About Moscow Readings 2023

Dates: 9-10 November 2023

Organizer: Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University

Format: hybrid event (offline and online)

In partnership with: National Association of Mass Media Researchers, Union of Journalism Education of Chinese and Russian Universities, Association of Journalists of Russia and Africa

Local organizing and program committees are headed by Professor Elena Vartanova, Dean of the Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education, President of the National Association of Mass Media Researchers

Discussions on the technology-driven changes in the nature of media systems have been on the rise since the second half of the twentieth century. Digitalization and related processes signalled a new round of transformations that hit full force in the 2010s and continues to gain steam, as new technologies are making deep inroads into the everyday life. This, in turn, emboldened the contradictions within media system’s hierarchy: exposed to network communication, organizational structures are increasingly lacking in their erstwhile rigidness; vying for space with new media built by “new professionals” and opinion makers, legacy media are losing popularity and advertising revenue; conventional professionalism gives way to personalization of the profession in the digital media environment; vertical hierarchy is replaced with more horizontal and fluid self-regulation approaches; media systems are increasingly undergoing de-globalization.

Within this delicate social and professional balance, algorithms, big data and virtual reality powered by artificial intelligence have a particularly marked effect on the industry, as they transform individual media diets and communication patterns as well as media business models altogether. We are at the dawn of the artificial sociality era that heralds the increased AI participation in social interactions as an active mediator and potentially as a new full-fledged social subject. This certainly calls for new conceptual frameworks that would reopen the question about the role of humans and machines in their social interaction (Lewis, Guzman, Schmidt, 2019). As a result, we witness transformations of the communication space in which all the professionals operate, including journalists, media communicators, advertisers, PR specialists, educators and researchers.

Media sphere is a potential leader in applying AI-driven tools due to the level of digitalization and the substantial benefits yielded in all realms of public communication and at all stages of creation, distribution and promotion of media content (Vartanova, 2023). Current advances include monitoring programs, algorithms for processing large information flows, recommendation social networks algorithms, text production pipelines and automated news-writing software, chatbots, personalization systems, editorial automation, artificial decision-making, and many other useful features. At the same time, journalism scholars have also been sensitizing societies for the potential risks and challenges inherent in applying big data and AI technologies.

Rich history of foreign and domestic discourse has been dwelling on different aspects of artificial intelligence, from the impact on media consumption and news-making practices to the ethical issues and management problems. Artificial intelligence has sparked a variety of polarized reflections by both scholars and practitioners; however, many are optimistic about the prospects of this technologies for the industry (Davydov, Lukina, Krasheninnkova, Zamkov, 2022). There is a growing body of research on specific near-term potentials of big data and AI for different areas of journalism, including investigative (Broussard, 2015; Stray, 2019), local (Borchardt, 2022), and public service journalism (Linn & Lewis, 2022). Experts have grappled with values and boundaries of new technologies within the industry, charting a course towards discussions around the place of AI in news making. In particular, they uncover the unlimited possibilities for data extraction and pattern recognition, point to the vast potential to lower hostile media bias (Clowdy et.al, 2021), while also discussing novel ethical challenges at the intersection of media and cyber ethics (Dörr, Hollnbucher, 2016; Lukina, Zamkov, Krasheninnikova, Kulchitskaya, 2022) and risks posed for accountability and professional decision-making. Given the increased economic and contextual complexity, as well as the ever-changing normative ideals, debates around the power of AI technologies in media industry became even more salient in the recent years.

Though academic community has shone spotlight on certain AI-related problems, this field of research is still riddled with unchartered areas. At this conference we welcome discussion on the strategies for fostering AI intelligibility and for embedding big data and AI-driven tools into journalism routines in such a way that they could ensure accuracy, accessibility, diversity, relevance, and timeliness of production at all stages of news work, as well as reflections on the vectors of algorithms-induced transformation of legacy journalism and new media. Specifics of audience’s view of automation and the changing relationship between audience and newsmaker caused by the personalized news delivery are other important issues that should be cast into stark relief. Lastly, we encourage debates on the new norms, missions and professional requirements that underlie journalism in the era of artificial intelligence.

Abstracts (between 300 and 500 words) in .doc or .docx in English or Russian, including author(s) name(s) and affiliation(s) should be sent to moscow.readings@mail.ru before 10 September 2023

Registration fee

Moscow Readings conference does not have conference registration fee, although all costs will have to covered either by the home institution or by the presenters themselves.

Publishing opportunities

Best papers will be considered for publication in peer-reviewed Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Seriya 10. Zhurnalistika (Scopus, Web of Science) and World of Media. Journal of Russian Media and Journalism Studies (Scopus).

The 15th Moscow Readings conference will be organized as a hybrid conference. We are looking forward to meeting you in November 2023 in Moscow in person or online, from wherever you are.

Contact details

Contact email: moscow.readings@mail.ru

Phone number : +7 (495) 629 52 76

Contact person: Anna Gladkova, secretary of the Moscow Readings conference organizing committee