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  • Journalism Research Group

The Journalism research group aims to investigate the key challenges facing journalism in the twenty-first century, including: the inadequacies in the business models for both traditional and new forms of journalism; the question of how to preserve and promote the highest standards of quality news journalism at a time when they are coming increasingly under threat; problematic changes to journalism working conditions and practices; and the problem of how to engage and retain the attention of the audience for news in an age that presents it with an increasing number of alternatives and distractions. The group also has a core focus on the relationship between journalism and various forms of democracy. It is particularly known for two books that it has published in this field (The Future of Journalism in the Advanced Democracies (Ashgate, 2007) and The Future of Quality News Journalism: a cross continental analysis (Routledge, 2013). These two volumes investigate the future of journalism across the globe.

The group's depth and breadth of journalistic experience is renowned within the industry and is reflected in an expanding range of prestigious research publications. Work in this area is led by the School’s Research Director, Peter Anderson.

Expertise and Subject Areas

The Future of Journalism/Communication

Peter Anderson is the initiator of The Future of Journalism series, being lead editor for and contributing several chapters to The Future of Journalism in the Advanced Democracies (Ashgate, 2007) and taking on the same role for The Future of Quality News Journalism: a cross continental analysis (Routledge, 2013), which has been issued in the publisher’s ‘Research in Journalism’ series. Team members have been regular participants in international conferences on the future of journalism, with Anderson recently being externally funded to speak in Leiden and Oslo, for example, and Nel, Egglestone and Ogola speaking at conferences in the USA and South Africa. With Egglestone, Anderson has also published a unique analysis, with detailed accompanying case study, of how the quality of BBC news online can be measured and improved. He has recently taken on two new PhD students as part of the team’s journalism futures initiative. One is exploring future strategies for news narrative among other things, while the other is looking at how the press operation of the European Parliament might better take advantage of the opportunities opened up by new technologies and social networking. Egglestone has been at the forefront of research developments relating to the use of bespoke digital design and innovation to facilitate the practice of both community journalism and community participation and currently is working, among other things, on a key project investigating the most effective ways of using interactive print technology in newspaper production. He has received substantial amounts of external funding to facilitate his work from a number of bodies including the AHRC and the EPSRC and his recent research partners include MIT.

The African news media and the global south

George Ogola’s work sits within a well established international dialogue on the African news media and his ideas are developed within the regular web/conference interchanges between the members of that conversation, one that stretches across Kenyan, South African, American and UK universities. In the face of constantly evolving new media technologies, he is keen on understanding their impact on the broader media ecology in the developing world, but more particularly how they address questions of power and democratization. This is also an important part of his work as a core member of the Media Innovation Studio. He has an on-going book project on political pluralism and media liberalization in East Africa and in 2013 co-edited and contributed to a book for Routledge examining the future of quality news in the developed and developing world. He leads also a small but growing team of international PhD students working in this area.

Journalism and Politics/Democracy

Team members have extensive experience of writing analytically about politics and the relationship between journalism and democracy. As can be seen from the entry for the African news media, George Ogola has produced some significant work focussing specifically on news in one of the world’s most complex continents. Peter Anderson has published a number of authored and co-authored/edited books (with Routledge, Continuum, Longman, Ashgate and Rodopi) and journal articles on both politics and journalism and democracy since 1996, including articles in the Journal of Common Market Studies, the European Journal of Communication, Journalism, theory, practice and criticism and European Studies: An Interdisciplinary Series in European Culture, History and Politics. He has been externally funded to speak at a number of international conferences on these themes and has been funded by, for example, the UK Foreign Office to produce consultancy reports on matters directly relating to political communication. Egglestone also has worked with Anderson in this field, producing a chapter on the future of television political journalism in The Future of Journalism in the Advanced Democracies. As mentioned above, Egglestone has been a key participant in a prestigious ESPRC funded community journalism project, BESPOKE, among other things, the published outcomes of which include an article detailing the project’s unique contribution to enhancing the relationship between journalism and local democracy within one of the UK’s toughest housing estates.

Impact

The Journalism team’s work on the press and information services of the European Union has had a significant impact both within the EU and on the thinking of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as evidenced by, for example, written testimonies from a senior German member of the European Parliament and a high ranking FCO official.

Its work in helping one of the UK’s largest media corporations adjust to the needs of the digital age has been confirmed to have had a significant impact by senior management within the company.

In addition, the School’s Media Innovation Studio straddles the various research teams and the cross-membership between the Journalism team and the Studio has been responsible for the following activities, the first two of which have had impacts on identifiable communities and the third of which has had a significant impact upon parts of the news industry in the UK and elsewhere:

  • Development of the "Insight Journalism" research methodology
  • Development of Citizen Media and Content Bureaus throughout Kenya
  • Through the Interactive Newsprint project, development of a new platform for community news using cutting-edge printed electronics technology.

Events and News

The Journalism team has in recent years played host to the Harris lectures, delivered by leading figures in the news industry and a variety of research events involving major media companies and key research staff. It was a core contributor to the School’s two day research symposiums in 2010 and 2012.

The Journalism team will be participating with colleagues from Film, Media and Culture, MIS and Photography in the School’s third international research symposium in July 2014. Further details will be announced in the spring.

Courses and Postgraduate Study

The School has a growing community of UK and international research students working towards both Masters by Research and PhDs. The Journalism team welcomes applications from those wishing to undertake research degrees.

Members

 

Peter Anderson, Professor in Journalism and its Political Context and School Research Director (group leader)

Amy Binns, Senior Lecturer

Clare Cook, Senior Lecturer

Catherine Darby, Senior Lecturer

Paul Egglestone, Director of the Media Innovation Studio

Julie Freer, Journalism Division Leader

Andrew Hobbs, Senior Lecturer

John Mills, Research Assistant

Francois Nel, Senior Lecturer

George Ogola, Senior Lecturer

Deborah Robinson, Senior Lecturer