Call for Papers: Journal of Digital Media and Policy
(Formerly International Journal of Digital Television)

Special Issue 10.3 (Autumn 2019): ‘Interfacing public communications in the digital economy’

Guest edited by Michael Klontzas (University of Huddersfield) and Maria Sourbati (University of Brighton)

Deadline for proposals: 30 November 2018

Public organizations tasked with the delivery of universal service in communications (e.g. broadcasting) and social welfare (e.g. health services) have been redesigning their service delivery through digital transformation for almost two decades now. At the centre of these
systems and infrastructures are digital interfaces enabling the flow of information and data between organizations and their publics, mediating access to services and generating data about service users.

Originating in engineering to describe a face of separation between substances (Bottomley 1882) and, later, places or surfaces where two bodies or systems come together (OED 1990; McLuhan 1962), the concept of the ‘interface’ entered common use in new media studies at
the turn of the century to denote mediations between human and computer, between computers or between humans. Interfaces are both technical devices and conceptual spaces. In digital communications, the word ‘interface’ denotes the software and hardware that conditions the interaction between computers and between computers and humans, as well as the interweaving of information and forging of connections that is directed through digital code. Interfaces have the power to shape communication and information access (Gane and Beer 2008) structure the choice of users and make normative claims about the purposes and appropriate use of content (Andersen and Pold 2014; Stanfill 2015). Service providers and content producers inscribe specific roles and types of agency into software interfaces (Lammes 2016) highlighting the affordances of websites (Graham and Henman 2018) and other human-facing technologies. Public service webpages, dashboards and social media feeds, demarcating appropriate modes of engagement, privilege certain content options, presuppose user competencies and deploy user characteristics shaping the production of user data that can be co-opted by powerful interests. Such power asymmetries have been the subject of ongoing policy debates about the crisis in public information (‘fake news’) and the necessity for regulatory intervention enforcing platform responsibility and supporting media literacy. Communications policy research has addressed today’s evolving digital media systems as platforms (e.g. Mansell 2015; van Dijck, Poell and Waal 2018) and as software and content (Burri 2015; Helberger, Karppinen and D’Acunto 2016), but less so as interactions and interrelationships of platform design, service software, content and structured media and information access.

For this special issue, we invite contributions that examine interfaces on the institutional, organizational strategy, technology design and access level with a focus on universal/inclusive public communications and services. We invite contributions that include, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Digital interfaces and the structuring of user choice.
  • Public service ideals and evolving user interfaces: institutional strategies and alternative innovation.
  • Social inclusion by design.
  • Interfaces, aesthetics and configuring the public service user.
  • Digital interface affordances and public value.
  • Emerging interface technologies.
  • Digital interface design knowledge exchange and policy diffusion.
  • Interface regulation.

Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted to the guest editors, Michael Klontzas and Maria Sourbati, by 30 November 2018.

All proposals must include a title, six-eight keywords, author name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and contact details. To read more information about the journal and find Notes for Contributors, visit,id=175

Key dates

30 November 2018: Deadline for abstract submission.
15 December 2018: Notification of accepted proposals.
29 April 2019: Deadline for submission of full articles.
27 May 2019: Double-blind peer-review completed. Accepted papers given four weeks for revision.

Autumn 2019: Special issue goes to print.