RIPE@ news and blog

The RIPE@2018 Call for Paper Proposals!


18 – 20 October in Madrid, Spain


Universalism and Public Service Media


We are pleased to invite paper proposals for the ninth biennial RIPE conference that will be hosted by the School of Communication at the University of Navarra and sponsored by RTVE Spain. The conference will take place at RTVE and the University campus in Madrid.  

The RIPE@2018 conference theme focuses on challenges and opportunities in achieving the universal service mission in the era of media abundance. The principle of universalism has four dimensions: 1) access and reach, 2) genres and services, 3) relevance and impact, and 4) financing with attendant obligations. Providing universal service is a legal requirement for PSM that has crucial importance for the potential of the enterprise to cultivate enlightenment, encourage social cohesion, and provide a fair, full and equitable range of media services. How practical is this aspect of the PSM mission today? What is outdated in our understandings? What remains as vital as ever – perhaps more so today? What does universalism mean now, and what are the implications? Can universalism be accomplished in each of the four key dimensions, and if so how?

The mission and principle of universal service matters because ‘the public’ as such is the fundamental focus of PSM, although no longer with a capital P as if people are a uniform, mass entity at an exclusively national purview. The mission pertains to people as citizens, above all, but it also pertains to their roles and activities as media consumers and content creators in the light of growing concerns about polarization, filter bubbles, declines in media trust, and the proliferation of fake news and bots that push propaganda for the purposes of misleading and splintering populations. The provision of ‘service’ is still the most essential objective for PSM, but what that entails and how it can be achieved is less certain and more varied. It is clearly no longer solely about producing content. One must also be careful about how fragmentation is understood because social cohesion has always been challenging and variation is related to differences in tastes, interests, needs and preferences among people as media users and choosers.  

Older audiences still rely on linear broadcasting in most countries, while younger people increasingly prefer online services. The universalism challenge is especially pointed in efforts to reach and serve younger audiences. The core challenge is how to develop the PSM remit and transform public service in media for all audiences – and not only as ‘audiences’ per se. Beyond generational differences, PSM must deal more effectively with both identity differences and shared needs among people in multicultural societies, and especially between majority and minority communities with diverse cultures and social experiences. This is especially important with regard to serving immigrant groups and social movements. Moreover, while the national purview of PSM is still extremely important, international sources of supply proliferate, demand is increasingly variable, and regional pressures are growing within nations. All of this, as the costs for providing PSM are rising and revenue has become insecure. Trust in public institutions has declined in many countries and traditional media institutions are often viewed with suspicion and criticised for being too politicised. The remit for PSM is seriously at question and views on what it should and should not entail today is hotly contested. This sketch contextualises the complications involved with achieving the universalism mission in PSM in the 21st century, and underlines the need for a thorough rethinking of what that means and how what is most relevant today can be achieved in practice.  

Empirical and comparative research is especially needed to clarify the parameters of universalism and renew meanings that are relevant today across the four dimensions specified above. The following aspects are especially important and will comprise the workgroup structure for the RIPE@2018 conference:

1. Rethinking the universalism mission in PSM

  • What remains relevant from the historic mission, and what is outdated? How realistic is this mission today?
  • What are characteristic and important interpretations of universalism in each of the four specified dimensions?
  • Are there significant differences in how this mission is understood across languages, countries and decades? If so, what can be learned from this?
  • In the provision of universalism, what is best accomplished in partnerships with other media companies and cultural institutions? And what is best accomplished by audiences as creators and co-creators?
  • What are the implications of universalism for media policy today?

2. The nature and variety of publics, and implications for PSM

  • What are the obligations and implications of universalism in public media today?
  • Does PSM strengthen social cohesion? If so, how and to what affect? If not why not, and is this problematic?
  • How does universalism accommodate diversity of tastes and interests among different groups of all types?
  • How are people using media today, especially PSM? Are they consuming more variety and greater abundance, or narrowing options and consuming more of the same?
  • Beyond mainstream audiences, how is PSM serving minority groups of all types – social, ethnic, linguistic, gendered, indigenous, immigrant, etc.? What problems does this pose for policy and operations?
  • What are the challenges that PSM faces globally in efforts to deal effectively with the needs of minorities both within Europe and also beyond?

