Professor Jackie Harrison
BA (Hallam), PhD (Sheffield)
School of Journalism, Media and Communication
Professor of Public Communication
Head of department
UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity
+44 114 222 2509
Full contact details
School of Journalism, Media and Communication
2 Whitham Road
Jackie Harrison is Professor of Public Communication, UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity and has been chair of the interdisciplinary research institute Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) since 2008. She joined the School of Journalism, Media and Communication as a lecturer in September 1996 and was appointed Professor of Public Communication in January 2005.
As UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity, Jackie actively promotes in-depth collaborative academic research with centres of expertise, media and NGOs, governments and international bodies on issues of journalism safety, media freedom, freedom of expression, media capture and the effectiveness of the media as a civil institution.
Jackie is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and has worked with the UK government’s Multilateral Policy Directorate, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; the International Affairs Unit, Committee Office, House of Commons; and the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and appeared before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. She has advised the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as well as the regulator Ofcom and undertaken research for the press regulator IPSO. More widely, she has contributed to reports for the Media Subcommittee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and written a research report for UNESCO on the problem of the use of impunity for crimes against journalists.
She has acted as an expert advisor for the European Commission with regard to media freedom and safety and contributed to the 2012 UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity and its implementation strategy. As a UNESCO chair Jackie is frequently called upon to contribute to UN and UNESCO fora on journalism safety and media freedom. She served as an adviser to the Taiwanese National Communication Committee and the Taiwan Industry Experts Cable TV Forum on European media regulation and convergence, as an expert witness in a judicial review of a disputed radio licence award in Dublin and on several professional journalism committees.
Jackie has written about the civil power of the news; media freedom and the use of the factual mass media in post-conflict reconstruction and sustainable peace. She is currently researching how and in what ways the civil sphere and its institutional infrastructure of news journalism is variously diminished by, or occasions resistance to, changing civil circumstances.
- Research interests
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.
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
- The Civil Power of the News. Palgrave Macmillan.
- ISBN 978-3-030-19380-5. London: Palgrave.
- European Broadcasting Law and Policy. Cambridge University Press.
- News. London: Routledge.
- Violence on television: Distribution, Form, Context, and Themes. Lawrence Erlbaum.
- Terrestrial TV News in Britain The Culture of Production. Manchester University Press.
- Violence on television: An analysis of amount, nature, location and origin of violence in British programmes. Routledge.
- News. Routledge.
- Freedom of Expression and the Media: the application of legal standards to journalistic practice. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
- Mediating Europe: Mass media in contemporary European culture. New York: Berghahn.
- Mediating Europe: New media, mass communications and the European public sphere. Berghahn Books.
- The Independent Press Standards Organisation and accuracy: A comparative study of complaints-handling procedures in four UK newspapers. Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies.
- From repression to oppression: News journalism in Turkey 2013-2018. Media, Culture and Society, 42(7-8), 1443-1460. View this article in WRRO
- Strengthening the monitoring of violations against journalists through an events-based methodology. Media and Communication, 8(1), 89-100. View this article in WRRO
- The Politics of Impunity: a study of journalists’ experiential accounts of impunity in Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mexico and Pakistan. Journalism. View this article in WRRO
- Shooting the messengers. British Journalism Review, 28(2), 59-64.
- The European Community's Public Communication Policy 1951-1967. Contemporary European History, 24(2), 233-251. View this article in WRRO
- Atheism, Christianity and the British Press: Press Coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 State Visit to the UK. Implicit Religion, 18(1), 77-105. View this article in WRRO
- Journalists die: who cares?. British Journalism Review, 26(1), 63-68.
- The Mediation of the Distinction of “Religion” and “Politics” by the UK Press on the Occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s State Visit to the UK. Political Theology, 16(4), 329-345.
- The democratic value of news: Why public service media matter. BRITISH POLITICS, 8(3), 383-384.
- Censorship by Bullet. British Journalism Review, 24(1), 39-46.
- USER-GENERATED CONTENT AND GATEKEEPING AT THE BBC HUB. JOURNALISM STUD, 11(2), 243-256.
- Digital Britain: Civil aims and the BBC. Communications Law, 14(4), 112-117.
- Ofcom, local TV and public purpose. Communications Law, 13(1), 3-8.
- CRITICAL FOUNDATIONS AND DIRECTIONS FOR THE TEACHING OF NEWS JOURNALISM. Journalism Practice, 1(2), 175-189.
- A new public service communication environment? Public service broadcasting values in the reconfiguring media. NEW MEDIA SOC, 7(6), 834-853.
- Journalists at digital television newsrooms in Britain and Spain: workflow and multi‐skilling in a competitive environment. Journalism Studies, 5(1), 87-100.
- Defining European public service broadcasting. EUR J COMMUN, 16(4), 477-504.
- Ending of the Waco Siege: A ‘Ghoulish Compact’ between Television and the Police?. Modern Believing, 42(1), 14-25.
- A Review of Religious Broadcasting on British Television. Modern Believing, 41(4), 3-15.
- European citizenship: Can audio-visual policy make a difference?. J COMMON MARK STUD, 38(3), 471-495.
- Female Victimization on Television: Extent, Nature and Context of On-screen Portrayals. Communications, 24(4).
- Violence in children's programmes on British television. Children
Society, 11(3), 143-156.
- Violence on Television: The Varying Impressions Given by Different Quantitative Indicators. Communications, 21(4).
- The civil norm building role of news journalism in post-civil war settings. Journalism, 146488492110729-146488492110729.
- Suppressing the news In Harrison J & McKernan L (Ed.), Breaking The News: 500 years of news in Britain (pp. 89-98). London: British Library.
- Creating capacity for peace: The power of news and civil norm building, Insights on Peace and Conflict Reporting (pp. 139-151).
- View this article in WRRO 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).
- European social purpose and public service communication, Mapping the European Public Sphere: Institutions, Media and Civil Society (pp. 99-113).
- Gatekeeping and News Selection as Symbolic Mediation In Allan S (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism (pp. 191-201). London: Routledge.
- 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
- 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..
- 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
- Exploring news values: The ideal and the real In Chapman J & Kinsey M (Ed.), Broadcast Journalism: A Critical Introduction (pp. 247-256). London: Routledge.
- News In Franklin B (Ed.), Pulling Newspapers Apart (pp. 39-47). London: Routledge.
- News Media In Albertazzi D & Cobley P (Ed.), The Media Routledge
- Women and the news: Europe, Egypt and the Middle East, and Africa, Women, Men and News: Divided and Disconnected in the News Media Landscape (pp. 193-232).
Conference proceedings papers
- 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.
- Freedom of Expression: The BBC and User Generated Content (pp 161-187)
- Conclusion: Utilising a Human Rights Framework (pp 237-255)
- Introduction: Freedom of Expression and the Media (pp 1-17)
- 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.
- PhD supervision
- Jean-Claude Kayumba: The role of radio in post-conflict society: the example of Radio Okapi in DR Congo and its coverage of the first democratic elections of the country (2006, 2011 and 2018)
- Victoria Baskett: Community Radio Soap Opera as a Peacebuilding tool: Atunda Ayenda and the rebuilding civil society through democractic elections in Sierra Leone
Jackie's present commitments mean she is unable to supervise more PhD students until further notice.