CALL FOR PAPERS: Media Literacy, Fake News & Democracy

A Special Issue of the Journal of Media Literacy Education

Guest Editors
Jeremy Stoddard, College of William & Mary
Daniel G. Krutka, University of North Texas
Lance E. Mason, Indiana University Kokomo

Proposals are invited for papers for a special issue of the Journal of Media Literacy Education on the theme of Media Literacy and Fake News. The Journal of Media Literacy Education provides a forum for established and emerging scholars, media professionals and educational practitioners in and out of schools. As an extended conceptualization of literacy, media literacy education helps individuals of all ages develop habits of inquiry and skills of expression needed to become critical thinkers, effective communicators and active and engaged citizens. Media literacy is vital in a world where mass media, popular culture and digital technologies play an increasing role for individual citizens and in society.

The rise of so-called "fake news" has been a global phenomenon, with increases in propaganda, disinformation, clickbait, journalistic error and polarizing political partisanship. Media literacy has long been posited as a necessary component for informed and engaged democratic citizenship. How have media literacy educators addressed the issue? Some critics have suggested that the increasingly normative critical stance of critiquing and distrusting sources -- generated by a rise in media literacy, perhaps -- has created a backfire effect. Today, mistrust of news and information sources is destabilizing societies as a complex mix of public anger, apathy and alienation enables demagogues to step in with emotionally-powerful and simplistic rhetoric that appeals to nationalistic pride.

We conceive of both media education and democratic education broadly and seek submissions that explore the topic of "fake news" in relation to both formal and informal educational environments. New approaches to media literacy education for democratic citizenship may need to include an appropriate level of focus on the complex role of emotion and feeling in an age of sophisticated, highly targeted 21st century propaganda. We also invite submissions from a variety of perspectives on, and conceptions of, role of social media and networked societies, youth voice, civic agency, platform economics, the use of data personalization in the context of civic discourse, and the examination of new forms of propaganda, disinformation, clickbait and conspiracy theories, pseudoscience and hoaxes. Other topics relevant to the theme of media literacy and fake news and their relationship to democracy are welcome.

Suggested word limit: 5,000 words for practice essays, conceptual essays and case studies, 7,000 words for research manuscripts, not including references and appendices.

Timeline: Please submit a 500-word abstract by email to Jeremy Stoddard () before December 31, 2017 to be considered for publication. Please include “Special Issue: JMLE” in the subject title. Abstracts should make clear the conceptual or theoretical perspective, data sources (if empirical), and contributions of the submission. All papers undergo blind peer review. Full papers will be due on March 30, 2018 and must be uploaded to the JMLE website: www.jmle.org.