3. The nature and value of PSM services

  • How much diversity of content is media abundance producing? Who is being served and who is neglected?  
  • To what degree is PSM exceptional when compared with other media, and in what ways – quality, innovation, trust and credibility, variety, independence, responsiveness, transparency, accountability?
  • What is especially important for contemporary production of public service content? What are the continuities and changes that matter most, and why? And what matters beyond content per se?
  • How can PSM balance relevance for society as a whole and individual relevance among users and choosers – i.e., the complicated relations between general services and personalisation? What are the implications for universalism?

4. PSM cross-platform publishing and distribution strategies

  • What platform priorities matter most for PSM, and why? Do priorities differ across populations? Do they differ across platforms?
  • How should we understand operational dimensions of universalism for the development of strategies to address fragmentation, intolerance and polarisation?
  • How are audiences included, enabled and facilitated as producers and distributors of content they provide, and what are the public service implications?
  • Which emerging technology developments present the greatest opportunities and challenges for PSM in renewing and achieving the universalism mission?
  • What are the comparative priorities, roles and tensions when comparing general contents and services versus niche contents and services?

5. Organisational restructuring and management in PSM

  • What does the universalism mission mean for PSM strategy and operational designs in contemporary media environments?
  • Given growing indications of an eventual end to broadcasting as PSM organisations move their services online, what are the key challenges, complications and affordances for universalism that are entailed in this shift?
  • How is partnership operationalised in efforts to fulfil this mission today, and to what affect? Where does this work well and why, and where is it failing and why?
  • To what extent is organisational restructuring an extension of legacy structures, a mutation of them, or something entirely new? What are the drivers?
  • What areas of managerial competence require significant improvement, and why? Does this vary at different levels of management in PSM organisations?

6. Governance, accountability and funding for PSM

  • How does the legal construction of PSM, which is keyed to the remit assigned to the institution, enable and limit the potential to fulfil the universalism mission? What needs updating in the remit, and why?
  • To what degree is ‘the public’ a prioritised consideration in PSM governance? What affordances are provided by PSM for public participation and on what basis – is it mandated, voluntarily accommodated, grudgingly tolerated (or not)?
  • What is the impact of PSM contents and services in various countries, and what accounts for higher and lower degrees of impact?
  • How transparent are PSM organisations? What should and should not be openly published, and why?
  • How can accountability be balanced with the competitive needs of PSM organisations in market environments?
  • How is the accomplishment of public service measured and reported? What is needed that is still lacking? What is working, and where?
  • What complications do commercial revenue pose for the universalism mission, with what assets or benefits in fulfilling the mission?


Paper proposals will be peer reviewed according to these format specifications:

  • On page 1, provide the paper’s working title, the author/s and contact information.
  • On page 2 repeat the title but exclude author/s identification. Provide an extended abstract (max 700 words) addressing seven elements for evaluation (below)
  • At the top of page 2 indicate which two workgroups offer the best fit.

Please submit your proposal as a Word file at this link:

(The file will be converted to a PDF file for peer review, without page 1).

All submissions will be peer-reviewed (double-blind) by a scientific committee. The evaluation criteria are:

  1. Relevance to the conference theme
  2. Main research question(s) and what is new or original
  3. Theories used and general approach
  4. Research methods and design (for empirical papers)
  5. Core argument (for philosophical papers)
  6. Key findings and implications for theory
  7. Relevance for PSM management and practice

Empirical research is highly valued, but we also welcome insightful philosophical, critical and theory-driven papers. Comparative research is very important.

RIPE conferences focus on substance, dialogue and results. We therefore limit acceptance to about 60 papers and each is assigned to one of the workgroups. Given that 9-12 papers are assigned per group, every paper has sufficient time for presentation and, importantly, enrichening discussion.

Submissions are due 2 April. Decisions about acceptance will announced on 30 April. Completed papers are due on 1 October 2018.

The conference happens over 2.5 days with a welcoming reception the night before the first day and the inaugural RIPE General Assembly on the afternoon of the third day. The GA will deliberate on a new leadership structure for the initiative going forward. The conference language is English.

Conference fees will be announced at a later date. A discount for PhD students is planned. The fee will cover conference meals, events and materials, but not hotel accommodation or travel. Based on the level of interest, a non-obligatory social programme might be planned for the day after the conference at an additional cost for those interested to participate. The RIPE conference does not supplement personal travel costs.


Get Ready for the RIPE@2017 Reader and the RIPE@2018 Call!

The editing and revision work for the 8th RIPE Reader, Public Service Media in the Networked Society is nearing completion and the RIPE@018 Call for Paper Proposals as well. Both will be ready by February 1.  

