Program of the 2020 International Journal of Press/Politics Virtual Conference (21-24 September 2020)

I am delighted to share the program of the 2020 conference of The International Journal of Press/Politics. For the first time, the conference will be held virtually. The online videoconferencing system will be able to host up to 500 attendees at any time. The video feed of the proceedings will be recorded and made publicly available shortly after the conference.

Last updated 14 September 2020.

The conference will be held via a secure Zoom link shared only with participants and attendees.
All times are British Summer Time (BST), or UTC+1 (see Time Zone Converter).
For each paper, participants will have a total of 25 minutes, which includes both paper presentation and live discussion. Presentation of each paper will be immediately followed by discussion of the paper.
Each day will end with a networking meeting, participation in which is entirely voluntary.

Those who would like to attend the conference need to sign up here. Those who sign up will receive the conference Zoom link in the morning of 21 September. The link will be shared only with conference presenters and those who signed up to attend. It will not be published anywhere. Registration fees can be paid here. The fees are £25 for presenters and £5 for attendees. Payment of the registration fees is entirely voluntary for both presenters and attendees.


Monday 21 September, 1pm-6pm

1:00-1:05pm Opening remarks
Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University, Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Press-Politics)

1:05-1:30pm Honoring the winner of the IJPP 2020 Best Book Award
Chair: Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

Thomas Hanitzsch (Ludwig Maximilian University Munich), Folker Hanusch (University of Vienna), Jyotika Ramaprasad (University of Miami), and Arnold S. de Beer (Stellenbosch University), authors of Worlds of Journalism: Journalistic Cultures Around the Globe

1:30-2:45pm News coverage of public affairs
Chair: Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

Reporting the digital election campaign: Digital Platforms Companies and their Democratic Responsibilities
Kate Dommett (University of Sheffield)

Narratives of Terrorism: a study of terrorism reporting by CNN and Al-Arabiya in their English and Arabic websites
Waad Arif (University of Leeds)

Uneven Parts, An Even Whole? Political Parties’ Access to Radio and Television in Contemporary Poland (2015-2019)
Radosław Sojak, Andrzej Meler, and Beata Królicka (Nicolaus Copernicus University)

2:45-4:00pm Structure and dynamics of contemporary news ecosystems
Chair: Sandra Gonzalez-Bailon (University of Pennsylvania, Associate Editor of IJPP)

The anatomy of European political information environments
Laia Castro (University of Zurich), Toril Aalberg (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Ana Sofia Cardenal (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), Nicoleta Corbu (National University of Political Studies and Public Administration), Claes de Vreese (University of Amsterdam), Frank Esser (University of Zurich), David Nicolas Hopmann (University of Southern Denmark), Karolina Koc-Michalska (Audencia Business School), Jörg Matthes (University of Vienna), Christian Schemer (Johannes Gutenberg University), Tamir Sheafer (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Sergio Splendore (Università degli Studi di Milano), James Stanyer (Loughborough University), Agnieszka Stępińska (Adam Mickiewicz University), Jesper Strömbäck (University of Gothenburg), Václav Štětka (Loughborough University), Yannis Theocharis (University of Bremen), Peter Van Aelst (University of Antwerp)

The logic of media-government conflict: Finding equilibrium in news, press freedom and public trust
Francisco Brandão (University of Brasilia and Chamber of Deputies of Brazil)

Imitating the news: Political communication, parasitic news formats and the decline of journalistic authority
Mattias Ekman, Andreas Widholm (Stockholm University)

4:00-5:15pm Digital media and political engagement
Chair: Yannis Theocharis (University of Bremen, book reviews editor of IJPP)

Social media use and collective action: Detailing the mediating role of injustice in the social identity model of collective action in China’s coronavirus pandemic mitigation
Xin Zhao (Bournemouth University), Mengfei Guan (University of Arkansas), Xinya Liang (University of Arkansas)

“Yes I can” in the digital era? A meta-analysis of political efficacy, online participation and offline participation
Jennifer Oser (Ben-Gurion University), Shelley Boulianne (MacEwan University), Amit Levinson (Ben-Gurion University)

Platform matters: political expression on social media
Eugenia Mitchelstein (Universidad de San Andrés), Pablo J. Boczkowski (Northwestern University), Camila Giuliano (Universidad de San Andrés)

5:15-6:00pm Networking Meeting


Tuesday 22 September, 9am-2pm

9:00-10:15am Media, voice, and inequality
Chair: Kari Steen-Johnsen (Institute for Social Research, Oslo)

Women’s perceptions of female politicians in the UAE: An intersectional approach
Leysan Khakimova Storie (Lund University), Sarah Marschlich (University of Fribourg)

Is mediactivism a kind of poor journalism?
Ana Cristina Suzina (Loughborough University London)

Humbug and outrage: The perils of invoking the memory of Jo Cox MP and what it reveals about the emotional political atmosphere of the UK Parliament
Katy Parry, Beth Johnson (University of Leeds)

10:15–11:30am Political disinformation: Dynamics and remedies
Chair: David Smith (University of Leicester, Managing Editor of IJPP)

