program receive five years of funding. They are welcomed to the department’s vibrant research culture and the hospitable environment of the Five Colleges in the Pioneer Valley, including UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Mt Holyoke College and Hampshire College. They benefit from diverse resources, including the option to pursue certificate programs in Film Studies, Feminist Studies, Ethnographic Research, Data Analytics and Computational Social Science, and Caribbean, Latin American, and Latino Studies. Recent PhD grads have taken tenure-track job posts at Emerson College, the University of Colorado, the University of Houston, Vanderbilt University, and Simon Fraser University.
Come and ask all your questions to our faculty and grad students. For other inquiries, contact PhD program Admissions Chair Dr Jonathan Corpus Ong at jcong@umass.edu 

The registration link is: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUudu2gqjouG9LHNAbb_CE33HUd9dWiRx_9