The RIPE@2017 manuscript will be sent to Nordicom for the last steps in finalising the publication. We expect the book to be available in March. The editors are very pleased with both the substance and quality of the book, and feel certain the collection will make a timely contribiution to PSM theory and practice today. 

Meanwhile, the Conference Planning Group for the RIPE@2018 conference is putting the finishing touches on the Call for Paper Proposals. The ninth RIPE conference will take place in Madrid next October! We will publish the Call not later than February 1. The theme is Universalism and Public Service Media. The principle of universalism has deep historic and continuing importance in four dimensions: 1) access and reach, 2) genres and services, 3) relevance and impact, and 4) financing and attendant obligations. Universalism is an ethical requirement and practical concern for PSM. How practical is the universalism mission today? What is outdated in our understandings that require updating? What remains as relevant and vital as ever – perhaps more than before? How can universalism be accomplished across the four key dimensions? 

We hope to meet you in Madrid, and look forward to your reactions to the RIPE@2017 Reader!

The RIPE@2017 Reader is Looking Great!

The RIPE@2017 Reader is shaping up to be another excellent resource in the continuing series published by Nordicom since 2003. Editors and reviewers alike agree the substance of contributions is excellent. This 8th RIPE Reader will be on par with the quality of work and wealth of insight that has been characteristic for 15 years already. The book theme, Public Service Media in the Networked Society, captures the pulse of our times in dealing with conceptual, operational and critical dimensions of the networked society paradigm with specific focus on roles, functions, opportunities and limitations for PSM in that. 

Together with Hilde Van den Bulck at the University of Antwerp and Karen Donders at the Free University in Brussels, we've been editing the 16 chapters that will comprise the book, and will begin drafting the introductory chapter soon. This comes towards the end of each project so we can include the most important contributions from each chapter. Most of the chapters are now in peer review, although a few are completed and a couple that are in the second revision stage that precedes peer review. Most often chapters require three or four drafts to complete. The book will be completed this year, but will not publish until early 2018. That has been the typical due to our reliance on double-blind peer-review to ensure the highest scholarly standards. This requires more time for each project, but the results will make the time and effort worth the wait!

As with all earlier books in the series, the RIPE@2017 Reader will be available as a free download in PDF format on Nordicom's website when published, and hard copies can be ordered at a very reasonable price (about €30 per copy). 

Gregory Ferrell Lowe

We're beginning peer review on the new RIPE Reader!

The RIPE website has been updated this week. Take a look! There are a few new pictures still to be added after tweaking to fit the required dimensions, but the substance is current.

We are well into the editorial process for the eighth RIPE Reader and have begun the peer review process for contributing chapters. About half the total are already in peer review or will be ready soon. For an overview of the theme, contributors and chapter titles, take a peek at the RIPE@2017 Reader link on the website navigation bar. 

The RIPE@2017 Reader will be published by Nordicom in late 2017 or early 2018. When, exactly, depends on the peer review process. The contributions are developed versions of a cross-section of the best papers from the RIPE@2016 conference in Antwerp, Belgium last autumn, with a couple of invited chapters to cover areas the editors felt needed special attention. The theme is Public Service Media in the Networked Society, mirroring the conference theme. 

More soon, so please stay tuned!

Opportunity for young and early career reserachers!

European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
Geneva - October 2016
RECRUITMENT: Visiting Researcher (12 months)

The Media Intelligence Service (MIS) of the EBU is recruiting a visiting researcher in media.

TYPE OF CONTRACT: This is a full time position for 12 months
STARTING DATE: January 2017
REMUNERATION: The EBU offers an attractive remuneration according to Swiss standards
TARGET PROFILE: We encourage young researchers to apply (Master Level completed). This could be an excellent step in your research career!

The Visiting Researcher carries out diverse research tasks including: collection and processing of information, support to analysis – including quantitative and qualitative methods –, production of high quality and accurate studies, reports, presentations, etc. S/he will be required to be polyvalent, having to address topics in diverse fields of knowledge related to the media system, including market and industry structures, national media systems, media policy issues, media consumption trends or the activities of international institutions. S/he will contribute to the production of country as well as company profiles, including Public Service Media organizations and commercial operators. In addition, s/he will be also involved in the provision of information on request to the EBU Members and Departments. In doing so, s/he crucially contributes to the achievement of MIS’ mission.