‘Online strategic lying’ and ‘permission to lie’: The case of Brexit and the 2019 UK election
Ivor Gaber (University of Sussex), Caroline Fisher (University of Canberra)

Losing Friends Over Politics: Understanding Social Sanctions on Facebook and WhatsApp in the US and in Brazil
Patricia Rossini (University of Liverpool), Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University), Erica Anita Baptista (Federal University of Minas Gerais), Vanessa Veiga de Oliveira (Federal University of Minas Gerais)

Resilience to Disinformation: A Comparative Analysis of Engagement with Disinformation on Social Media
Anna Staender (University of Zurich), Edda Humprecht (University of Zurich), Sophie Morosoli (University of Antwerp), Frank Esser (University of Zurich), Peter Van Aelst (University of Antwerp)

11:30-1:10pm Politics in unusual places: Fragmentation and reconfiguration of politics in contemporary media
Chair: Sabina Mihelj (Loughborough University)

A Silent Arm: A Study of the Path and Forms of Online Political Participation of Chinese Fan Groups
Yu Ruikai, Jiang Longqing, Shi Qi, Guo Jinqi, Cao Ruiling (Communication University of China)

Endangering the Common Core? Personalized Information and the Fragmentation of the Public Agenda
Melanie Magin (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Stefan Geiß (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Birgit Stark (Johannes Gutenberg University), Pascal Jürgens (Johannes Gutenberg University)

Avenues to News and Diverse News Exposure Online: Comparing Direct Navigation, Social Media, News Aggregators, Search Queries, and Article Hyperlinks
Magdalena Wojcieszak (University of California at Davis), Ericka Menchen-Trevino (American University), Brian Weeks (University of Michigan)

Political fragmentation in the online domain: Evidence from a structural topic modelling approach in France, Germany, and the UK
Raphael Heiberger (University of Bremen), Silvia Majó-Vázquez (University of Oxford), Laia Castro (University of Zurich), Rasmus K. Nielsen (University of Oxford), Frank Esser (University of Zurich)

1:10-2pm Networking Meeting


Wednesday 23 September, 9am-2pm

9:00-10:40am Media and the many facets of the State
Chair: Chris Anderson (University of Leeds, Associate Editor of IJPP)

Censorship Circumvention Tool Use in Iran: An Individual-Level Analysis
Aysenur Dal (Bilkent University, Turkey), Erik Nisbet (Northwestern University)

From Jacob Zuma to Cyril Ramaphosa: Changing media/state relationship in South Africa, 2019 – 2020
Khanyile Mlotshwa (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

Media pluralism and democratic consolidation: a recipe for success?
Fatima el Issawi (University of Essex/London School of Economics)

Alternative news in the Russian public diplomacy strategy
Aleksandra Raspopina (City University of London)

10:40-11:55am The spread and correction of political disinformation
Chair: Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University)

Do issue attitudes drive the spread of disinformation? An experimental study on the interaction with disinformation on social media
Sophie Morosoli (University of Antwerp), Peter Van Aeslt (University of Antwerp), Edda Humprecht (University of Zurich), Anna Staender (University of Zurich), Frank Esser (University of Zurich)

Countering disinformation by fact-checking journalism: An analysis of news output and editorial judgements during the 2019 UK general election campaign
Nikki Soo, Marina Morani, Maria Kyriakidou, Stephen Cushion (Cardiff University)

Exposure to low-quality news on WhatsApp: A study of six countries
Simge Andı, Richard Fletcher (University of Oxford)

11:55am-1:35pm Determinants and effects of media exposure
Chair: Shelley Boulianne (MacEwan University)

Populist and pessimistic? The role of populist attitudes in election projections
Naama Weiss-Yaniv (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Tali Aharoni (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Sina Blassnig (University of Zürich), Christian Baden (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

News Literacy and the Use of Social Media for News in 5 Countries
Anne Schulz, Richard Fletcher, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen (University of Oxford)

Embedding, quoting, or paraphrasing? Investigating the effects of political leaders’ tweets in online news articles: The case of Donald Trump
Delia Dumitrescu (University of East Anglia), Andrew R.N. Ross (Loughborough University)

The Effects of Gender Stereotypes on Attitudes and Emotions toward Refugees
Yossi David (Johannes Gutenberg University)

1:35-2:00pm Networking Meeting


Thursday 24 September, 1pm-6pm

1:00-2-30pm Roundtable: The challenges of publishing research from and about the Global South and what we can do about it
Chair: Janet Steele (George Washington University)

Participants: Tanja Bosch (University of Cape Town), Eugenia Mitchelstein (Universidad de San Andrés), Taberez Neyazi (National University of Singapore), Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University), Gayathry Venkiteswaran (University of Nottingham Malaysia), Silvio Waisbord (George Washington University)

Moderator: Ana Langer (University of Glasgow)

2:30-3:45pm Insult, Scandals, and Attacks: Exploring the dark side of political communication
Chair: Kate Dommett (University of Sheffield)

Politics of Insults: A Threat to Constitutional Democracy in Ghana
Mohammed Marzuq Abubakari (University of Applied Management)

