International Conference on Online Journalism:

“Towards Neo-Journalism? Redefining, Extending or Reconfiguring a Profession”


Brussels, 3 & 4 October 2012

Registration deadline: 1st October 2012


The University of Louvain (UCL) and the University of Namur (FUNDP) welcome the submission of papers for the International Conference “Towards Neo-Journalism? Redefining, Extending or Reconfiguring a Profession” to be held in Brussels on 3 and 4 October 2012. The aim of the conference is to allow researchers working on online journalism from a variety of disciplines to meet and share research experiences and findings. The conference will be complemented by workshops  in the afternoon of 4 October bringing together information scholars and professionals.

Keynote Speakers:

Mark Deuze (University of Indiana, USA)

Judith Donath (Harvard, USA)

Alfred Hermida (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Sylvain Parasie (Paris Est, France)

Conference Theme:

Can we call 21st century journalism neo-journalism? As used in artistic movements, the prefix “neo” has several meanings. First and foremost, it means returning to certain ancient forms and values. When applied to journalism, it would refer to the revival of earlier ways of conceiving and of doing journalism, that is, reinventing an existing topic.

Second, the term neo-journalism implies some criticism of the present, combined with nostalgia for an idealized past. Neo-journalism may thus arise from journalists’ criticisms concerning early experiences of the appropriation of the Internet by news organizations. Their “appropriation techniques” aiming at producing low cost online journalism lead to a standardization of contents on the web and give rise to journalists’ criticism of normative and legal vacuums.

Third, the prefix “neo” means that some characteristics of early movements are retained and reinterpreted in new settings. The focus here is on new tools that may have an impact on how journalism is conceived and carried out online (social networking sites, blogging, micro-blogging, audience measurement software).

Finally, the concept of “neo-journalism” may include a participatory ideal of empowerment: “Like the neo-television which Casetti and Odin have qualified as a space of conviviality, proximity and above all interactivity, the term neo-journalism gathers its strength from its relevance to describe a kind of horizontal communication where traditional walls separating genres and roles played by protagonists disappear (the journalist is no longer the master of the sources)” (Murhula et al. 2008, p. 86). Today, participatory technologies (blogs, micro-blogging, social networks) allow a series of actors scattered throughout places and institutions that do not correspond with the traditional journalistic field to have access to public discourse. We can then ask what distinguishes journalists from citizens, an issue that has serious implications, particularly from a legal point of view.

Hence, if there were a new paradigm, it would be radical only if it took into account ideal - or even utopian - journalistic values, reintegrating into a new framework those values criticized at the present time. The paradigm would have to be conceived as an open space where the recipient takes part in a shared, networked, and interactive verbalization process.