Professor Jackie Harrison

BA (Hallam), PhD (Sheffield)

Department of Journalism Studies

Head of department

Professor of Public Communication

UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity

A profile photograph of Professor Jackie Harrison.
j.harrison@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 2509

Full contact details

Professor Jackie Harrison
Department of Journalism Studies
229
9 Mappin Street
Sheffield
S1 4DT
Profile

Jackie joined the Department of Journalism Studies as a lecturer in September 1996 and was appointed Professor of Public Communication in January 2005. She served a period as Head of Department from September 2007 and has chaired the Centre for Freedom of the Media since September 2008. She read public administration for her first degree and her PhD was an analysis of the culture of production of terrestrial television news in Britain.

Jackie has served as an expert advisor for the European Commission and for several global media companies on media regulation matters, the role and future of news and news journalism, the development of media infrastructure and the use of media capital and newsroom convergence. She has acted as an expert adviser on EU broadcasting regulation to the Taiwanese National Communication Committee and the Taiwanese Industry Experts Cable TV Forum. She was an expert witness on a judicial review of Irish radio licences and has served on several professional journalism committees. She serves on the editorial board of the community newspaper The Maltby News. Jackie is also a member of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC's) Peer Review College.

Research interests

Overview

Jackie's area of expertise is the civil role and power of the news. Her research examines three particular aspects of this: the architecture and culture of the news; the mediation of civil society and social identity by the news; and issues of news freedom and standards. She has written extensively in these areas.

Other research projects include:

  • monitoring media violations and freedom for the Media Subcommittee, Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE)
  • Media Freedom in Europe, for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Public Service Broadcasting in the EU for the Soros Foundation
  • the use of user-generated content at the BBC, for the British Academy
  • six funded research projects for the UK television industry.

Further information

The civil power of the news

Jackie approaches the civil power of the news through three specific interrelated lines of inquiry, as follows.

The architecture and culture of news

Here Jackie looks at the difference between the ideal and normative structures of news and its quotidian constituent features, the different cultures of production and ultimately how the news deals with issues of truth and truthfulness, particularly the issues of accuracy and sincerity, the use and reproduction of spatial and symbolic stories, imaginative geographies and histories and the problem of trust.

The mediation of civil and social identity

Here Jackie examines the ability of news to influence civil discourse. That is to promote different and intelligible versions of the civil and the un-civil, the social and the anti-social via its formal and informal ability to influence our dispositions, attitudes, emotions and desires and, through this our understanding of civil boundaries, inclusion and exclusion.

Jackie also looks at the institutions of news, the different models of public service communication (PSC) which mediate public services for both civil (democratic) and social (welfare) purposes.

Issues of freedom, regulation and standards

Here Jackie focuses on different legal and policy regimes, self-regulation and codes of conduct and the concomitant risks of direct (and indirect) censorship; the failures and abuses of news media freedom and declining news standards across the world; the difference between journalism and partisan journalism, investigative news journalism and attack journalism; agenda-setting and modern forms of spin and news manipulation; the blurring of the distinctions between factual reporting and unsubstantiated opinion; the use of user-generated content and the wider use of interactivity between news media and audience or readers and more recently the significance of post integrated news journalism.


Centre for Freedom of the Media

Jackie chairs the interdisciplinary research body Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) at the University of Sheffield. CFOM studies issues of media freedom and standards.

It is a unique university-based body which will for the first time brings together journalists, experts and scholars of the media, with public figures and the newsmakers themselves to research and evaluate the role of free and independent news media in building and maintaining political and civil freedom and maintaining the highest standards of news reporting around the world.

The founding principle of CFOM is to illuminate where news media freedom is undermined or abused and to examine news media standards of independence and truthfulness through the study of:

  • the contested nature of the terms 'media freedom' and 'freedom of expression'
  • areas of global conceptual commonality with regard to media freedom, standards and governance
  • the behaviour of governments
  • the effects of laws and regulation/deregulation
  • the new media landscape opened up by fast-changing and new technologies
  • the effects of increasing commercialisation of the media sector on news media
  • the effectiveness of the media as civil journalism
  • the links between media freedom and other parts of civil society and democracy
Publications