Holding the Fallible to Account: A Comparison of Media Scandal Coverage in the US and UK
Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University), Paul D’Angelo (The College of New Jersey)

Self-Defense or Self-Censorship? How Journalists Respond to Populist Attacks on the Media
Ayala Panievsky (University of Cambridge)

3:45-5:00pm Media and the fabric of democracy
Chair: Sophie Lecheler (University of Vienna, Associate Editor of IJPP)

Democratization and Civic Communication: Examining the Communication Mediation Model Under Various Trajectories of Democratization
Porismita Borah (Washington State University), Matthew Barnidge (The University of Alabama), Hernando Rojas (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Understanding the ‘Logic of the Public’ in Contemporary Political Affairs Coverage
Sina Blassnig, Frank Esser (University of Zurich)

How social media use promotes political cynicism
Ariel Hasell, Brian Weeks (University of Michigan)

5:00pm Conclusions and farewell
Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University, Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Press-Politics)

5:15-6:00pm Networking Meeting


New Special Issue of IJPP: “Digital Threats to Democracy: Comparative Lessons and Possible Remedies”

Issue 3-2020 of The International Journal of Press/Politics is now out in print and it is a special issue on “Digital Threats to Democracy: Comparative Lessons and Possible Remedies”, which I guest-edited with Mike Miller from the Social Science Research Council.

This has been a long and enlightening journey, starting from a call for papers for a research workshop held at the SSRC in New York in June 2019, continuing with a second call for papers for journal manuscripts open to both workshop participants and other authors, and then through to various rounds of peer review and refinements to what was already a very strong pool of articles. The special issue includes eight research articles covering 23 countries in 4 different continents.

In our Introduction, Mike Miller and I chronicle the different ways in which scholars have thought and researched the role of the internet in democratic promotion, consolidation, and governance and reflect upon some of the challenges for future research in this area. We also introduce the contribution to the special issue as follows:

“The eight contributions collected in this Special Issue advance our understanding of some potential sources of digital threats to democracy, of how citizens are affected by and may contribute to these threats, and of some possible solutions to these problems. These studies combine a variety of disciplinary perspectives—political science, media and communication, and sociology—and employ a variety of methods—computational analysis, in-depth interviews, focus groups, surveys, analysis of secondary data, and policy analysis—often combining multiple approaches and comparing different countries. The articles cover twenty-three countries in four different continents, including established Western democracies (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States), a younger, and arguably backsliding, Eastern European democracy (Poland), an East Asian democracy (Taiwan), and two authoritarian regimes (Myanmar and Russia).”

The table of contents of the special issue is below. All articles will be accessible for free until the end of September 2020.

Digital Threats to Democracy: Comparative Lessons and Possible Remedies
Michael L. Miller and Cristian Vaccari

Cross-Platform State Propaganda: Russian Trolls on Twitter and YouTube during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Yevgeniy Golovchenko, Cody Buntain, Gregory Eady, Megan A. Brown, and Joshua A. Tucker

Relatively Democratic: How Perceived Internet Interference Shapes Attitudes about Democracy
Elizabeth Stoycheff

Poison If You Don’t Know How to Use It: Facebook, Democracy, and Human Rights in Myanmar
Jenifer Whitten-Woodring, Mona S. Kleinberg, Ardeth Thawnghmung, and Myat The Thitsar

Populist Attitudes and Selective Exposure to Online News: A Cross-Country Analysis Combining Web Tracking and Surveys
Sebastian Stier, Nora Kirkizh, Caterina Froio, and Ralph Schroeder

Public Beliefs about Falsehoods in News
Karolina Koc-Michalska, Bruce Bimber, Daniel Gomez, Matthew Jenkins, and Shelley Boulianne

How Politics Shape Views Toward Fact-Checking: Evidence from Six European Countries
Ben Lyons, Vittorio Mérola, Jason Reifler, and Florian Stoeckel

Resilience to Online Disinformation: A Framework for Cross-National Comparative Research
Edda Humprecht, Frank Esser, and Peter Van Aelst

Protecting Democracy from Disinformation: Normative Threats and Policy Responses
Chris Tenove

Book Reviews
Book Review: The Revolution That Wasn’t: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives
David Karpf

Book Review: Automating the News: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Media
Cornelius Puschmann

Book Review: Social Evolution, Political Psychology, and the Media in Democracy: The Invisible Hand in the U.S. Marketplace of Ideas
Sharon Coen

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of The International Journal of Press/Politics: “Youth, News, and Democratic Engagement” (workshop deadline: 1/9/2020 – manuscript deadline: 1/2/2021)

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of The International Journal of Press/Politics

”Youth, News, and Democratic Engagement”

Guest editors:
Kim Andersen, University of Southern Denmark and University of Gothenburg
Jakob Ohme, University of Amsterdam
Erik Albæk, University of Southern Denmark
Claes H. de Vreese, University of Amsterdam

Also available on the journal website.

Citizens’ political engagement is essential for the well-functioning of democracies. From boycotting products and signing petitions to discussing politics, attending demonstrations, and voting, citizens’ political engagement shapes our societies. In order for such engagement to take place, people need information that can mobilize them. For a long time, the news media was the key source in this regard. As a natural consequence exposure to news and political information in the media is a well-known forerunner for democratic engagement.

