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Nicaraguan journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal (1924-1978), c. 1960
Nicaraguan journalist Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal (1924-1978), c. 1960s. Chamorro Barrios Family Collection, The Latin American Library, Tulane University

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From Hojas Volantes to Podcasts: News from Latin America and the Caribbean
July 19-22, 2021
Virtual Conference

The Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials is pleased to announce its 66th annual conference to be held online, July 19-22, 2021.

From Hojas Volantes to Podcasts: News from Latin America and the Caribbean will bring together librarians, archivists, book vendors, scholars, publishers and journalists to participate in a back-and-forward-looking dialogue about our engagement with, understanding and conservation of the journalistic record in Latin America and the Caribbean. Together we will explore how past and present efforts of production, distribution, collecting and preservation can provide lessons for the future.

News formats in the 20th and 21st century have multiplied beyond measure; the internet facilitates real-time reporting by established news organizations and citizen journalists. This shift has not been immune to powerful tensions: state censure and reprisal, disinformation, social media fragmentation, and algorithmic bias, among others.

Rapidly developing technologies present us with both continuity and contrast vis-à-vis the periodic and serialized journalistic output of the 19th and 20th centuries. The existential implications of this evolving news ecosystem have been put into sharp relief as we face a deadly worldwide pandemic and its accompanying specter of misinformation. This conference aims to explore and confront the challenges presented by this landscape of evidence and dissimulation.

Topics of discussion for panels and individual presentations may include, but shall not be limited to:
● Preservation strategies and projects for news, from microfilming to current preservation challenges of born digital platforms including journalist-generated data sets and interactive design.
● Critical interventions in media literacy, disinformation, and “fake news.”
● Historical conjunctions between struggles of censure, freedom of the press, and the freedom to read.
● Parallel technology disruptions and transformations and their implications for news organizations and libraries.
● Alternative news sources for marginalized, censured, or misrepresented communities, as well as topics where sanctioned journalism has been silent: the nota roja, cordel, corridos; both visual and narrative mediums as conveyors of news. The fraught relationship between journalism, chronicle, and literature, as well as the influence of journalism as both a career and a genre for Latin American and Caribbean literary writers.
● Newspapers as tools of Enlightenment in the 18th century, as polemic forums in the processes of Independence, and in shaping national and social “imagined communities.”
● Immigrant, anarchist, and nationalist newspapers; news sources and social movements including Feminist, Queer, Black, Indigenous and worker struggles.
● State-sponsored, owned, or aligned news outlets and their role in shaping government discourse and projects; media policies and regulations throughout the region; consolidation and fragmentation of political and demographic audiences and narratives.
● The Spanish language press in the United States and the current importance of radio and television news for Latinx political mobilization. Informal and formal transnational news channels.

Within libraries, news sources have been a catalyst for innovative, inter-institutional collaboration. They have also presented acquisition, preservation, and access challenges. What tools, skills, and ethical frameworks do we have or need to come to terms with the multiplicity of journalistic voices in the interest of future research? The first draft of history is being written, recorded, and imaged every day throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and we have a critical role to play in the future telling of our times.

Participants are encouraged to think creatively about collaborations, presentation formats, geographical and professional composition of panelists, and audience engagement for this online conference.

Interested presenters and panel organizers should contact Sócrates Silva (SALALM President, 2020/2021) with proposals via this form by April 3, 2021.

Conference registration will begin in early March 2021. Please consult the SALALM conference site for more information.