Research news in brief

A round-up of the most recent research activities from the The School of Journalism, Media and Communication.

Emma speaking with a group of local people in Niger.

Radio, women and community in Niger society

Dr Emma Heywood has visited a radio station in Niger to assess the impact of its women-related programming.

Emma, who researches the role of media in conflict-hit regions of the world, travelled to the capital city of Niamey in April, spending several days with Studio Kalangou. The station broadcasts a two-hour daily news programme aiming to promote civil cohesion and unity, aiding development in one of the world’s poorest nations.

Women in Niger suffer early marriage, widespread domestic violence, polygamy and low levels of education, yet carry the full burden of educating, raising and providing for the family. Studio Kalangou raises awareness of these issues with specific content related to women but speaking to all genders.

The studio is backed by Swiss NGO Fondation Hirondelle, which facilitated Emma’s visit.

Emma returns to Niamey in June to organise a knowledge exchange workshop bringing together community leaders, journalists and radio stations to investigate how best to address women's empowerment in the months to come.

'Essential reading' on terror coverage

A new book by Dr Jared Ahmed has been described as “essential reading for anyone interested in al Qaeda, terrorism, the media and the war on terror”.

Drawing on the philosophy of Michel Foucault, The BBC, The 'War on Terror' and the Discursive Construction of Terrorism analyses the shifting portrayals of the al-Qaeda group offered to viewers of the BBC’s News at Ten programme in the years since the 9/11 attacks.

The words of praise come from Professor Richard Jackson at the University of Otago, New Zealand – another expert on media portrayals of war and terror.

In another review, Professor Ben O’Loughlin of Royal Holloway University writes: “In a time marked by uncertainty and anxiety, Ahmad shows how BBC News struggled to offer informed reporting on Al-Qaeda… This important research should be read by journalists, citizens and scholars, for we face the same struggle to make sense of ISIS now and we will face other obscure and shifting threats in the future.”

The BBC, The 'War on Terror' and the Discursive Construction of Terrorism is published by Palgrave MacMillan’s as part of the ‘New Security Challenges’ series.

News values paper hailed as 'classic'

The International Communication Association (ICA) has given official recognition to a paper co-authored by Dr Tony Harcup – describing it as “a born classic”.

At the ICA’s annual conference in Prague the paper ‘What is News? News values revisited (again)’ received an honourable mention in the Wolfgang Donsbach Article of the Year Award – placing it in the top three of all publications nominated.

The paper is a follow-up to the seminal ‘What is News?’ study published in 2001, which has become one of the most influential works in the field of news values. Both works were co-authored with by Tony with Dr Deirdre O’Neill, formerly of the University of Huddersfield.

Judges hailed the new work as “a born classic, continuing a long legacy of newsworthiness studies”, adding: “This paper will resonate in the journalism studies community and inspire teachers, students and researchers around the world.”

Piers Robinson addressing the Saint-Cyr military academy.

Piers addresses French military cadets

Professor Piers Robinson has shared his research on media, conflict and propaganda with officer cadets at France’s top military academy.

The Saint-Cyr Special Military School in Brittany invited Piers to present his work as part of a ‘Future Wars Seminar’ exploring geopolitical tensions which may escalate into future international conflicts.

Piers gave a presentation entitled ‘Media Failure, Government Propaganda and the “war on terror” from 9/11 to Syria’.

New edition of McNae's media law guide

A new edition of the famous media law textbook co-authored by Mark Hanna has been published by Oxford University Press.

Now in its 60th year and 24th edition, McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists has been updated to cover several areas of current interest. These include avoiding intrusion into privacy, contesting unnecessary restrictions on court reporting, and protecting sources from state surveillance.

The book is widely seen as an indispensable guide to the subject for both practising journalists and students.

McNae’s is published in partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists, which held a launch event on 6 June featuring Gillian Phillips, director of editorial legal services at The Guardian.

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