The relationship between news exposure and democratic engagement is constantly evolving, however. In today’s hybrid media system, people get information about politics and society from various sources and on many different platforms. In the contemporary media environment an endless list of information sources, including legacy news outlets, alternative news sites, politicians, and interest organizations, are therefore competing for people’s attention. Exposure to political information can take place on traditional platforms, like television or newspapers, or on new digital platforms, such as social media sites or other private online platforms. Not all information is equally reliable, and mis- and disinformation is part of the information ecosystem. At the same time, new forms of political participation are also emerging, especially online where people, for example, can discuss politics or contact politicians without much investment.

When examining the consequences of such changes it is relevant to focus on young people. Young people grow up with and get socialized into a political world full of new information and engagement possibilities. As such, young people are to an increasing extent turning their backs to traditional legacy news outlets and getting political information on social media sites. At the same time, they are engaging in new forms of political participation. Young people can thus be seen as first movers—both when it comes to news ways of getting political information and new ways of engaging in politics.

In parallel, broader societal tendencies make young people especially interesting to study in this regard. Across Western societies, as seen with examples like the election of President Trump, Brexit, and the battle against climate change, the combination of changing demography and differential levels of political participation across age groups mean that younger generations are experiencing that older generations are deciding their future. Often these decisions are characterized by increasing support for authoritarian populists and redistributive policies that massively disadvantage the youth.

The developments described above call for new research examining young people’s exposure to news and their democratic engagement. Despite the high relevance of this relationship in contemporary societies, we know relatively little of how changes in the media and political environments are affecting the relationship between news exposure and democratic engagement for young people. How do young people engage with news and politics, and is their democratic engagement able to generate the change they hope for and in which way?

Against this backdrop, this special issue invites original research that fits the theme “Youth, News, and Democratic Engagement”. The invitation is open for any methodological tradition, seeks international contributions from across the globe, and is especially welcoming comparative work drawing attention to how contextual differences influence the relationships under consideration.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Comparative differences and similaritires in young people’s news consumption patterns across the world
  • What kind of political information are young people engaging with and with what democratic consequences?
  • Young people’s news avoidance and news snacking
  • Young people’s exposure to news on social media sites and its consequences for political knowledge and participation
  • Political socialization in a new and hybrid media environment
  • How does young people’s (digital) media literacy enable them to engage with news in today’s media environment with varying quality of political information?
  • Young people’s political discussions in networked (online) settings
  • How young people’s democratic engagement is affecting and affected by the norms of political discussion (civility, trolling, etc) and the quality of news?
  • Whether and how generational conflict between younger and older citizens is articulated on digital media
  • Novel news products and their relation with young people’s democratic engagement

Submission Information

Manuscript submissions for this special issue are due on 1 February 2021.

Please submit your work through our online submission portal ( and ensure that the first line of the cover letter states: “Manuscript to be considered for the special issue on Youth, News, and Democratic Engagement”. Manuscripts should follow the IJPP submission guidelines ( Submissions will be subject to a double-blind peer review process and must not have been published, accepted for publication, or under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Please note that, to ensure consistency, submissions will only be considered for peer review after the 1 February 2021 deadline has passed. 

Authors interested in submitting their work are encouraged to contact Kim Andersen ( with questions.

Timeline and Workshop information

As part of the process towards this special issue, we will hold an online international workshop with the possibility to opt-in for physical attendance at the University of Southern Denmark, the current situation permitting. The workshop will be held 19-20 November 2020 and will be a venue for feedback and discussion prior to formal paper submissions. The workshop is fully funded. We will reserve funding to work with scholars whose first language is not English.

  • Abstract submission for workshop: 1 September 2020 – send an abstract of maximum 500 words by email to Kim Andersen (
  • Notification of workshop acceptance: 8 September 2020
  • Workshop (with draft papers): 19-20 November 2020
  • Submission of full papers to IJPP Special Issue: 1 February 2021 (also open to papers not presented at the workshop)
  • Revisions and resubmission: August 2021
  • Online publication: January 2022
  • Print publication: April 2022 (issue 2-2022)

APSA Information Technology and Politics Section Statement of Support and Action Plan on Racial Justice and Equality

The Executive Board of the Information Technology and Politics section of the American Political Science Association, which I am honored to chair this year, has released a statement of support and action plan on racial justice and equality in response to, and as a contribution to addressing, the ongoing debate on racial injustice in the United States and around the world.

This statement was a genuine team effort for which the whole executive board deserves credit. While we have a long way to go, as a section and a discipline, to ensure we begin to diminish the presence and effects of systemic racism, we also have a clear shared purpose that this statement enshrines and commits us to implement, and be held accountable for.

You can read the full statement here.

Videos of the ICA Virtual Preconference “Visual Politics: Image Production, Perception, and Influence” (20 May 2020)

ica_full_wordmarkI am pleased to share the video recordings of the whole ICA preconference “Visual Politics: Image Production, Perception, and Influence”, that I co-organized with Professor Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University) on the 20th of May.

