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CFP: Fake News and its Narratives (08/0...

Submissions are invited for a proposed collection theorizing fabricated news and its narratives.

In the past twenty-five years, American journalism has been scandalized by a series of sensational cases of journalistic fraud. Janet Cooke, Stephen Glass, and Jayson Blair are only the most notorious examples of reporters who have been caught inventing characters, making up quotations, plagiarizing details, and, in the most outrageous cases, faking entire stories.

Revelations of journalistic fabrication are invariably followed by the agonized self-scrutiny of the victim publications as they attempt to set the record straight. Throughout the many texts this process generates (reports, clarifications, corrections, apologies), fabrication is routinely described as the “cardinal sin” of reporting and its perpetrators excoriated as journalistic aberrations. But is this the whole story? To what extent do these aberrant texts expose certain features which are most, rather than least, typical of news? What can fabricated stories tell us, for example, about the patterns which help construct news as an intelligible and credible discourse or about the newsroom practices which support those patterns? In what ways does the credibility of fabricated news arise from its deft faithfulness not to “external” facts but rather to the generic and narrative patterns publishers, editors, and readers expect, desire, and value in the news? To what degree do these same expectations distort non-fabricated news?

While beginning with such questions, this collection seeks to explore the idea of fabricated news in all of its textual aspects from editorial apologetics to fabricators’ memoirs to the stories told by a Washington Press Corps willing to suspend disbelief and obligingly report official fictions as fact.

Other possible topics include:

News, Lies, and Market Culture Phantom Sources Fabrication and Form(ula) Staging News Fabrication and the Journalistic Archive Pundit Payola Satire and Fake News Technology and Fabrication News as Urban Myth Fabrication and Editorial Desire False Witnesses “Jeff Gannon” and the Phenomenon of the Fake Reporter Fabrication and Public Memory

This volume aims to engage current articulations of narrative and genre theory with journalistic discourse, but submissions exploring all theoretical approaches to the questions raised by fabricated news and its cognate texts are welcome and encouraged. Submissions need not be restricted to American or print fabrications.

Send 500-word proposals electronically (if sending as an attachment, submit in *.rtf format) by August 1, 2006 to Robert Alexander ( Please include a brief CV and biographical statement.

Deadlines for accepted manuscripts (5500 - 8000 words) will be January 31, 2007.

Please use “Fake News” in the subject line of all electronic correspondence.

Hard copies may be mailed to:

Robert Alexander

Department of English Language and Literature

Brock University

500 Glenridge Ave.

St. Catharines, Ontario

Canada L2S 3A1

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