-  Good knowledge and understanding of the media market structures and economics is essential (masters’ level or equivalent professional experience).
-  Good knowledge of information sources related to the media market is necessary.
-  Good knowledge of media consumption trends will be valued very positively.
- Good skills in quantitative and qualitative research methods.
- Quality, efficiency and accuracy orientation is a must.
- Strong writing and presentation skills.
- Self-initiative, versatility and engagement are a must.
- Ability to work under time constraints and pressure, following instructions, and providing results on time.
- A service and team orientation attitude is crucial.
- Capacity to work simultaneously in several projects, with a capacity to allocate the right priority to the assigned tasks.
- Capacity to deal patiently and tactfully with staff members.
- A high sense of confidentiality and good judgment.
- Ability to work effectively with people of different national and cultural backgrounds.

Please, notice that PROFICIENT command of English is mandatory. In the job description it is said that French is required, but that is just a formality. Do not hesitate to apply if you don't speak French.

The Media Intelligence Service (MIS) is responsible for carrying out primary research and analysis in the field of media with a multidimensional approach (political, economic, socio-cultural and technological) and an international perspective. MIS’ main mission is providing EBU departments and Members with reliable market data, trustworthy analysis and relevant arguments that support their daily operations and their strategic planning. In doing so, the Media Intelligence Service contributes to promote the value of PSM and secure public, societal & political support for PSM.
You can see what we do at<> or in twitter @_robertosuarez

Detailed information about the position and the application procedure is available at<> . Follow the link to Human Resources at the bottom of the page. Then enter in the Recruitment Portal and look for this call.

Direct access:

November 20th 2016

Dr. Roberto Suárez Candel
Head of the Media Intelligence Service
European Broadcasting Union (EBU)

RIPE@2016 was excellent!

The RIPE@2016 conference last week in Belgium was another excellent experience. Many participants have been writing messages of appreciation for our hosts -- VRT, the Flemish PSB provider, the University of Antwerp and the Free University of Brussels. The organisers did a terrific job of preparing a conference that was substantive in intellectual rigour, engaging in participatory discourse, and enjoyable in social experiences. The theme for our eighth biennial conference proved to be timely and highly relevant for both of the communities involved -- academic and practitioner: Public Service Media in a Networked Society?

We have not uploaded the conference papers yet because it's important to give authors the opportunity to decide if this might be a problem for anyone. Most are not concerned because the papers are now password protected, so anyone wanting to read a paper must register and have a personal password first (in the RIPE Library section of this site). This is how things work on ResearchGate and similar sites that most of us use these days to network with those most interested in our work. Next week we will upload all the papers for which there is not a request to not do so.

We now begin the process of selecting the best 15 to 20 papers for consideration as peer-reviewed chapters for the RIPE@2017 Reader that will be published by Nordicom at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. The eighth book in the series will be co-edited by Gregory Ferrell Lowe (University of Tampere, Finland) and Hilde Van den Bulck (University of Antwerp). Authors with papers invited for submission to the book are not guaranteed publication because we employ the same rigorous standards that apply to any quality journal in the field. And it is quite rare that there would a conference paper that doesn't require considerable development to be included in the collection. It will take a little time for the editors to review all 60+ of the conference papers to make the selection, so please be patient if you are an author of one of them. We will be in touch as soon as we can and hope that those with selected papers have not submitted elsewhere earlier. The series of RIPE Readers is the definite collection of scholarship on public service media in the past 15 years, and is the most widely cited source of articles as a collection. Moreover, Nordicom now provides all of the Readers as free downloads in PDF format. This boosts citations greatly, of course, and means the collection can be used by colleagues in places without funding for books and so forth. 

If you are on Facebook and not yet a friend of RIPE, please search and Like the RIPE page!  It is the daily site for keeping up with the latest information not only about the RIPE initiative, but also news and Calls for papers, etc that network members post. And if you aren't yet a member of the Global PSM Experts Network (Global@RIPE in collaboration with the EBU), please visit this project website and join so you can be added to the worldwide roster of experts. 


Welcome to Antwerp!!

The RIPE@2016 conference is next week!! On behalf of our hosts at VRT and the University of Antwerp as well as the Free University of Brussels, welcome to everyone who will participate, and for the rest of you in the network please follow the udpates on our FB page. The programme offers a stimulating range of issues for rich discussions about Public Service Media in the Networked Society -- with a question mark to signal interrogation of key assumptions about that. We wish everyone travelling to Antwerp a safe journey.