Session 1.1

Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University) and Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

Lo-fi Politics: Images of the Leader, Tactical Movements and Counter-Participative Cultures (Sardine versus Salvini)
Nello Barile (IULM University, Milan)

French Contemporary Populism: The Building of a Specific Aesthetic and Mode of Representation? An Analysis of Campaign Posters
Morgane Belhadi (Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle University)

Trump’s transgressive debate style and the televised performance of populism
Dhavan Shah (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Keynote Address — Visual Politics: Potentials and Challenges for Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Roland Bleiker (University of Queensland)

Session 1.2

Visual Misinformation in Comparative Perspective
Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

‘I Spy with My Eye’: Influences of Camera Shots and Voters’ Party Affiliation on Candidate Evaluation in Televised Debates
Isabella Glogger (Technical University of Dortmund)

Factors Influencing the Journalistic Circulation of Traumatic Images: The Case of Alan Kurdi
Maria Kamal (University of Melbourne)

Session 2.1

@Everydayclimatechange and Three US Daily Newspapers: Comparing the Visual Representation of Climate Change
Alison Stieven-Taylor (Monash University, Melbourne)

The Strategic Visual Communication of Protests: Citizen Diplomacy? The Romanian Protests from 2017
Alina Dolea (Bournemouth University)

Kek’s Memes War on Instagram
Ahmed Al-Rawi (Simon Fraser University)

The Dictator’s ‘Screenplay’: Photographs of the Leader and Political Legitimation in East Asia’s Communist Regimes
Olli Hellman (University of Waikato)

Session 2.2

Visual framing of coronavirus coverage: The frame construction process
Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University)

Memetic Protest: The Visual Political Aesthetics of Death, Injustice and Resistance in Digital Activist Cultures
Kelly Lewis (Queensland University of Technology)

Comparing Two Unsupervised Approaches of Clustering Political Visuals
Yilang Peng (University of Georgia)

The Visual Strategy of National Identity Appeal in Election Campaign Videos: Taiwan’s 2020 Experience (via YouTube)
Chung Jung-Chun (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

Concluding Remarks
Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University) and Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

New Special Issue for the 20th anniversary of ComPol: “Political Communication in Changing Media Environments: Interdisciplinary Viewpoints”

Copertina-Compol-1-20-2For twenty years ComPol, shorthand for Comunicazione Politica (“Political Communication”), has been the key scholarly forum for Italian scholars interested in the relationship between media, politics, and citizenship. This is the journal where, as an undergraduate and PhD student, I read about all the advances that our discipline was making as it grappled with issues such as the rise of Silvio Berlusconi as a political-media tycoon, the increasing personalization and spectacularization of politics, and the emergence of the internet as a technology for political information and mobilization. It is also the journal where I started to “cut my teeth” in publishing peer-reviewed articles at the beginning of my career.

This is why I was hugely honored when Gianpietro Mazzoleni, the founder of ComPol and one of the many great mentors I was fortunate to have in my career (a true “passeur“, a term I borrow from Daniel Pennac), asked me to work with him as the guest editor of the special issue of the journal celebrating its twentieth anniversary. You can now read the full special issue, titled “Political Communication in Changing Media Environments: Interdisciplinary Viewpoints” on the website of the Italian Association of Political Communication. It includes contributions from nine Italian and international scholars, to whom I am very grateful for participating in this initiative, and an Introduction by Gianpietro and myself, where we reflect on the development of the discipline of political communication in Italy, present the contributions collected in the special issue, and highlight some challenges for political communication research in the future. Here is an excerpt that presents the articles:

To mark the fundamentally international and inter-disciplinary nature of the journal, we have invited contributions from nine of the leading national and international scholars in the areas of political science (Hanspeter Kriesi), media and communication (Silvio Waisbord), journalism studies (C. W. Anderson), computational social science (Fabio Giglietto), political psychology (Patrizia Catellani), linguistics (Stefano Ondelli), semiotics (Giovanna Cosenza), cultural studies and discourse analysis (Lidia De Michelis), and popular culture (John Street). We have asked this diverse group of scholars, some of whom are members of the scientific board of the journal, to answer a simple question: What does it mean, from their respective disciplinary viewpoint, to study political communication today?

And here is how we conclude our reflections:

The first twenty years of Comunicazione Politica have accompanied and helped the consolidation of the discipline in Italy, as well as facilitating a fruitful dialogue with the international scholarly community. In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, it is crucial that Italian scholars continue contributing to the global debates highlighted in this Introduction and in the contributions that follow. We trust that Comunicazione Politica will continue to play a useful role in this enterprise by offering a relevant, open, pluralistic, and innovative forum where scholars from different disciplines and approaches can come together as equals and share their contributions to knowledge around some of the most pressing questions of our time.

Sixth conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics POSTPONED to 21-22 September 2020

ijppIn light of the ongoing concerns for the global spread of COVID-19 and the increasing restrictions that are necessary to combat it, we have decided to postpone the sixth conference of The International Journal of Press/Politics to 21-22 September 2020.

