Three-D Issue 18: Policy Network Report

Máire Messenger Davies
University of Ulster

As reported in the last Three-D, media policy issues have been almost constantly in the headlines, and thus also of major concern to many academics; this is particularly due to the phone-hacking story and the Leveson inquiry, which have also raised issues about the teaching of ethics (or lack of it) and journalism training.

A number of panels at our annual conference at the University of Bedfordshire in January testified to the ongoing importance of these issues – Julian Petley on privacy; Steve Barnett and Ivor Gaber as keynote speakers talking about their research on broadcast news; a panel exploring the legacy of Wapping with Sylvia Harvey, Tom O’Malley, Máire Messenger Davies and the President of the NUJ Donacha DeLong, standing in at short notice for ‘Wapping refusenik’ Pat Healy (heartfelt thanks to him). Network colleagues Prof Steve Barnett, University of Westminster, Prof James Curran, Goldsmiths and Prof Julian Petley are among a number of academics who have submitted evidence to the ongoing Leveson inquiry (http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/) which continues to stimulate academic debate both within and outside the Network. The Network’s original goals of enabling academics to interact with, and seek mutually useful working arrangements with, different civil society groups is being more than achieved at the moment.

Meetings & events

The last Three-D discussed policy-related events and meetings around the country: in London at (LSE), in Cardiff (one at Cardiff University, the other at the University of Glamorgan) and Belfast. Policy issues are regularly on the agenda for universities all over the country, and a key Policy Network function is not to try to duplicate them, but to draw them to members’ attention and to encourage further comment and action, including research collaboration, arising from them. Further events in the media policy area include:

24 February 2012:
News of the World: A Study Day’,King’s College London,

20 March 2012:
Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar: ‘Priorities for press regulation’, with Lord Hunt of Wirral, Chairman, Press Complaints Commission and Professor Steven Barnett, University of Westminster, among many others.

2-4 April 2012:
A ‘landmark media conference’ hosted by the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre: ‘Media, Power & Revolution: Making the 21st Century’
Senate House, London.

May 16 2012:
Media Reform public summit, Central Hall, Westminster; email info@mediareform.org.uk (see below for details of the Media Reform group) with any suggested speakers.

Public debate

A group of Policy Network members wrote to the Guardian on ‘illegality and cover up at News Corp’.

Dr Jonathan Hardy gave a speech to the Oxford Media Convention on 25 January 2012 outlining proposals for media pluralism.

See also the regular blogs at the LSE Media Policy Project, including a very useful Leveson roundup.

The Media Reform group coordinator can be contacted at Tel 07505 053 553 and further information can be found on their website or by contacting Justin Schlosberg at mediareformcommittee@gmail.com.

Other useful weblinks of interest to media policy researchers:

Hacked Off website: www.hackinginquiry.org

Leveson hearings contact: rachel.clark@levesoninquiry.gsi.gov.uk

The Leveson site is an invaluable resource for teaching media policy, journalism practice and ethics, and will be even more valuable for media historians in the future, I suspect. It contains a number of submissions and witness statements from academics on media reform, journalism training and legal and ethical issues.

Future events

Ideas for Policy Network events especially in Scotland and Northern England are welcome

Meanwhile, please note: January 9-11 2013: next MeCCSA conference at the University of Ulster, Derry/Londonderry: ‘Spaces and Places of Culture’; media policy in the widest sense will be on the agenda; speakers include Prof Roy Greenslade, City University & the Guardian, and Chair of REF Main Panel D, Prof Bruce Brown. See:
www.arts.ulster.ac.uk/meccsa2013

Posted by Einar Thorsen