ISWNE and Huck Boyd Center issue call for proposals

Oct 27, 2016

The International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors and the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media at Kansas State University are seeking proposals for papers that will provide guidance on general issues and/or everyday problems confronting community newspapers and their newsrooms.

The paper competition is an extension of the center’s former “Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium,” co-sponsored by the National Newspaper Association and its foundation and presented for 20 years during NNA conventions.

It is an effort to promote “conversations in community journalism” between academia and journalists working for community newspapers.

Proposals will be peer-reviewed by faculty with expertise in community journalism, and final selection of the papers to be written will be made by a panel of working and retired community journalists who will evaluate the proposals on the basis of their potential value to newsrooms. Completed papers will undergo a final peer review before publication in an issue of ISWNE’s journal, “Grassroots Editor.”

One paper will be selected for presentation at the 2018 ISWNE conference in Portland, OR. The ISWNE Foundation will provide the author with complimentary registration for that conference, as well as a partial subsidy for travel.

Some possible topic areas include: ethical issues; how well citizen journalists are doing over the long term; innovative ways to cover community organizations; the role of community newspapers in relation to civic engagement; different approaches to living with the Internet; models to maximize revenue/contain expenses without sacrificing quality; engaging young readers; and others.

ISWNE members have access to the organization’s “Hotline,” where topics of current interest to newsrooms are regularly discussed. Non-members may request temporary access by contacting Executive Director Chad Stebbins at

The most successful proposals will deal with applied research, although theoretical papers that provide the basis for further applied research are also acceptable, as are general research papers that establish a tie to newsroom issues. Proposals written with an international focus, or reflecting an international perspective, are particularly encouraged, as are those from graduate students.

Proposals should be no more than two pages and should clearly and concisely explain how the papers will be of practical use to community weekly newsrooms. They should note any prior work on which they will build or which they will assess critically. Proposals will be evaluated on the relevance of the topic and its value to newsrooms, originality, appropriateness of the methodology to be used, the likelihood that valid conclusions will be reached and the choice of materials that will be used to document the paper’s conclusions.

The suggested length for the final paper is 2,500 to 6,000 words.

Logististics for submission:

• Submit proposals electronically (MSWord doc or PDF format) to Huck Boyd Center Director Gloria Freeland,, by Jan. 2, 2017.

• The proposal should contain NOTHING that would identify the author. It must be accompanied by a separate title page containing full author contact information (name, email address, mailing address, university and/or professional affiliation and phone number).


Other important dates

• Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by Feb. 15, 2017.

• Completed papers should be sent electronically by June 22, 2017 to Gloria Freeland,

• Any changes suggested by the second peer review will be sent to authors by July 15, 2017.

• Final versions of the papers should be sent electronically by Aug. 15, 2017, to ISWNE Director Chad Stebbins,

• The author of the paper selected for presentation at the 2018 ISWNE conference in Portland will be notified by Oct. 1, 2017.



ISWNE was founded in 1955 to promote high standards of editorial writing, facilitate the exchange of ideas and foster freedom of the press in all nations. Its goals are to help those involved in the weekly press improve the standards of editorial writing and news reporting and to encourage strong, independent editorial voices. Chad Stebbins has been ISWNE’s executive director since 1999.

The mission of the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media is to serve and strengthen local newspapers, broadcast stations, online media and other outlets that play a key role in the survival and revitalization of small towns in the United States. The center, established in 1990, sponsors an annual lecture series dedicated to community media, works with area news organizations to sponsor workshops, encourages a community media perspective in journalism courses, and fosters research in community journalism. Gloria Freeland has been the director since 1998.