Colleagues who have submitted a proposal in the previous call for papers do not need to submit their proposal again if they are interested in attending the conference on 21-22 September 2020. We will contact all these colleagues shortly before the 12 June deadline to ask them to confirm whether they still want their proposals to be considered for the new conference dates. If you already know, feel free to reach out now, but there is no immediate need to do this.

The call for papers for the conference will now be re-opened until 12 June 2020. Attendees will be notified of acceptance by 19 June 2020.

We hope that, in three months’ time, we will be able to assess the situation and decide that we can safely meet our colleagues again and renew the unique spirit of the community that gathers around The International Journal of Press/Politics and its conference. However, if by that time the situation in the UK and around the world has not shown enough signs of improvement that make us confident that we can run the conference without any risks for individual and public health, and that colleagues can safely travel to Loughborough without any concerns for their health, safety, and finances, we will cancel the 2020 edition of the conference altogether.

The call for papers for the sixth conference of IJPP closed on 13 March 2020 and we received a large number of promising submissions. However, it has become clear that the need to combat the spread of COVID-19 requires restrictions to travel and gatherings that would severely hamper our ability to organize the conference, and of colleagues to attend it, on the original dates of 29-30 June 2020. The UK government’s estimation that the COVID-19 epidemic should reach its peak in three months’ time, roughly coinciding with the conference dates, further suggested that the risks to colleagues’ health, as well as to public health, would be too severe, as would be the likelihood that the event be later canceled due to further government restrictions.

While we could have provisionally confirmed the original conference dates and waited to see how the situation develops, we are very concerned that any activities we conduct may have negative implications for public health, in the UK and elsewhere. We are also not comfortable asking colleagues to pay registration fees for an event that may not take place and book travel and accommodation that had a high likelihood of being canceled.

We take this opportunity to reassure colleagues that we are processing manuscripts as usual during this period. As our Editorial Team and reviewers are coping with the adjustments required by this unique situation, some manuscripts may experience some delays, which we will try to manage and reduce as much as possible. We trust that authors waiting for a decision will understand this. We are also committed to supporting authors who are revising their manuscripts and reviewers who have generously agreed to assess them. If you need more time to complete your work in a way that meets your aspirations and the standards of the journal, please get in touch with us. More importantly, we hope colleagues will not feel that any of their generous contributions to the journal take an excessive toll on them during these difficult times, but if that were the case, we wholeheartedly encourage you to prioritize your and your loved ones’ health and wellbeing.

Our conference is a relatively young event but the community our journal brings together is strong, inclusive, and supportive. We are committed to serving this community in the best way we can, and we hope we can count on your continuing support as we navigate these difficult times.

The Editorial Team of The International Journal of Press/Politics

Call for Nominations for The International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award 2020. Deadline: 1 March 2020


Nominations are invited for the annual International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award, to be sent to IJPP Editor-in-Chief Cristian Vaccari by email no later than March 1.


The International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award honors internationally-oriented books that advance our theoretical and empirical understanding of the linkages between news media and politics in a globalized world in a significant way. It is given annually by the International Journal of Press/Politics and sponsored by Sage Publications.

The award committee will judge each nominated book on several criteria, including the extent to which the book goes beyond analyzing a single case country to present a broader and internationally-oriented argument, the significance of the problems addressed, the strength of the evidence the book relies on, conceptual innovation, the clarity of writing, and the book’s ability to link journalism studies, political communication research, and other relevant intellectual fields.


Books published within the last ten years will be considered. Monographs as well as edited volumes of exceptional quality and coherence will be considered for the award. Books by current members of the award committee are ineligible and committee members will recuse themselves from discussion of books by members of their own department, works published in series that they edit, and similar circumstances.

Award committee

The award committee consists of Cristian Vaccari (the editor of the International Journal of Press/Politics), Kimberly Gross (chair of the Political Communication Division of ICA), and Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt (chair of the Journalism Studies Division of ICA).


Nominations including a rationale of no more than 350 words should be emailed by March 1 to Cristian Vaccari at Self-nominations are accepted.

The nomination must specify why the book should receive the award by outlining the importance of the book to the study of media and politics and by identifying its international contribution and relevance. Please include links to or copies of relevant reviews in scholarly journals.

Arrangements should be made with the publishers of nominated books for one hard copy to be sent by March 1 to each of the three committee members at the following addresses:

  • Cristian Vaccari, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Brockington Building U.3.19, Loughborough University, Epinal Way, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom.
  • Keren Tenenboim-Weinblatt, Department of Communication and Journalism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel
  • Kimberly Gross, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, 805 21st Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20052, USA


The award will be presented at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association and will be announced on the IJPP website. The awarded book will also receive recognition in issue 4/2020 of the journal.

Past winners of the award

2019: Maria Repnikova, Media Politics in China: Improvising Power Under Authoritarianism (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

2018: Erik Albæk, Arjen van Dalen, Nael Jebril, and Claes H. de Vreese, Political Journalism in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

2017: Katrin Voltmer, The Media in Transitional Democracies (Polity Press, 2013).

2016: Andrew Chadwick, The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford University Press, 1st edition 2013).

