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AoIR 2006

Citizen Journalism beyond the Tactical Moment, Blogging with an Australian Accent, and Other Upcoming Publications

I'm very happy that a few of the articles and chapters I've worked on throughout the year are now coming close to publication. One of them is a chapter in Digital Media and Democracy: Tactics in Hard Times, a book edited by Megan Boler for MIT Press; my contribution is based on one of my papers for the AoIR conference last year and explores the possibilities for citizen journalism beyond the tactical moment, as it transcends the industrial journalism/citizen journalism two-tier structure first described (though not exactly in those terms) by Herbert Gans so many years ago. Will citizen journalism remain tactical, and thus perhaps excuse itself from attempting to exert a more permanent, strategic influence on public life? Will it 'sell out' and go mainstream? Or is there a third, hybrid option which retains its strengths as a bottom-up movement while developing more permanent, sustainable forms?

My suggestion in the chapter (which I've called "Gatewatching, Gatecrashing: Futures for Tactical News Media") is that we may see a development of citizen journalism that's not unlike the trajectory charted by the evolution of extra-parliamentary opposition groups in 1970s Europe into credible political alternatives (and here especially the Greens parties). As a German, the obvious case in point for me is the career of Joschka Fischer from street protester to German Foreign Minister, ultimately commanding grudging respect even from old political enemies - and in citizen journalism, I think we're beginning to see the potential for similar transformations. In the chapter, I do go so far as to call OhmyNews' founder Oh Yeon-ho "the South Korean Joschka Fischer of journalism", though with tongue in cheek - guess you'll have to wait for the book to come out to see whether you agree with me on that one. It's now listed for pre-order on Amazon.

Uses of Blogs launched
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Uses of Blogs launch. Make your own badge here.

I'm finally getting around to clearing up a backlog of things. Amongst them are some of the photos from the launch of Uses of Blogs at AoIR 2006, taken by Ali Kerr from our friends at ACID. We were lucky enough to have a good number of the contributors to the book at the conference, and Online Opinion's Graham Young was kind enough to launch the book. He did a great job - and the book sold out at the conference and has been selling very well on Amazon since... Not pictured here are Alex Halavais, Brian Fitzgerald, Damien O'Brien, and Adrian Miles, who were also at the conference.

Call for Papers: International Journal of Communications Law and Policy

I've been meaning to post this for a while - a call for papers for the International Journal of Communications Law and Policy that's related to the Association of Internet Researchers conference I organised in September. For those who weren't able to make it to AoIR 2006, there's still some time to submit additional articles...

The International Journal of Communications Law and Policy and the Association of Internet Researchers is pleased to announce a call for further papers for a special issue on Internet regulation linked to the IR7 Conference ('Internet Convergences'). The selection committee - composed of the editorial board of the IJCLP and Matthew Allen (Curtin University of Technology), Fay Sudweeks (Murdoch University) and Axel Bruns (Queensland University of Technology) - will review and consider all submissions for publication. We have already received several papers from the conference, which are in the process of being reviewed, and would now encourage experts from all disciplines and nationalities to submit further papers for publication by 1 December 2006. Acceptance will be notified by the end of the year for publication in 2007 following strict double-blind peer review.

Life beyond AoIR 2006

butterfly colour 72dpi.pngWell, the AoIR 2006 conference in Brisbane is over, and I'm slowly recovering... If I've been slow in updates to this blog in recent weeks, it's been simply because conference preparations had taken over my life - between running around to get things organised, dealing with last-minute registrations, changes, and other issues, and actually being there to make sure everything happened on the days as we'd planned it, there was very little time left for anything else (including luxuries like, say, sleep). Overall I'm very pleased with how it went, though, and we've had some great feedback on the conference - most importantly, I think we've proved that there is plenty of life outside of the North American and European conference circuits, and I hope that AoIR will continue its drive to engage with international communities of scholars. Asia, Latin America, South Africa - let's go!

As conference chair, of course I didn't get to see anything of the conference beyond my own panels, and the two keynotes. Slowly the reports from the conference are emerging, though, so I get to see a little more of it at last. My thanks especially to Kevin Lim, who not only blogged and photographed extensively at the conference, but also conducted a number of impromptu interviews at the closing reception - the video and some further discussion are over on Kevin's blog, but I've taken the liberty of also posting the video here...

Citizen Journalism Double Header at AoIR 2006

I should have expected little else, of course - all I got to see at AoIR 2006 were the two panels I participated in, and the two conference keynotes; my duties as conference chair (i.e. running about to make sure there were no major disasters) prevented me from anything else. The two panels, organised by Terry Flew and Ted M. Coopman, went very well, though. Together, they presented the two sides of citizen journalism: its grounding in the activist tactical media movements of the 1980s and 1990s (on Ted's panel "Byte Me! Digital Media as an Activist Critique and Parallel Mediasphere"), and its continuing longer-term establishment as a legitimate form of journalism in relation to the traditional news industry (on Terry's panel "Online News Media and Citizen Journalism").

Proposals In - Now to Find Time for Research...

We went on a nice but all-too-short post-V-day getaway to North Stradbroke Island last weekend, but I'm afraid any sense of relaxation went out the window quickly when I saw on Monday that numbers in my Creative Industries unit had risen to nearly 370 students by Monday morning. This meant quickly adding a couple more tutors and giving them an induction to the material, and elsewhere too I've been playing catchup all week already - not because I've been slack in the lead-up to the semester, but because there's just so much to do at the moment.

Extended CFP: Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Brisbane 27-30 Sep. 2006

We've just sent out a notice to extend the call for papers for the 2006 Association of Internet Researchers conference in Brisbane in September - paper proposals are now due on 21 February (there were a number of requests for extension from people who are only now getting back from their holidays). So, if anyone hasn't submitted a paper yet, now's the time to do so!

Also, some good progress on sponsors and keynote speakers over the last couple of weeks - hopefully I'll be able to say more about this soon... Other than that, this has been a week of meetings for me so far - yesterday I think I had only about one hour in my entire working day outside of meeting rooms. It would be nice to get some work done occasionally, rather than just to talk about what work needs to get done!

Progress on Multiple Fronts

It's been a positive few days on either side of the Australia/Invasion Day holiday. On Wednesday we gained a major sponsor for the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Brisbane in September, which should enable us to attract a further fairly high-profile keynote speaker; more on this as we go. Later that day we aso started work on the edgeX, or "Mapping the Missing Grassroots", ARC Linkage project between QUT and UQ Ipswich with Ipswich City Council - and I'm looking forward to seeing this one get going. More work on both today, with a few keynote speaker possibilities emerging...

CFP: Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Brisbane 27-30 Sep. 2006

I'm going to be conference chair of the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Brisbane in September 2006 - and we've just posted the call for papers. Please consider submitting a paper proposal!



International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers

Brisbane, Australia

28-30 September 2006
Pre-Conference Workshops: 27 September 2006

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