The 9th International conference ‘Comparative Media Studies in Today’s World’ (CMSTW’2021) is dedicated to analysing world’s communication and journalism in comparative perspective. The theme for 2021 is ‘Communication Architectures’; it is expected to bring together a wide range of scholars in social sciences, communications, computational disciplines, and humanities.

Since 2013, the conference has gathered experts in comparative media research, including Paolo Mancini, Larry Gross, Silvio Waisbord, Katrin Voltmer, Barbara Pfetsch, Nico Carpentier, Zizi Papacharissi, Mark Deuze, Susanne Fengler, Elena Vartanova, Thomas Hanitzsch, Daya Thussu, Zizi Papacharissi, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Claudia Mellado, and many others.

The conference is part of the jubilee ‘Media in Modern World’ Annual Forum which will be held by St. Petersburg State University for the 60th time in 2021. Despite the fact that the Forum will be held in June this time due to the COVID-19 limitations for travel, the virtual CMSTW’2021 remains its integral element.

A variety of publishing opportunities, including that in a Scopus Q1 and Q2 journals, is offered at the conference. The submission guidelines may be found in the respective pages of this website after February 15, 2021.


February 10, 2021
Two more keynote speakers for CMSTW’2021 announced!
They are brilliant European professors Thorsten Quandt (Germany) and Oscar Westlund (Norway). Please see their bios and links to their pages on our Keynote speakers page.

February 1, 2021
The submission page has opened today! Please see it here.
You will need to have an account at Easychair; but it is really easy to register there.
You have a month to submit (subject to slight extension on request).

January 27, 2021
The conference website is fully on!
We will post our news here and also in our Facebook community. Follow us! :)

January 25, 2021
The call for papers for CMSTW’2021 is announced!
Please see the Overview for the full call.

Publishing opportunities and awards

Digital Journalism publishing opportunity

The conference steering committee will identify (based on the reviews) the best conference paper on issues that relate to digital media and online journalism. This paper will be suggested for publication in Digital Journalism (SCOPUS Q1), another distinguished journal in communication studies. Prof. Svetlana Bodrunova, the CMSTW program chair and Digital Journalism board member, will advise on how to make the paper fit the standards of the journal before submitting it to the journal peer review.

WINNER: Lyubov Ivanova, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
‘Taunting Laughter as a Strategy for Current News Reflection in Russian Telegram Channels’

Special issue ‘Communication Architectures - Comparative Media Studies in Today’s World’ at Future Internet

The conference has received an invitation to have a special issue at Future Internet (published by MDPI; SCOPUS Q2). For the information on the journal, see its page at the MDPI website.

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Prize for the best paper in the social&political track

Since 2010, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung has been a partner of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, St.Petersburg State University. In 2020, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the partnership, the Stiftung has established a symbolic prize for the best paper in the social&political track.

WINNER: Maria Sakaeva, University of Bremen, Germany
‘Independent Press in Russian Regions under the State Pressure: the Role of Reciprocity and Sense of Place’

Katrin Voltmer’s Prize for the best PhD student paper

In 2018, Katrin Voltmer established a prize for the best PhD student’s paper of the conference; in 2021, this prize is equal to 5,000 RUR. CMSTW and Katrin Voltmer have plans to establish a foundation to make this prize more substantial. Donations may be discussed by writing to

WINNER: Nikolay Rodossky, St. Petersburg State University, Russia
‘Complaining audiences and hyperlocal journalism in Russia’

Katarzyna Piórecka, Marlena Sztyber, University of Warsaw, Poland
‘Biased media, scattered nations. The structure of polarization of online media content in the United States of America and Poland’


Home Conference 2021 Organizers Keynotes Program Submission Publications and Awards Fees Practicalities

Participation fees

Due to the virtual status of the 2021 conference, the fees have been significantly reduced.

Individual submission: 15 euro - early-bird, 20 euro - regular
PhD/Master student submission: 10 euro
Panel/workshop: 70 euro - early-bird, 80 euro - regular

Early-bird: before March 20, 2021
Regular: March 20 to April 1, 2021


The registration form for the conference is available! Please open the form by clicking here.
You will need to fill in the registration data form (your credentials and affiliation), then you will be exposed to the explanatory part of the form, then to the selection of your payment type (participation type and country tier), and then the payment form.

On having paid, you will receive two letters: one in English and one in Russian (a bank letter, sorry for the language). The first letter will inform you that you have registered but will advise to pay if you have not done so :) Please disregard it if you have recieved the second letter with a table-form report on your payment - it will start with a bank logo and words in Russian “АО Банк “ПСКБ” Электронная квитанция”.

