Re-imagining Channel 4’s Future

Tom Chivers and I have written a new blogpost for the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre regarding the UK government’s decision not to privatise Channel 4 after all. Please read it here:

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Second edition, The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism

I am very pleased to announce the second edition of The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism has been published.

Book description:

The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism brings together scholars committed to the conceptual and methodological development of news and journalism studies from around the world.

Across 50 chapters, organized thematically over seven sections, contributions examine a range of pressing challenges for news reporting – including digital convergence, mobile platforms, web analytics and datafication, social media polarization, and the use of drones. Journalism’s mediation of social issues is also explored, such as those pertaining to human rights, civic engagement, gender inequalities, the environmental crisis, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Each section raises important questions for academic research, generating fresh insights into journalistic forms, practices, and epistemologies. The Companion furthers our understanding of why we have ended up with the kind of news reporting we have today – its remarkable strengths, the difficulties it faces, and how we might improve upon it for tomorrow.

Completely revised and updated for its second edition, this volume is ideal for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers, and academics in the fields of news, media, and journalism studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The value(s) of truth-seeking in news and journalism

Stuart Allan

PART I Journalism and Democracy

  1. News and the Public Sphere

C.W. Anderson

  1. India’s Imperilled Public Sphere: Challenges to Independent Journalism in the World’s Largest Democracy

Kalyani Chadha

  1. The Political Economy of Contemporary Journalism and the Crisis of Public Knowledge

Peter Golding and Graham Murdock

  1. Journalism and Community Engagement as if Democracy Matters

Lana F. Rakow

  1. The so-called “crisis” of trust in journalism

Rachel E. Moran

  1. Journalists, Epistemology, and Authority

Matt Carlson

  1. Social Roles of Journalism

Tim Vos

  1. Bargaining with local journalism’s value

Kristy Hess and Lisa Waller

PART II Rewriting the Rules of Reporting

  1. Journalism’s Multiple Gods: Objectivity, Its Variants, and Its Rivals

Michael Schudson

  1. Newsroom cultures at risk? Journalism’s reliance on web metrics and analytics

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon and Avery E. Holton

  1. The Changing Status of Women Journalists

Linda Steiner and Dinfin Mulupi

  1. Digital Journalism in China: Media Convergence, the ‘Central Kitchen’ and the Platformization of News

Jing Meng and Shixin Ivy Zhang

  1. Convergent Journalism: Cross-media content strategies to improve the quality of Thai news reporting

Sakulsri Srisaracam

  1. Pop Up Newsrooms: From New Collaborations to Counter Narratives

Melissa Wall

  1. Online trolling of journalists

Silvio Waisbord

PART III News, Mobilities and Data

  1. Witnessing George Floyd: Tracing Black mobile journalism’s rise, impact and enduring questions

Allissa V. Richardson

  1. Mobility, smartphones and news

Andrew Duffy and Oscar Westlund

  1. Journalism and Data Justice: Critically Reporting Datafication

Arne Hintz, Emiliano Treré and Naomi Owen

  1. Balancing between “statistical panic” and “statistical boredom”: News, numbers and narratives in the risk society

Brendan Lawson and An Nguyen

  1. Hybrid journalism

Stephen D. Reese

  1. Podcast journalism and performative transparency

Mia Lindgren

  1. Drone journalism: the invisibility of the aerial view

Jonas Harvard

PART IV Crisis, Conflict and War Reporting

  1. News reporting of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from the Global South

Sara Chinnasamy and Felipe F. Salvosa II

  1. Risk journalism and globalized crisis ecologies: Journalists as ‘cosmopolitan’ actors

Ingrid Volkmer

  1. Video Journalism and Human Rights

Sandra Ristovska

  1. Beyond verification: UGC as embodied testimony in conflict news

Lilie Chouliaraki and Omar Al-Ghazzi

  1. The Ethics of War Reporting

Donald Matheson

  1. News Reporting of Pakistan and the War on Terror

Shahzad Ali and Ahmer Safwan

  1. Photojournalism and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan

Stuart Allan

PART V Representing Realities

  1. Journalism and Environmental Futures

Libby Lester

  1. News reporting of poverty and inequality

Jairo Lugo-Ocando

  1. Journalism and Gender Violence

Lisa Cuklanz

  1. Women in Sports News: Challenges posed by the emergence of popular feminism

Erin Whiteside

  1. Celebrity News Online: Changing Media, Actors, and Stories

Anne Jerslev and Mette Mortensen

  1. Girls, News, and Public Cultures

