Keynote speakers



   Geoffrey Baym  (University of North Carolina Greensboro)   

"Border Stories: Journalism at the Intersections of News and Narrative"    

Particularly in the context of American television, hybridity has become the defining feature of contemporary broadcast journalism.  Hybridity itself manifests on multiple levels – what I describe here as textual, systemic, and discursive.  Together, these three levels of hybridization have led to a profound challenge to traditional conceptions of journalism.  Hybridity has all but shattered the high modern paradigm, and is forcing us away from both notions of journalism as the transmission of useful information to an inquiring citizenry, and the political logic of rational choice upon which such notions depend.  Instead, the hybridization of broadcast news moves us closer to a concept of journalism as orientation – the circulation of culturally evocative narratives that shape affective understandings as much, and likely more, than they inform citizens.

The notion of journalism as orientation is hardly new.  The scholar Robert Park suggested it at the dawn of the high-modern age, and much that is happening in television news today is akin to the realist fiction of a hundred years ago.  Produced by authors whose own careers moved back and forth between the domains of journalism and literature, the realist novel (as did later experiments in “documentary fiction” and “new journalism”) blurred borders between story and information and fact and fiction.  Today, something similar is happening on television, in the arena of long-form serial drama, in both fictive and factual varieties.

To explore the contours of this emerging field of televisual narrative truth-telling, I look more closely at three similar, but distinct serial programs produced for American television over the last decade that differ in form, but all attempt to “tell the story” of the American urban underclass.  Taken together, these various approaches to narrative journalism complicate our assumptions about the boundaries between journalism and literature and help us better understand the limitations and possibilities of serial storytelling in a hybrid age.  


   Ian Hutchby (University of Leicester)     

"Tribuneship: Adversarial and Hybrid Political Interviews"

This keynote lecture outlines the key features of the Hybrid Political Interview (HPI) by comparison with the more conventional, though still aggressive, Adversarial Political Interview (API). It proposes that the HPI is a different media discourse form to the API; one in which the interviewer feels able to dispense with most if not all of the norms of journalistic neutralism when he or she considers it necessary in the interests of advocating 'the truth'. This is crystallised in the different ways in which mainstream 'accountability interviewers' and non-mainstream 'hybrid interviewers' seem to treat the key journalistic role of tribuneship. Both types of interviewer are able to orient to their role as representing the public interest/looking out for the underrepresented/seeking the truth, etc. However, in the API interviewers mainly attempt to elide their own agency, either through speech practices such as those identified by previous conversation analytic work on news interviews; or by explicitly stating that their questions are 'in the public interest'. In the HPI, tribuneship is often manifested more directly and precisely through the interviewer's foregrounding of agency, for instance in the often forceful expression of opinion.