CCA annual conference 2024 presentations

Join us this June in Montreal for the Canadian Communication Association’s annual conference, where researchers from the Global Journalism Innovation Lab will present and discuss a diverse array of topics ranging from audiences, local journalism and more.

Browse the full conference program here.

All CCA sessions are taking place at 3200 Jean-Brillant, Montréal, on the Université de Montreal Campus.

Monday, June 17, 2024

OFFSITE: Engaging in/with communities How journalists do this now, how it’s evolving, and what scholars can learn/contribute [hybrid]

Location: J.W. McConnell Building, 1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. 4TH SPACE

Time: 4 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. EST

Organized by: Magda Konieczna and Gabrielle Brassard-Lecours, with help from Concordia’s Centre for Journalism Experimentation (JEX), le Centre d’études sur les médias à Université Laval, Heritage Canada/Patrimoine canadien, Ministère de la Culture et des communications du Québec and Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford.

Lightning talks | Exposés éclair

Nicole Blanchett, Toronto Metropolitan

University: Roundup of research on audience data | Résumé d’une recherche sur les données de l’auditoire


Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Local journalism research news: Come hear all about it [hybrid]

Room: Jean-Brillant B-4335

Session Chair: April Lindgren

Time: 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. EST

Presentation: A.i. Storytelling: Is There Such A Thing As Non-Controversial Data?

Angela Misri, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada

From police crime data to the water quality tests on beaches to the results of last night’s game to the air quality in fire zones, local newsrooms are using AI to produce and publish stories straight from source data without the involvement of human editors or reporters.

In our recent survey of journalists about A.I. use in Canadian newsrooms, participants described being less worried about using A.I. to generate stories when the sources were, in their words, “non-controversial” data sets. This paper dissects the notion of “non-controversial” data sets, explores what type of data is being fed into A.I.-generated stories, and discusses best practices in these situations. Concrete examples of where these best practices need to be applied include AI-generated stories based on data released by the police, city data that includes beach water quality tests, election results, air quality tests, and sports scores/data released by teams and local schools. The vulnerabilities of generating stories this way and the implications of pulling data and content from data sets without applying a journalistic lens will be discussed.

Local newsrooms distinguish themselves from their better-funded national and international peers by reflecting the voices of the community, answering the needs of the community and responding to the stresses of the community. This paper will demonstrate how content that is identified as ‘non-controversial’ is, in fact, controversial, and how basing stories on such data without a journalistic eye applied to them is closer to the practice of public relations. Editorial input, including providing context and critical questioning are necessary to best serve the public and call the story journalistic. Objectivity is one of the tenets of fact-finding, whether that be in the pursuit of science or journalism, and the group that creates and releases the data does not necessarily have that as a tenet. Businesses and governments make choices about what they release. As Dr. Safiya Noble says, technology is not unbiased, and therefore journalists bring critical thinking and doubt to data that A.I. is not currently capable of (Noble, 2020).

In many cases, the data described above is already publicly released by these bodies in the form of press releases that are sent to media companies in a scattershot approach, so what is the value of adding a news media byline if there is no journalistic effort applied to question and contextualize the data? If reports of retractions and corrections from A.I.-generated stories are any indication, the human editor is still necessary, and correcting mistakes after the fact causes damage to an already vulnerable relationship of trust with the audience. It’s a journalist’s job to dig deeper, to ask questions, and to push for answers that sometimes are not easy to access. In addition, just using of A.I. to tell these kind of stories gives too much credence to official sources. Not seeking/including other perspectives unduly shores up the powerful and ignores the less powerful/more vulnerable voices that are important in local coverage.

Presentation: *a Case Study of The Green Line’s Integration of Solutions Journalism and Explanatory Reporting

Sibo Chen, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada; Nicole Blanchett, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada

The landscape of local journalism is undergoing a significant transformation, with an increasing emphasis on solutions-oriented storytelling that engages and empowers communities. This study will examine the Green Line, an independent Toronto-based media outlet, which has embraced this shift by incorporating solutions journalism and explanatory reporting into its journalism practice.

By examining the Green Line’s unique Attention-Action Journey framework, we elucidate its innovative approach that synergizes solution-focused and explanatory narratives to effectively serve the city’s youth and marginalized populations. Furthermore, our analysis of the outlet’s strategic use of TikTok videos seeks to demonstrate how this medium bolsters audience engagement, particularly among younger Torontonians. Finally, our planned interviews with the Green Line’s staff will focus on their perspectives on the interplay between objective reporting and advocacy.

This study contributes to journalism scholarship in two respects: (1) it explicates the adaptive strategies of local journalism in the context of emerging journalistic paradigms, and (2) it explores the implications of TikTok’s burgeoning role in the digital news ecosystem. Overall, we will highlight the Green Line as a model for independent outlets striving to innovate while maintaining a strong commitment to their local communities.

Selected References

Bro, P. (2019). Constructive journalism: Proponents, precedents, and principles. Journalism (London, England), 20(4), 504–519.