Please note that only one fee per presentation format (abstract, paper, panel, or workshop) is needed.
The only additional payment that is needed is workshop participation if you submit after the workshops have been announced.


Links to the MS Teams, Zoom, and other platforms
The links and instructions on how to log in to the conference venues are distributed to all successful conference submitters via Easychair. We will also publish them at the front page of this website 24 hours before the conference. The late posting of the links is made to avoid cyber-attacks.

If you experience troubles logging, please let us know immediately by sending a short message to cmstw2020[at] or our Facebook page. To be there on time, please try to login at least 10 min before your session starts.

Deadlines and other dates

March 5, 2021 – main submission deadline (papers, abstracts, and panels, including papers that belong to panels) – early submission is strongly encouraged, but the deadline may be extended on request

French Official holidays & vacations
March 22, 2021 – notifications of acceptance
March 29, 2021 – deadline to confirm participation
June 1, 2021 – camera-ready papers deadline

March 29, 2021 – early-bird registration deadline
April 5, 2021 – regular registration deadline

Please note that there will be no on-site registration procedures;
please ensure your participation by paying the participation fee before April 5, 2020.


Recently, scholars have proclaimed the rise of the platform society (Van Dijck, Poell, & De Waal, 2018). In it, affordances decide what message the medium is; algorithmic intermediaries, commercial corporations, and influencer bloggers compete in bypassing news agencies; and platforms impeach politicians. A myriad ways of simultaneous communication, both individual- and mass-oriented, create extreme connectivity which may lead to extreme power – and may not lead to meaningful conclusions.

Yet, despite this seeming communication singularity where everything happens in parallel, a range of works emphasize the return of structure into communication – or even a new era of hierarchization. Structurally, what are we facing? Is there horizontal co-existence of communication platforms, a multi-level complex of arenas, or a brave new world of (re-)emergent hierarchies?

However, proliferation of platforms, whether horizontal or hierarchical, is only the surface of transformation. As in a house with glass walls, communication continues to be dependent on whether the public/private curtains are drawn or open. And, today, technologies of shaping publics work on dozens of levels, from locking your post for close friends to global targeting on Facebook. At some point, quantity becomes quality: variability of public/private options available for a single communication act changes the nature of human messaging.

Perhaps we need to re-assess not only the elemental complexity of the communication world. It is the fundamental formulas of communication acts, the metaphor of communication flow, the fabric of micro- and macro-deliberation that demand rethinking. And, crucial as never before, the person-level, societal, and global roles of communication architectures – and architects – need to be tied together when envisioned in academe and policing.

Fortunately, communication structures, including transnational platforms, are increasingly studied in context, pressured for transparency, and subjected to neo-imperialist and neo-Marxist criticism (Fuchs 2014). And still, there is scarce evidence of how architectonics of the mediatized public spheres relates to spread of innovation, public memory, or turnovers of public opinion. Cumulative effects of countless likes and shares, just as longitudinal impact of platform constellations, remain under-researched. This is especially true for comparative media studies.

CMSTW’2021 is dedicated to assessing communication architectures on all levels in comparative perspective – from message itself to global information infrastructure, as well as to linking structural and platform features of media and public spheres to policing, knowledge of social inequalities, and theory of human communication. The four traditional tracks of the conference will re-conceptualize the ‘platform society’ (Theory), question the pluses and highlight the minuses of ‘architectured’ communication (Political & Social), put journalism and media into comparative platform perspective (Media Industry & Journalism), and develop approaches to detection of communicative structures (Methods).

Past conferences

‘Comparative Media Studies in Today’s World’ started in 2013 as a pre-conference to the Annual forum ‘Media in the Modern World’, a conference with an over-50-years history at St.Petersburg State University, Russia. Since then, the conference gathered experts in comparative media research, including Paolo Mancini, Larry Gross, Silvio Waisbord, Katrin Voltmer, Nico Carpentier, Mark Deuze, Claudia Mellado, Susanne Fengler, Elena Vartanova, Thomas Hanitzsch, Daya Thussu, Zizi Papacharissi, Barbara Pfetsch, Karin Wahl-Jorgensen and many others.

CMSTW is an integral part of SMIF’2021 - the 60th Annual Forum ‘Media in the Modern World’, the Russian-language part of which will be held in June.

More information on the previous conferences may be found here:

Keynote speakers

Noshir Contractor

Northwestern University, the USA
Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences
Director - SONIC Research Group
Personal page
Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University.

Professor Contractor has been at the forefront of three emerging interdisciplines: network science, computational social science and web science. He is investigating how social and knowledge networks form – and perform – in contexts including business, scientific communities, healthcare and space travel. His book Theories of Communication Networks (co-authored with Peter Monge) received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association.

