On the Grand Narrative of Media and Mass Communication Research

Wednesday 20 May, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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In May 2020 the new, updated 7th edition of the seminal handbook McQuail’s Media and Mass Communication Theory will be published. The new edition of Denis McQuail’s (1935-2017) book opens up a debate on integrating, diversifying and globalizing the field of media studies and (mass) communication research.

For this 7th edition, Denis McQuail worked with Mark Deuze until his passing on the outline and structure of the book, after which Mark proceeded with carefully editing, updating and extending the text.

New to this edition:

  • A focus on reconceptualizing ‘mass’ media and communication and media theory in an age of big data, algorithmic culture, AI, platformization, streaming services, and mass self-communication.
  • Further discussion of the ethics of media and mass communication research.
  • Inclusion of a diverse and global range of voices, histories and examples from across the field, fully integrating social scientific and humanities-based perspectives and approaches.
  • More detailed attention to the way media industries work and what it is like to produce media professionally.
  • New and revised material, including a new chapter “A Canon of Media Effects”, helping the reader to rethink and reframe the whole idea of media effects and influence.

Mark Deuze is a Professor at the University of Amsterdam. From 2004 to 2013 he worked at Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications in Bloomington, United States. Publications of his work include over ninety papers in academic journals and books. Deuze’s work has been translated in Chinese, Czech, German, Portuguese, Greek, and Hungarian. He holds a honorary appointment as a Visiting Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (2019-2023), has received a Donald W. Reynolds Fellowship from the Missouri School of Journalism (2015), a visiting Research Fellowship at the Center for International Communications Research of Leeds University (2007), and a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (2003). Weblog: deuze.blogspot.com. E-mail: mdeuze@uva.nl. Mark is also the bass player and singer of Skinflower (new recordings out in April 2020).

Sharing News Online – affective capitalism and the motivation to share

Friday 13 March, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

Seminar followed by book launch

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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There is strong evidence that social media news sharing is influenced by people’s immediate feelings about an event or issue, their emotional investments in story sharing and their affective relations with their social networks.

However, it is also shaped by an industrial system of alerts, algorithms and analytics which gives visibility to content that is more likely to trigger strong participatory responses from media consumers. In this presentation, based on her new book with Associate Professor Tim Dwyer, Sharing News Online: Commendary Cultures & Social Media Ecologies, Dr Fiona Martin examines why the concept of affect is critical to understanding people’s everyday decisions to share information on social media platforms, and why Facebook’s ‘emotional contagion’ survey gives us only partial answers to how our feelings are ripe for manipulation online

Based on research conducted with Associate Professor Virginia Nightingale, she will investigate the cultural context and emotional triggers for news sharing, the news values that make stories shareworthy and the feelings that news evokes. In the talk, she’ll discuss the significant gender and age differences in the emotional states that prompt sharing behaviours, and trace clear affective trajectories in the types of stories shared and the intentions for exchanging them. Sharing News Online was the outcome of an ARC Linkage project (LP140100148) with Share Wars & Nine News.

Fiona Martin is senior lecturer in Online and Convergent Media, in the Dept. Media & Communications, at the University of Sydney. Her current ARC Discovery project is Platform Governance: Rethinking Internet Regulation as Media Policy (DP190100222), with Terry Flew, Nic Suzor, Tim Dwyer, Phil Napoli & Josef Trappel.

Tim Dwyer is Associate Professor in the Dept. Media & Communications, at the University of Sydney. He is author of Convergent Media and Privacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and a member of the Platform Governance team.

Virginia Nightingale was formerly Associate Professor in Media and Communication, University of Western Sydney. She retired in 2010, but came out of retirement to work on the Sharing News Online study.

What can the playful voice teach us about media literacy? – Jacqueline Vickery

Friday 18 October, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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Media education is often built upon democratic ideals of empowering young people to creatively express themselves and “find their voice.” However, youth do not always share these same values, or rather, they may not express them in the same ways as adults. Drawing from experiences leading media workshops for teens in foster care, this talk explores assumptions that both adults and youth make about the value of youth-produced media. At a time when young people are just as likely to learn media codes and conventions from professionally-produced commercial media as they are from memes and amateur digital culture, how does their playful resistance and appropriation of media challenge frameworks of media literacy?

Dr. Jacqueline Ryan Vickery is Associate Professor of Media Arts at the University of North Texas and Director of Research for the Youth Media Lab, a unique collaboration between media researchers and media creators that helps young people use media to create more inclusive and just communities. Drawing from qualitative, feminist, and ethnographic methods, she researches the media practices and representations of marginalized youth, with a particular focus on informal learning, equity, and media literacy. She is the author of “Worried About the Wrong Things: Youth, Risk, and Opportunity in the Digital World” and co-author of “The Digital Edge: How Black and Latino Youth Navigate Digital Inequality.” In the summers she facilitates a storytelling and media workshop for teens in foster care.