Cynthia Carter and Kaitlynn Mendes

  1. Socially Responsible Journalism: Diverse Responses to Polarisation

Laura Ahva

PART VI Envisioning Alternative Journalisms

  1. News Audiences and the Challenges of Digital Citizenship

Chris Peters

  1. Contextualizing Citizen Visual Journalism: Narrative and Testimony

Mary Angela Bock

  1. Citizen Journalism, electoral conflict and peace-building processes in Kenya and Zimbabwe

Jacinta Maweu and Admire Mare

  1. Journalism and counterpublics: Is journalism for all the people?

Bolette B. Blaagaard

  1. News Literacy Practice in a Culture of Infodemic

Paul Mihailidis

  1. Journalism and Ethnoracial Minorities

Sherry S. Yu and George L. Daniels

  1. Teaching innovation and entrepreneurship. Journalism students as change agents?

Marcel Broersma and Jane B. Singer

PART VII Globalising Journalisms

  1. Comparing journalistic cultures across nations

Folker Hanusch

  1. Fringe Benefits: Weekly Magazines and Access Journalism in Japan

David McNeill and Kaori Hayashi

  1. Arab Investigative Journalism: Exploring Processes of Cultural Change

Saba Bebawi

  1. Theorizing Journalism and the Global South

Bruce Mutsvairo and Kristin Skare Orgeret

  1. Mapping anti-press violence in Latin America: Prospects for reform

Mireya Márquez-Ramírez

  1. Devalued News Workers in the Labor of International Journalism: Local Stringers and Fixers

Lyndsay Palmer

  1. Digital journalistic cultures on social media

Claudia Mellado


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New article about the public value of Public Service Broadcasting

Tom Chivers and I are pleased to share a new article published in the peer-reviewed journal Cultural Trends:

Chivers, T. and Allan, S. (2022) ‘A public value typology for public service broadcasting in the UK,’ Cultural Trends. Available at:

Abstract: Rapid changes in audience habits, media technologies and market dynamics have prompted searching questions about the role and relevance of public service broadcasting (PSB) in the modern digital media landscape. In the UK, where cultural policymaking is increasingly politicised, the normative ideals traditionally associated with PSB are being openly contested. This article evaluates how PSB generates varied forms of “public value” of benefit to viewing and listening publics, policy stakeholders and the creative sector. On the basis of its qualitative analysis of policy documents and related research literatures over two decades, a typology of six values – social, cultural, economic, industrial, representational and civic – is identified and critiqued across regulatory and institutional frameworks. In assessing the challenges, risks and opportunities for sustaining these public values, this article offers its typology for informing cultural and media policy debates on the future of PSB in the UK and beyond.

Any problems accessing it, please let me know.

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DCMS consultation on ‘A change of ownership of Channel 4 Television Corporation’

Just over a year ago, Tom Chivers and I co-wrote a submission of written evidence in response to the ‘Consultation on a change of ownership of Channel 4 Television Corporation,’ Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (14 September, 2021). This DCMS consultation called for views and evidence on the potential change of ownership of Channel 4 Television Corporation.

Our submission is now in the public domain via the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (Nesta, London). Any and all comments welcome!

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New Discussion Paper

Pleased to share with you Eva Nieto McAvoy‘s and my study, ‘Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the arts and cultural sector: British newspaper reporting of the Culture Recovery Fund,’ published by the AHRC-funded Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (London: Nesta).

Here is the abstract:

This Discussion Paper presents the findings of a study examining British
newspaper coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the cultural and
creative industries (CCIs) from 1 January to 31 December 2020 (n.4,162). It
assesses the broad contours of this coverage before focusing on a pivotal week
– 3 to 10 July – where we find the highest concentration of items reporting on
the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) and on freelancers in the arts and cultural
sector (n.215). We explore the following questions: (1) how are issues central to
the Culture Recovery Fund and freelancers framed / represented in the
coverage? (2) How is the government response to the crisis in the cultural and
creative industries characterised and responsibility attributed?; (3) what actors
(sectors, institutions, locations) are present in the coverage, which ones are the
key sources, and how are their views represented? We found that the framing of
the issues in news items mostly offered narrow parameters of discussion, proving
overly reliant upon official press releases, and affording space to a limited range
of voices.