Recipient of numerous other prizes and awards, including the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association and the Lifetime Service Award from the US Academy of Management, he is now ICA President-Elect-Select for the term of 2021-2022.

Barbie Zelizer

Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Raymond Williams Professor of Communication,
Associate Dean for Research, Director of Center for Media at Risk
Personal page
A former journalist, Barbie Zelizer is known worldwide for her work on journalism, culture, memory and images, particularly in times of crisis. She has authored or edited fourteen books, including the award-winning About To Die: How News Images Move the Public (Oxford, 2010) and Remembering to Forget: Holocaust Memory Through the Camera’s Eye (Chicago, 1998), and over 150 articles, book chapters and essays.

In 2009-2010, she served as ICA President. In 2020, Zelizer was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She is also a recipient of a large number of research fellowships and awards, including those by National Communication Association, Harvard University, Stanford University, Fulbright, and Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Barbie Zelizer is also a media critic, whose work has appeared in The Nation, PBS News Hour, CNN, The Huffington Post, Newsday, Liberation and other media organs, as well as a former Judge of the Peabody Awards for Excellence in Electronic Media. Her work has been translated into French, Korean, Turkish, Romanian, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, and Portuguese.

Thorsten Quandt

Professor of Communication Studies, University of Münster
Director, Center for Digitized Public Spheres Research (ZEDOE)
Personal page
Thorsten Quandt is today Head of Chair of Online Communication at University of Münster and Director of ZEDOE, a leading research center on dititized public spheres.

Professor Quandt was holding the Chair of Online Communication and Interactive Media at the University of Hohenheim from 2009-2012, where he also served as the Director of the Institute of Communication Studies in 2012. From 2007-2008, he was an Assistant Professor of journalism research at the Freie Universitaet Berlin, where he also served as a Guest Professor in 2006. Furthermore, he has been working as a lecturer and researcher at various other universities, including LMU Munich, Berlin University of the Arts, and Technical University Ilmenau. He was also a visiting professor at Stanford University, the University of Oxford, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a visiting scholar at the Indiana University, Bloomington.

He (co-)published more than 100 scientific articles and several books. His work was awarded with several scientific prizes, including various top paper awards. He’s currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Communication, and an Executive Board Member of ECREA. His research and teaching fields include online communication, media innovation research, digital games and journalism. In 2021, he has edited a special issue in Media and Communication on dark participation, the umbrella concept he has suggested for desctructive user behaviors online.

Oscar T. Westlund

Professor at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Editor-in-chief, Digital Journalism
Personal page
Oscar Westlund (PhD) is Professor at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Oslo Metropolitan University, where he leads the OsloMet Digital Journalism Research Group. He holds secondary appointments of associate professorship level at Volda University College and University of Gothenburg (Norway).

Professor Westlund specializes in journalism, media management, and news media consumption for proprietary news media platforms such as news sites and mobile applications, as well as with regards to social media platforms non-proprietary to the news media. His recent research focus has also been on epistemologies of digital news production and disinformation practices, on which he currently leads a research project funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences. His four most recent books were all co-authored/co-edited and published with Routledge in 2020: What is Digital Journalism Studies?, Critical Incidents in Journalism, Definitions of Digital Journalism (Studies), and Mobile News. For his work, he has been awarded a number of international prizes, including the prestigious ICA Journalism Studies Division Outstanding Journal Article of the Year award (shared with Seth Lewis).

Oscar Westlund is the Editor-in-Chief of Digital Journalism, and has also guest edited special issues for a handful other leading international journals. He also hosts a program of international visitorship at OsloMet.


Partners of the conference

Center for International Media Research - CIMRES

Center for German and European Studies
Germany - Russia


Publishing partners

Digital Journalism
SJR Scopus Q1

Future Internet
MDPI Publishing House / SJR Q2

Steering committee

Home Conference 2021 Organizers Keynotes Program Submission Publications and Awards Fees Practicalities

Prof. Katrin Voltmer

University of Leeds
United Kingdom

Prof. Nico Carpentier

Uppsala University
Belgium – Sweden

Dr. Florian Töpfl

Universitaet Passau

Prof. Boguslawa Dobek-Ostrowska

University of Wroclaw

Prof. Kaarle Nordenstreng

University of Tampere

Invited guests

Home Conference 2021 Organizers Keynotes Program Submission Publications and Awards Fees Practicalities

Track chairs

Silvio Waisbord

THEORY chair
George Washington University, USA
Professor; Director, School of Media and Public Affairs
Personal page

Silvio Waisbord is Professor at School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, its Director, and former editor-in-chief of Journal of Communication and International Journal of Press/Politics. His recent books include News of Baltimore: Race, Rage and the City (edited with Linda Steiner, Routledge, 2017), Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights (edited with Howard Tumber, Routledge, 2017), and Media Movements: Civil Society and Media Policy Reform in Latin America (with Soledad Segura, Zed, 2016). In 2021, Routledge Companion to Media Disinformation and Populism co-edited by Howard Tumber and Silvio Waisbord is to be published.