Books

  • Harrison J (2019) ISBN 978-3-030-19380-5. London: Palgrave. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J (2019) The Civil Power of the News. Springer International Publishing. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Mason S (2017) News. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Amos, J , Harrison, J & Woods, L (2012) Freedom of expression and the media. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff
Publishers/Brill Academic. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Amos M, Harrison J & Woods L (2012) Freedom of Expression and the Media: the application of legal standards to journalistic practice. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J (2010) The development of a European Civil Society through EU public service communication. Palgrave Macmillan. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison JL & Wessels B (2009) Mediating Europe: Mass media in contemporary European culture. New York: Berghahn. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J & Woods L (2007) European Broadcasting Law and Policy. Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gunter B & Harrison J (1998) Violence on television: An analysis of amount, nature, location and origin of violence in British programmes. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Gunter B, Harrison J & Wykes M () Violence on Television. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

  • Harrison J & Wessels B (Ed.) (2009) Mediating Europe: New media, mass communications and the European public sphere. Berghahn Books. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Pukallus S & Harrison J (2015) If media freedom and media pluralism are fundamental values in the European Union why doesn't the European Union do anything to ensure their application?, Comparative Perspectives on the Fundamental Freedom of Expression (pp. 368-387). View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J (2013) European social purpose and public service communication, Mapping the European Public Sphere: Institutions, Media and Civil Society (pp. 99-113). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison JL (2011) Gatekeeping and News Selection as Symbolic Mediation In Allan S (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism (pp. 191-201). London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J (2010) The development of a European Civil Society through EU public service communication In Papathanassopoulos, S & Negrine, R (Ed.), Communications Policy: Theories and Issues (pp. 81-96). Palgrave Macmillan RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison JL (2010) European Social Purpose and Public Service Communication In Cristiano Bee EB & Bozzini E (Ed.), Mapping the European Public Sphere: institutions, media and civil society (pp. 99-116). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J (2009) Introduction: Mediating Europe and the public sphere In Harrison J & Wessels B (Ed.), Mediating Europe: New Media, Mass Communications, and the European Public Sphere (pp. 1-24). Berghahn Books RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J (2008) Exploring news values: The ideal and the real, Broadcast Journalism: A Critical Introduction (pp. 59-68). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Albertazzi D () The Media Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Chapman J () Broadcast Journalism Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Franklin B () Pulling Newspapers Apart Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • Poindexter P, Meraz S & Schmitz Weiss A () Women, Men and News Routledge RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers

  • Jiang Y, Song X, Harrison J, Quegan S & Maynard D (2017) Comparing Attitudes to Climate Change in the Media using sentiment analysis based on Latent Dirichlet Allocation. Proceedings of the 2017 EMNLP Workshop: Natural Language Processing meets Journalism, September 2017 - September 2017. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Amos M, Harrison J & Woods L (2012) Introduction: Freedom of expression and the media. Nijhoff Law Specials, Vol. 79 (pp 1-17) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Harrison J (2012) Freedom of expression: The BBC and user generated content. Nijhoff Law Specials, Vol. 79 (pp 169-187) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Amos M, Harrison J & Woods L (2012) Conclusion: Utilising a human rights framework. Nijhoff Law Specials, Vol. 79 (pp 237-255) RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching activities

Jackie teaches mainly about the nature of news and its importance in contemporary societies. This is based on her research interests which focus on competing views about news media freedom and standards worldwide. Specifically, she encourages students to think critically about the role of news in society, the diverse way news gathering is undertaken, combined with considerations of how it should be undertaken and the problems facing news organisations because of new forms of governmental, technological and commercial pressures in the 21st century.

Emphasising the importance of thinking about these things from an interdisciplinary perspective, Jackie enthuses students about the diverse, changing and challenging subject matter under discussion to help them to develop and refine an intellectual skill set of the kind required by modern news journalism. Her teaching seeks both to help a transition into the job market by providing students with a competitive edge when seeking employment and also to open up the possibilities of further academic study.

Jackie teaches using lectures, participatory seminars and workshop-based sessions focusing on specific issues and sometimes via external speakers. Currently her teaching is on the module JNL6029 Communicating with the Media.

Current PhD students
  • Sara Torsner: The design and structure of Journalism Safety Trends (JSTs) data sets as indicators of the threats to the practice of free journalism in hostile environments
  • Jean-Claude Kayumba: UN Peacekeeping missions: the contested role of UN Media in post-conflict reconstruction contexts. A case study of Democratic Republic of Congo

Future candidates are particularly welcome in Jackie's principal research areas.