by Neil Thurman

Call for papers: International Communication Association (ICA) preconference on AI and algorithms in journalism

Understanding the Dynamics of (Ir)Responsible AI in Journalism and Algorithmically Shaped News Flows

Date: Thursday, 26 May 2022, 8:30-16:30
Location (tbc): Palais de Congrés de Paris, Paris, France.

Supported by the following International Communication Association Divisions and Interest Groups: Computational Methods Division, Human-Machine Communication Interest Group, Journalism Studies Division, and Political Communication Division.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications for various activities along the news value chain (e.g., for research, production and distribution) can offer opportunities for news media to better cope with the economic and societal challenges they face. However, such developments raise concerns, namely whether efficiency-driven AI applications will endanger the democratic role of news media or fundamental rights and public values.

Accordingly, communication scholars are increasingly seeking to understand conditions that facilitate the responsible use of AI applications in journalism. Responsible AI in journalism could for instance involve AI applications that not only increase the economic efficiency of news media (e.g., increase audience engagement as well as advertising and subscription revenues) but also contribute to news media’s democratic role in society by adhering to professional values and ethical standards (e.g., secure the diversity of news exposure).

(Ir)responsible AI applications in journalism have the potential to shape Internet users’ behavior and lead to new ways of receiving and engaging with news and journalists. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to disentangle the interplay of algorithmic rankings, social ties on social media platforms, and editorial selections, all of which can shape individuals’ news feeds on social media or their personalized user experience on online news sites. Classic models of the flow of news (i.e., from journalistic professionals to the audience) are insufficient for understanding such increasingly complex news flows online.


Against this background, this pre-conference has two related objectives:

— to better understand and model how the interplay between AI, journalistic professionals, and news audiences shapes the flow of news online;
— to better understand the technological, organizational, ethical/legal and societal conditions that facilitate the responsible use of AI in journalism.


These objectives will be addressed through different lenses within communication science, namely computational communication, journalism studies, audience studies, political communication as well as information law and ethics. Therefore, this pre-conference will bring together international and interdisciplinary scholars working on (ir)responsible AI in journalism and algorithmic news flows. The pre-conference will consist of 16 presentations and two keynotes and offer a forum for discussions.

How to participate

We particularly invite graduate students, early career scholars and senior scholars working with innovative research designs and methods (be they qualitative or quantitative in nature). More specifically, we invite extended abstracts – also of work-in-progress – of no more than 800 words (excluding references) regarding, but not limited, to the following questions:

— What exactly is responsible versus irresponsible use of AI in journalism, and who should make the decision? What trade-offs are involved in developing and implementing the responsible use of AI?
— What are the technological, organizational, ethical/legal and societal facilitators of responsible AI applications in journalism? How can responsible AI in journalism be governed
— What effects do responsible versus irresponsible AI applications have on news media’s performance?
— How should we rethink classic models of the flow of news in order to understand AI’s influence on online news flows?
— Do we need new tools and methods to be able to understand the complexity of AI shaped news flows?
— How can we understand and better model AI shaped news flows from the supply-side (e.g., the influence of journalists, editors and news sources), the demand-side (e.g., the influence of audiences’ user behavior on AI shaped news flows), or both?

Please send your extended abstracts by 15 February 2022 to Erik Knudsen ( and Bartosz Wilczek ( Abstracts will be assessed by the organizational committee (see below) and outcomes will be communicated by 15 March 2022.

Contact persons

Dr. Erik Knudsen, University of Bergen, Norway,
Dr. Bartosz Wilczek, LMU Munich, Germany,

Organizational committee

Dr. Neil Thurman, LMU Munich, Germany
Dr. Bartosz Wilczek, LMU Munich, Germany
Dr. Florian Stalph, LMU Munich, Germany
Sina Thäsler-Kordonouri (MA), LMU Munich, Germany
Dr. Mario Haim, U of Leipzig, Germany
Dr. Natali Helberger, U of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dr. Anne Kroon, U of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dr. Damian Trilling, U of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dr. Susan Vermeer, U of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dr. Antske Fokkens, VU U Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dr. Wouter van Atteveldt, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dr. Kasper Welbers, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dr. Helle Sjøvaag, U of Stavanger, Norway
Dr. Erik Knudsen, U of Bergen, Norway

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