He has lectured and worked in more than 30 countries, published 15 books and written over 100 journal articles, book chapters, and newspaper columns. He serves on the advisory board of the Latin American program of Open Society Foundations. He holds a Licenciatura in sociology from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, San Diego.

Svetlana S. Bodrunova

St.Petersburg University, Russia
Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Personal page
Svetlana S. Bodrunova is habilitated Doctor of Political Science and Professor at School of Journalism and Mass Communications, St.Petersburg State University. She has authored and co-authored two books and over 130 chapters and papers published, i.a., by Journalism, International Journal of Communication, Journalism Practice, Media International Australia, Media and Communication, and publishing houses like Routledge, Springer, and Peter Lang. In 2015-2018, she was co-director of International double-degree Master Program ‘Global Communication and International Journalism’ with Freie Universitaet Berlin (Germany). She now leads the Center for International Media Research (CIMRES) at her university and is a co-founder of CMSTW.

Anna Litvinenko

Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany
Researcher, Institute of Media and Communication Studies
Personal page
Anna Litvinenko is PhD in Letters and works as a researcher at the Digitalization and Participation department of the Institute for Media and Communication Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. In 2007 to 2015, she was lecturer and assistant professor in St.Petersburg State University. She has published over 40 chapters and academic papers in Russian, English, and German in New Media and Society, Journalism, Journalism Practice, Publizistik, Demokratizatsiya, Global Media Journal, as well as in books printed by Routledge and Peter Lang. Since the beginning of 2020, she has been hosting a podcast called ‘Internet & Society’, where scholars discuss different aspects of digitalization and its societal impact. She is also an award-winning journalist, and a co-founder of CMSTW.

Katrin Voltmer

University of Leeds, UK (Professor Emeritus)
Personal page
Katrin Voltmer is Professor Emeritus at the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds where she has for many years taught in the areas of political communication, public opinion, democratization, and political participation. She received her PhD in Political Science from Free University Berlin, Germany.

She has served on the Bureau of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) in 2012–2016 and has been Chair and Vice-Chair of the ECREA Political Communication Section in 2008-2012. She is member of the Editorial Board of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and Associate Editor of Communications. European Journal of Communication Research. She was appointed PRIO Global Fellow in 2017.

Her books include the award-winning Media in Transitional Democracies (2013, Polity) and the edited volumes Mass Media and Political Communication in New Democracies (2006, Routledge) and Media, Communication and the Struggle for Democratic Change. Case Studies on Contested Transitions (2019, Palgrave).

Olessia Koltsova

National Research University - Higher School of Economics, Russia
Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences; Head of Laboratory for Internet Studies (LINIS)
Personal page
Olessia (Elena) Koltsova is a social scienist committed to interdisciplinary research in the sphere of computational communication science. As the director of Laboratory for Social and Cognitive Informatics (formerly – Laboratory for Internet Studies), she leads various collective projects in the sphere of internet and society, as well as in methods of large-scale automatic internet data analysis for social science. In recent years, she has published on online community structure, cognitive and psychological limits to online communication, ethnicity-targeted speech detection, user content topical composition and sentiment, and other topics. Her works have appeared in Internet & Policy, International Journal of Communication, Journal of Information Science, Media and Communication, and other leading journals. She is also the author of News Media and Power in Russia, Routledge, 2006.

Invited discussants

Darren Lilleker
Professor, Bournemouth University
Darren Lilleker is a lecturer and researcher in political communication with particular interests in political party and candidate communication and the link to citizen and voter engagement. The ‘man who watches Westminster’, he leads the Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research. He is also Chair of the Political Communication Research Committee of the International Political Studies Association (IPSA). In 2020, he has become the creative mind behind the Political Communication and COVID-19 (Routledge, 2021).

Submission guidelines

Formatting guidelines

Please use the APA style for your submissions (see the link to a detailed APA style guide here). The page limits are stated upon the ‘Participation formats’ page on this site.

Submission process

The EasyChair submission page for the conference is here.

To be able to submit, please create your account at if you still do not have one. The submission process is quite easy; please follow the instructions in the EasyChair system.

Contact us

In case of any queries, please contact us via

Please note that we still use the CMSTW’2020 email, due to active correspondence about the previous conference.