This year we have not uploaded the conference papers to the RIPE site in advance of the conference because there were some concerns among several colleagues in the RIPE@1014 conference about 'publishing' them online, which can cause problems for some journals. In response, this website was revamped last year so that today a user can browse the site without registering, but it is not possible to download papers without being registered and having a password. They are not published, therefore, but password protected. We hope that making this change will solve the problem since things now work the same as for sites like Research Gate and Academic . edu that most of us use these days. But because we don't want to make unmerited assumptions, we won't upload any of the papers to the RIPE Library for this conference until after Greg has permission from each author to do so (i.e. after anyone at the conference has ample opportunity to decline having the paper posted behind the password).  

If you are attending the conference and want to read the papers for your workgroup in advance, which we do recommend, please contact the Chair of your group. We have advised the six Chairs to be in touch with their respective group members about several things, and they have the papers as well. There are a few papers still missing, but we expect them to be done very soon. 

Looking forward to meeting you in Antwerp!

Call for Papers for a special journal issue on radio!!

The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media

Call for Papers: Special issue on Public Service Radio (15:1 May 2017)

Guest editors: Per Jauert, Aarhus University, Denmark and Marko Ala-Fossi, University of Tampere, Finland

Submission deadline 1 Dec 2016

Since the beginning of this century, public service broadcast media have faced a number of challenges due to the introduction and growth of digital platforms, which have combined free-to-air distribution with on-demand features, return channels, and options for user feedback and involvement – a move from public service broadcasting to public service media. This move beyond a transmission model for radio has stimulated the development of cross-media and cross-genre content and has challenged traditional concepts of radio structures as well as production, content, and listening cultures. Nonetheless, universally available broadcast radio is still arguably a defining criterion of the entire concept of PSB/PSM.

The Radio Journal invites scholarly work exploring and investigating, from multiple perspectives, the role and function of radio in the PSB/PSM turn, for example:
• How have national PSB/PSM policies and regulation initiatives influenced radio landscapes?
• To what extent have on-demand features changed production procedures, traditional radio genres, and perceptions of radio audiences?
• What are the consequences of the use of social media in radio production, distribution and audience behavior for traditional PSB radio?
• Will PSB radio still be one of the core services of public service media – or what roles and functions may PSB radio serve in post-broadcast societies?
The Radio Journal also invites submission to the general section of 15:1. The journal publishes critical analyses of radio and sound media across a variety of platforms, from broadcast to podcast and all in between.  We define ‘radio’ broadly to include not only traditional broadcasting, but any form of creative or factual expression that takes place primarily through sound. We place a strong emphasis on publishing work that reflects radio’s diversity, from a wide range of national and transnational perspectives.
Articles (6,000 – 8,000 words) should be submitted to Please include a separate cover page with: article title; author’s name and affiliation; brief abstract (100–200 words); keywords (6–8); author’s biography (100–200 words); author’s institutional postal and email address. No identifying information should appear on any other pages of the article, to aid in the blind review process.  See the Radio Journal website for more information and to download our Notes to Contributors for style and formatting instructions.

For queries, please contact:
Special Issue - Public Service Radio:
Per Jauert and Marko Ala-Fossi
General section: editors Michele Hilmes and Mia Lindgren

Des Freedman links for the Puttnam Report

Hi RIPE people! Just thought you might want to know that the full report of the Inquiry into the Future of Public Service Television, chaired by the film producer Lord Puttnam, has now been published and is available at You can also access the executive summary at and see recent press coverage, transcripts and recordings of events and a full list of submissions to the Inquiry at There's an interview with Lord Puttnam at OpenDemocracy at and a blog from me on the report at Hope you're all well. best Des

PSM in the Global South

A new e-book is available in Open Access format from Simon Fraser University. Download the book from this link: This is the culmination of a project that started in the RIPE@2014 conference in Tokyo, which benefitted from the participation of early career researchers from several countries in the Global South -- funded by a generous grant from the Open Societies Foundation. These participants met with colleagues from many countries and discussed the possibilities for publishing a report on common challenges and unique aspects of public service media as a developmental initiative in many countries outside the West today. The result is a useful and fascinating series of analyses of the situation in Bangladesh, Morocco, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and South Africa authored by scholars and practitioners with situated expertise in each case country. The lead editor is Anis Rahman at Simon Fraser Universities, one of the original grant recipients who volunteered to lead the project. He was assisted by Gregory Ferrell Lowe, Continuity Director for RIPE, who served as second editor.