Climate Change and the Media: Discussion and Book Launch

Monday 5 November 2018

Discussion: 5.00pm – 6.30pm, Law School Foyer, New Law School, followed by Book Launch: 6.30pm – 8.00pm, Law Lounge, Level 1, New Law School

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Presented by Sydney Environment Institute in partnership with the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney

Over the last twenty five years the weight of evidence about the causes and consequences of climate change has become compelling. The solutions are fairly simple—we must switch to more sustainable and efficient forms of energy production. And yet they remain elusive—globally we produce significantly more greenhouse gases now than we did back in 1990. The sad truth is that this inaction has made climate change inevitable—the only question that remains is whether we can prevent it spiralling out of control.

How do we explain this colossal global failure? The problem is political rather than scientific: we know the risks and we know how to address them, but we lack the political will to do so. The media are pivotal in this equation: they have the power to set the public and the political agenda.

Join an international panel of experts for the Sydney launch of Climate Change and the Mediaedited by Benedetta Brevini and Justin Lewis. The panel will discuss the key themes addressed in book, exploring how and why media coverage has fallen short in communicating both science and the politics of climate change.

Speakers

Peter Hannam, Environment Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
Professor Justin Lewis, University of Cardiff
Dr Alana Mann, Department of Media and Communications
Dr Terry Woronov, Department of Anthropology

Chair

Dr Benedetta Brevini, Department of Media and Communications

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism and Social Media – Professor Axel Bruns

Friday 24 August 2018, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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Social media users now engage almost instinctively in collective and collaborative gatewatching processes as they respond to major breaking news stories, as well as in their day-to- day sharing of interesting articles with their social media contacts. Meanwhile, existing media outlets are increasingly seeking to maximise the shareability of their sto ries via social media, and a number of new players are fundamentally built around providing ‘viral’ content. This talk shows how this impacts on news industry practices and approaches. It reviews the practices of everyday users as they engage with the news, and highlights how enterprising journalists have come to connect and engage with such users. It traces the conflicted responses of journalists and news outlets from their early dismissals to gradual engagement with social media, and asks whether, as journalism is subsumed into social media, news outlets can remain distinctive enough to survive.

Prof. Axel Bruns is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere (2018), Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008), and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and a co -editor of the Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics (2016), Twitter and Society (2014), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (2012), and Uses of Blogs (2006). His current work focusses on the study of user participation in social media spaces such as Twitter, and its implications for our understanding of the contemporary public sphere, drawing especially on innovative new methods for analysing ‘big social data’.

See Axel’s research blog here and he tweets at @snurb_dot_info. More details on his research into social media can be found here.

Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage – Dr Stephen Cushion, Cardiff University

Friday 3 August 2018, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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How elections are reported has important implications for the health of democracy and informed citizenship. But how informative are the news media during campaigns? What kind of logic do they follow? How well do they serve citizens? Based on original research as well as the most comprehensive assessment of election studies to date, Stephen Cushion’s talk will examine how campaigns are reported in many advanced Western democracies. Focusing on the most recent US and UK election campaigns, he consider how the logic of election coverage could be rethought in ways that better serve the democratic needs of citizens.

During the 2017 UK election campaign, his study found broadcasters drew heavily on journalistic judgements about public opinion in vox pops and live two-ways. In doing so, the portrayal of citizens in television news was largely shaped by a relatively narrow set of assumptions made by political journalists about the public’s ideological views rather than conveying a more representative picture of public opinion. As a consequence, at times voters were portrayed as favouring more right- then left-wing policies despite evidence to the contrary.

Cushion thus argues that election reporting should be driven by a public logic, where the agenda of voters takes centre stage in the campaign and the policies of respective political parties receive more airtime and independent scrutiny.

Dr Stephen Cushion is a Reader at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He has also published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on issues related to news, politics and journalism. He is on the editorial board of several leading academic journals, including Journalism StudiesJournalism PracticeJournalism: Theory, Practice and CriticismJournalism Education and Journal of Applied Journalism and Media. He has written three sole authored books, News and Poitics: The Rise of Live and interpretive JournalismThe Democratic Value of News: Why Public Service Media Matter(2012, Palgrave) and Television Journalism (2012, Sage) and one co-authored book, Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage (2018, Polity Press, with Richard Thomas).