Chen, S., & Roburn, S. (2023). When pandemic stories become personal stories: Community journalism and the coverage of health inequalities. Journalism Practice, ahead-of-print

Dan, V., & Rauter, D. (2023). Explanatory reporting in video format: Contrasting perceptions to those of conventional news. Journalism Practice, 17(5), 1046–1067.

Lough, K., & McIntyre, K. (2023). A systematic review of constructive and solutions journalism research. Journalism (London, England), 24(5), 1069–1088.

McIntyre, K. E., & Lough, K. (2021). Toward a clearer conceptualization and operationalization of solutions journalism. Journalism (London, England), 22(6), 1558–1573.

Thier, K., & Namkoong, K. (2023). Identifying major components of solutions-oriented journalism: a review to guide future research. Journalism Studies, 24(12), 1557–1574.

Usery, A. G. (2022). Solutions journalism: How its evolving definition, practice and perceived impact affects underrepresented communities. Journalism Practice, ahead-of-print.

Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Echoes of Places: Listening to Soundscapes

Room: Jean-Brillant B-4275

Time: 1:30- 3:00 p.m. EST

Session Chair: Henry Svec

Presentation: The Environment As Medium: The Case of “The Sound Heard Around The World”

John Shiga, TMU, Canada

In 1991, U.S. scientist Walter Munk conducted an experiment in acoustic tomography whereby average ocean temperature could be calculated by projecting high-intensity sound waves through the “deep sound channel” of the global ocean to gauge temperature increases over time for the purpose of advancing knowledge about climate change. The experiment became known as the Heard Island Feasibility Test (HIFT) and was described in popular media as “the sound heard around the world.” This paper analyzes the manner in which this experiment was documented and visualized. The paper explores the relationship between visualizations of the HIFT and military technoscience, settler colonialism and nuclear imperialism and argues that the HIFT constructed the ocean as “oceanus nullius.” Like its terrestrial counterpart, oceanus nullius framed what was in fact an inhabited space as empty and helped to justify acoustic violence therein. Positioning the HIFT in oceanus nullius makes it much easier to contemplate the use of acoustic tomography on a wide scale, unconstrained by growing concerns about the experiment’s environmental impact. The visualizations work to produce acoustic tomography and the heat content of the ocean as objects of knowledge that seem far removed from marine life and its acoustic milieu. In such a view of the ocean, one can easily imagine, as Munk did, a point in the near future where acoustic tomography would be ubiquitous and continuous. Disruptions of nonhuman sensing that might result from acoustic tomography are presented as peripheral matters in light of the tremendous value of acoustic tomography for advancing knowledge of ocean warming and climate change. Nonhuman senses are set aside and dealt with in an isolated manner by a team of scientists tasked with marine mammal monitoring. By “othering” nonhuman sensing in this way, the visualizations render questions around the politics of elemental sensing – such as whose senses matter in ocean space and whose knowledge practices should dominate ocean sound channels – as out of place.

New Directions in Journalism [hybrid]

Room: Jean-Brillant B-4285

Time: 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. EST

Session Chair: Nicole Blanchett

Presentation: Fluid Futures: The Changing Boundaries of Journalism

Nicole Blanchett, Toronto Metropolitan University, Canada; Colette Brin, Université Laval, Canada; Karen Owen, Mt. Royal University, Canada; Lisa Taylor, University of King’s College, Canada

Fewer newsrooms with less resources, lack of trust in journalism, news avoidance, game-changing tech, multiplatform delivery, influencer and activist journalists – how can you possibly prepare students for the mercurial environment of modern journalism – particularly when there are no agreed upon/consistent boundaries that define journalistic work? Building on the in-class experiences of the authors, who teach in post-secondary institutions across Canada, contextualized by an examination of disruptions in the Canadian media landscape and analysis of current journalism practice as seen in the Journalistic Role Performance project and Worlds of Journalism Study, this paper uses the lens of boundary work to examine how norms are delineated through “the interactions of various actors and their alignments, all competing to define what journalism is (Carlson and Lewis, 2018, p. 125).” These ongoing interactions and negotiations impact classroom environments when students weigh social media feeds of influencers and ordinary citizens as sharing the same or having more repute than legacy news organizations and ideate themselves as emerging journalists while consuming content their professors might not define as journalism or even news. Such interactions also impact newsrooms, some of which report having a difficult time filling more traditional journalism jobs, because fewer students coming out of journalism school want to perform them – or at least don’t want to perform them at legacy organizations. All this while outside the classroom, the federal government is attempting to regulate online search engines and social media as a way of directing more revenue to Canadian news organizations, in the face of a news block by Meta that is having a significant impact on the amplification of journalistic content. The landscape of journalism isn’t just shifting, it’s being completely reformed. But how do we move forward in this landscape, welcoming new actors and using new modes of delivery that boost engagement with journalistic content, while maintaining integral components of what makes journalism journalism, such as emphasis on verification of evidence and the development of stories that perform the critical watchdog role? This research will explore methods to identify common boundaries of journalism in order to ensure its future.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top