Available for free here. All comments and suggestions welcome!

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New blog posts on Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) in the UK

Tom Chivers and I have published two new posts on the PSB Blog with the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) website (Nesta, London).

Chivers, T. and Allan, S. (2022) ‘Privatising Channel 4: The evidence behind the debate,’ 12 April, Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre. London: Nesta.

Allan, S. and Chivers, T. (2022) ‘Envisioning Broadcasting Anew: Responding to the White Paper on the future of UK broadcasting policy,’ 11 May, Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre. London: Nesta.

Please follow Tom and me on Twitter for further posts.

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New articles in The Conversation and

Chivers, T. and Allan, S. (2022) ‘BBC funding: licence fee debate risks overlooking value of UK’s public broadcasters,’ The Conversation, 19 January.

“The proposed two-year freeze in the TV licence fee has prompted a lively debate about BBC funding…

Here is a link to our (free) article, a version in The Western Mail, plus an earlier one (also free) published by CITYAM newspaper and website:

Chivers, T. and Allan, S. (2022) ‘In an age of Netflix, Britain’s public broadcasters must step up to the challenge,’, 11 January.

“The BBC has become a lightning rod for debate over the role of public service broadcasting and its role in our society. As the broadcaster prepares for its mid-term charter review and Channel 4 faces down the challenge of privatisation, we must re-evaluate how we look at the notion of maximum possible benefit to the public…”

Please see other Public Service Broadcasting research published by the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre.

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What is the Public Value of Public Service Broadcasting?

Pleased to share a discussion paper Tom Chivers and I have co-written:

Chivers, T. and Allan, S. (2022) ‘What is the Public Value of Public Service Broadcasting?: Exploring challenges and opportunities in evolving media contexts,’ Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre. London: Nesta.

This discussion paper elaborates the concept of ‘public value’ to inform an evaluative
framework for examining public service broadcasting (PSB) in the UK, particularly with
respect to emerging debates on the future of policy-making in rapidly evolving media
contexts. We begin with a case study of the implementation of public value tests at the
BBC from 2004 to the present day, analysing how this strategic concept has
encapsulated a varying set of principles, regulatory objectives, political challenges
and economic pressures facing the UK’s largest public service broadcaster. Following
this, we offer a prospective typology of six values — social, cultural, economic,
industrial, representational and civic value — for defining and assessing the public
benefits of PSB within a new media ecology. In so doing, we discern various tensions
warranting greater attention in forthcoming discussions regarding a renewed policy
settlement for the UK’s PSB model.

Please click this link for a PDF copy. All comments and suggestions welcome!

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Today – 12 noon – Citizen journalism in China

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New article in Digital Journalism

Hoping you are well.

I’m pleased to say a conceptual article Chris Peters and I have co-authored has appeared in the journal Digital Journalism. DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2021.1903958

‘Weaponizing Memes: The Journalistic Mediation of Visual Politicization’

Chris Peters & Stuart Allan

This article develops the concept of “mimetic weaponization” for theory-building. Memes recurrently serve as identificatory markers of affiliation across social media platforms, with ensuing controversies potentially proving newsworthy. Our elaboration of weaponization refers to the purposeful deployment of memetic imagery to disrupt, undermine, attack, resist or reappropriate discursive positions pertaining to public affairs issues in the news. For alt-right memetic conflicts, impetuses range from “sharing a joke” to promoting “alternative facts,” rebuking “political correctness” or “wokeness,” defending preferred framings of “free speech,” or signalling cynicism, distrust or dissent with “mainstream” media, amongst other drivers. Of particular import, we argue, is the politics of othering at stake, including in the wider journalistic mediation of a meme’s public significance. Rendering problematic this contested process, this article focuses on Pepe the Frog as an exemplar, showing how and why variations of this mimetic cartoon have been selectively mobilized to help normalize – ostensibly through humour, parody or satire – rules of inclusion and exclusion consistent with hate-led agendas. Digital journalism, we conclude, must improve its capacity to identify and critique mimetic weaponization so as to avoid complicity in perpetuating visceral forms of prejudice and discrimination so often presented as “just a bit of fun.”

If you would like to read a free copy, please click here.

All comments welcome, of course (email probably best!)

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