2015: Rodney Benson, Shaping Immigration News (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

ICA 2020 Preconference Call for Papers: “Visual Politics: Image Production, Perception, and Influence” (deadline 14 February 2020)


Date: 21 May 2020, 9am-4pm
Location: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, Australia
Sponsoring ICA Divisions: Visual Communication, Political Communication
Organizers: Prof. Erik Bucy (Texas Tech University), Prof. Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University)

Images are ubiquitous in contemporary politics. From television coverage of campaigns and elections to visual memes and images of leaders circulated on social media, visual portrayals shape perceptions of the political world. As efficient carriers of social and symbolic information, they are quickly assessed, rapidly judged, and readily remembered—even when manipulated or released as deepfakes. When used strategically, visual portrayals hold the capacity to frame issues, candidates, and causes in a particular light and affect the acceptance or rejection of social policies. Images and audiovisual content are also ubiquitous on social media and digital platforms, and they tend to spread more easily and quickly than text-only content. Despite growing potential for and evidence of influence, visuals remain understudied within media politics. This preconference brings together visual scholars from different research traditions and international perspectives to present state of the art studies of image production, perception, and influence in the contemporary political landscape.

Political visuals are potent in part because they do not require conventional literacy to apprehend and operate at both an individual and cultural level. From an information processing perspective, political images are highly efficient carriers of social and symbolic information that is quickly assessed, rapidly judged, and readily remembered. In news coverage, candidate portrayals and event depictions may crystallize sentiment among the viewing public and alternately inspire increased involvement or disenchantment with politics. Culturally, images can act as icons of social solidarity or political isolation, serving to mainstream or marginalize individuals, groups, and causes. On social media, images are one of the key ingredients of political memes that convey complex messages often laden with irony and emotions. The polysemic quality of images opens them to diverse interpretation, depending on the viewer’s orientation.

The aim of this preconference is twofold: to map and coalesce the growing, but as-yet disorganized, area of research on visuals and politics; and, to foster conversations across methodological and disciplinary divides. This represents a big task because the field is so diverse in terms of methods, emphasis, and approach. We therefore welcome the broadest range of submissions, both quantitative and qualitative, to highlight new possibilities for theory development, methodological innovation, and cross-national approaches to advance the study of visual political communication. We also welcome international and comparative contributions that can broaden our understanding of these topics outside of Western liberal democracies.


  • The influence of political images in digital campaigns, including comparisons between online messaging, social media strategies, and more traditional forms of political advertising
  • The role of visual messaging in disinformation efforts, whether used to confuse, mislead, incite resentment, or demotivate potential voter or citizen involvement
  • Computational analysis of large-scale visual datasets to detect patterns of coverage or behavior not evident in smaller, hand-coded projects
  • Integrated or comparative analysis of multimodal cues in political messages and their synergistic or differential impacts on viewer perceptions
  • Visual analysis of protest and collection action, including visual framing of activism or demonstrations as well as visual memes circulated on social media
  • Cross-national comparisons of visual news framing of politics or protest and its reception by audiences
  • Viewer reception of newer visual technologies such as 360-degree video cameras to depict campaign events, demonstrations, marches, or other forms of collective action
  • Visual depictions of populist and fringe political actors, including signature gestures and nonverbal displays, expressive range, or performative repertoires, and their role in conveying relevant policy and identity signals
  • Effects of nonverbal aggression, norm violations, and other transgressive candidate behavior on viewers of audiovisual political content
  • Visual measures of negative advertising, incivility, “in your face”-style of candidate interaction, or other normatively fraught political communication styles
  • Visual analysis of hate speech and white nationalism, including identifiable signs and symbols as identified by the Anti-Defamation League and other watchdogs
  • The role of viewer orientations (e.g., ideology, partisanship, political interest, age cohort, moral outlook, geographical situatedness, issue attitudes) in shaping political image interpretations and message efficacy
  • The role of visual content in explaining patterns of news sharing and engagement on social media
  • The use of visuals in emerging genres of political campaign communication, whether mini-documentaries, mash-up advertising, candidate-generated videos, memes, or political selfies.


Please submit your abstracts for 15-minute paper presentations through this Google Form ( no later than 14 February 2020. Abstracts are limited to a maximum of 4,000 characters including spaces (approximately 500 words).

Contributors to the preconference will be selected by a panel review process and will be notified of decisions by 21 February 2020. Authors of accepted abstracts are expected to write full papers based on their abstracts (submission deadline 11 May 2020) and attend the preconference and present in person. All participants, whether presenting or not, must register for the preconference and pay the associated fee. Registration costs for the preconference will be approximately $50 USD and will include coffee breaks and lunch. To register, participants should visit and register as part of their main ICA conference registration, or as a stand-alone registration. As space is limited, priority will be given to those accepted for presentation.


  • 14 February 2020: Deadline for abstract submission
  • 21 February 2020: Corresponding authors notified of decisions
  • 1 May 2020: Conference registration closes
  • 11 May 2020: Submission of completed papers
  • 21 May 2020: Visual Politics Preconference held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, Australia


Erik Bucy:
Cristian Vaccari:

Updated Call for papers for the sixth conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics (Loughborough University, 21-22 September 2020)


On 21-22 September 2020, the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University (United Kingdom) will host the sixth conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics, focused on academic research on the relation between media and political processes around the world. Professor Young Mie Kim from the University of Wisconsin will deliver a keynote lecture.

