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The Electronic Journal of Communication /
La Revue Electronique de Communication

Special Issue of the Electronic Journal of Communication (EJC)

Designing for Interactive Journalism: Web 2.0 and Beyond

The next round of Internet innovation is in full gear and accelerating quickly. What are the implications for journalism and news design?

Consider how newspapers have undergone significant design changes in response to technological innovations over time. The telegraph, radio and television each prompted significant transformations in the way journalists and editors conceptualized their product and appealed to audiences.

Once again journalism and news design are evolving in response to the emerging technologies and the interactive journalism made possible by the Internet. Most recently a collection of Web 2.0 innovations such as blogs and wikis are creating new realms of rich and varied user-generated content where individual citizens of all ages report, design, document, produce and access news from anywhere at any time.

For this special issue of the EJC/REC we seek papers that reflect on the changing role of news design in the Internet age, as well papers that address the role of interactive journalism as an extension of a traditional print paper. Below are some questions that come to mind when considering the future of news design in an age of interactive journalism:

Economic and practical aspects

How are audience expectations of newspapers changing? What do they want? What do they expect? How are traditional newspapers adapting their form, content and features in response to online media?
Newspapers have historically been designed for a specific geographic space that reflects the boundaries of local markets; how does news design change when distribution no longer is paired with geography? How are the economics of newspapers changing in response to changes in newspaper design, in print and online?

Ethical and legal considerations

What legal challenges arise in an environment where users are constantly mashing, mixing and appropriating content? What copyright law should newspapers be adapting to?
What ethical considerations arise in the design of the new newspaper?

Technological and aesthetic questions

How are the aesthetics of newspapers changing as computers become a dominant form of communication? What will be the impact of technological developments such as "digital paper?"
How should design accommodate diversity? How is race, gender or other demographic factors to be designed for?
What are the trends in the newsroom as they affect design? How are cutting edge editors adapting to the new challenges? How are newspapers coping with multimedia integration?

Social implications

What kinds of organizations could take over the function of newspapers in the future? What would we lose when traditional newspapers disappear or become completely marginalized?
What are the limits to customization and personalization? What if everyone gets a "Daily Me" rather than a "Daily We"?

Of course, the above are suggestions and not an exclusive list. Feel free to contact the editors to discuss your idea or proposal concerning news design, journalism, and the emerging web 2.0 technologies of the Internet.

We invite papers using a variety of methodological approaches, both qualitative and quantitative, theoretical and empirical. We are especially seeking research that informs and illuminates critical aspects of news design for civil society.

This special issue is scheduled for publication in fall 2007. Deadline for completed manuscripts is Nov. 1, 2006. Submissions must be in electronic form (MS Word format) and comply with EJC/REC citation and reference formats. Please contact the editors concerning how to handle any figures, graphs or illustrations that accompany your manuscript.

Submissions and inquiries should be directed to:

Donica Mensing, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Reynolds School of Journalism
University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557

Edward M. Lenert, Ph.D.
Reynolds School of Journalism
University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557