A selection of the best full papers presented at the conference will be published in the journal after peer review. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 12 June 2020. Attendees will be notified of acceptance by 19 June 2020. Registrations fees will be due 10 August 2020 and full papers based on accepted abstracts will be due 11 September 2020.

This call for papers replaces the previous one, which closed on 13 March 2020, as the conference has been postponed from the original dates of 29-30 June 2020. Colleagues who have submitted a proposal in the previous call for papers do not need to submit their proposal again if they are interested in attending the conference on 21-22 September 2020. We will contact all these colleagues shortly before the 12 June deadline to ask them to confirm whether they still want their proposals to be considered for the new conference dates.

The conference brings together scholars conducting internationally-oriented or comparative research on the intersection between news media and politics around the world. It aims to provide a forum for academics from a wide range of disciplines, countries, and methodological approaches to advance research in this area.

Examples of relevant topics include the political implications of current changes in media systems, including the increasing role of digital platforms; the importance of digital media for engaging with news and politics; analysis of the factors affecting the quality of political information and public discourse; studies of the role of entertainment and popular culture in how people engage with current affairs; studies of relations between political actors and journalists; analyses of the role of visuals and emotion in the production and processing of public information; and research on political communication during and beyond elections by government, political parties, interest groups, and social movements. The journal and the conference have a particular interest in studies that adopt comparative approaches, represent substantial theoretical or methodological advances, or focus on parts of the world that are under-researched in the international English language academic literature.

Titles and abstracts for papers (maximum 300 words) are invited by 12 June 2020. The abstract should clearly describe the key question, the theoretical and methodological approach, the evidence the argument is based on, as well as its wider implications and the extent to which they are of international relevance.

Please send submissions via the online form available at

The registration fee for the conference will be GBP 250, to be paid by 10 August 2020. A limited amount of registration fee waivers will be available for early-career scholars and scholars from countries that appear in Tiers B and C of the classification adopted by the International Communication Association. Applications must be made by 12 June 2020 via the abstract online submission form available at

The conference is organized by Cristian Vaccari (Loughborough University, Editor-in-Chief of IJPP). Please contact Professor Vaccari with questions at

More about the journal, the keynote speaker, the University, and the Centre:

The International Journal of Press/Politics


The International Journal of Press/Politics is an interdisciplinary journal for the analysis and discussion of the role of the media and politics in a globalized world. The journal publishes theoretical and empirical research which analyzes the linkages between the news media and political processes and actors around the world, emphasizes international and comparative work, and links research in the fields of political communication and journalism studies, and the disciplines of political science and media and communication. The journal is published by Sage Publications and is ranked 11th by Scopus (SJR) and 12th by Journal Citation Reports in Communication.

Professor Young Mie Wim, University of Wisconsin

Young-Mie-Kim-1024x683Young Mie Kim is a Professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a Faculty Affiliate of the Department of Political Science. Kim is a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Kim’s research concerns data-driven, algorithm-based, digitally mediated political communication. Kim’s recent research project, Project DATA (Digital Ad Tracking & Analysis), empirically investigates the sponsors, content, and targets of digital political campaigns across multiple platforms with a user-based, real-time, ad tracking tool that reverse engineers the algorithms of political campaigns. Kim and her team’s research, “The Stealth Media? Groups and Targets behind Divisive Issue Campaigns on Facebook,” identified “suspicious groups,” including Russian groups on Facebook. The work received the Kaid-Sanders Best Article of the Year in Political Communication (2018), awarded by the International Communication Association. Kim testified at the Federal Election Commission‘s hearings on the rulemaking of internet communication disclaimers and presented her research at the Congressional briefings on foreign interference in elections. Kim also spoke at the European Parliament on her research on data-driven political advertising and inequality in political involvement.

Loughborough University

1oDFxNO8_400x400Based on a 440-acre, single-site campus at the heart of the UK, Loughborough University is ranked top 10 in every British university league table. Voted University of the Year (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019) and awarded Gold in the National Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), Loughborough provides a unique student experience that is ranked first in the UK by the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018. Loughborough University has excellent transport links to the rest of the UK. It is a short distance away from Loughborough Train station, a 15-minute drive from East Midlands Airport (near Nottingham), an hour drive from Birmingham Airport, and an hour and 15 minutes from London via train.

The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture

LU_CentreForResearch_in_Communication&Culture_COLSince our establishment in 1991, we have developed into the largest research centre of our kind in the UK, and the 2019 QS World University Ranking placed us in the top 50 for communications and media research. We are a proudly interdisciplinary centre, creatively combining social science and humanities approaches for the rigorous exploration of the production and consumption of different forms of communication and creative texts. Our research draws on and contributes to theories and methods in cultural and media studies, sociology, politics, psychology, history and memory studies, textual, visual and computational analysis, and geography. We are interested in exploring how media and cultural texts are produced, how they construct meanings, how they shape the societies we live in, and how they fit within an ever-growing creative economy.