News & Forthcoming Events

Centre announces two new conferences

The Centre is delighted to announce two prestigious conferences that will be run out of Sheffield in 2017.

Firstly, in June 2017 the University of Sheffield will be hosting CHINED VI: The Sixth International Conference on Historical News Discourse. CHINED VI will focus on The Social Implications of Genre in Historical News Language, and has been organised by four of the Centre's members: Prof Martin Conboy, Prof. Adrian Bingham, Dr. Marcus Nevitt, and Minyao Tang.

The Call for Papers and the conference website are both live, and we welcome abstract proposals of up to 500 words. Proposals should be sent directly to Minyao Tang - the submission deadline is 31st January 2017.

In September 2017, the Centre - in partnership with Dr. Jason McElligott and Marsh's Library - will be hosting Cato Street and the Revolutionary Tradition in Britain and Ireland. This conference welcomes abstracts for presentations exploring the Cato Street plot itself, as well as the broader contexts of revolution in Britain and Ireland.

The website and CfP are both live, and we welcome abstract proposals of up to 500 words. Proposals should be sent directly to Christopher Shoop-Worrall - the submission deadline is 31st March 2017.

The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press

General Editors: Martin Conboy (University of Sheffield) and David Finkelstein (Edinburgh University)

Individual volume editors:

  • 1650-1800 Victoria E. Gardener and Jason McElligott
  • 1800-1900 David Finkelstein and Clare Horrocks
  • 1900-2011 Adrian Bingham and Martin Conboy

A definitive account of newspaper and periodical press history across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales covering 1650 to 2011.

At various points over the last 400 years, key political, economic and social processes, have worked to hinder or promote the expansion and dissemination of information across Britain and Ireland via newspapers and periodicals. In a contemporary era characterized by debate on the limits of devolution and the potential of independence we need to assess the roles played by newspapers and periodicals in enabling national and regional identities to emerge, cohere and diversify over time. How can we best identify the most significant of these processes? What were the critical flashpoints in their development? How have they marked the place of the press in civic society? What are the consequences in considering these within the general history of the British and Irish press? This proposed three volume prestige project will address these matters, offering a definitive account of newspaper and periodical press activity across Britain and Ireland between 1650 to the present day, and addressing questions related to four key research interests: general social/ political history; newspaper and periodical history; cultural history; technological history. A further aim is to situate such discussions within the larger framework of communication and media history.

These volumes will present a comprehensive, research-led, interdisciplinary examination of scholarship on newspapers and periodicals across Britain and Ireland from their emergence in the seventeenth century to the present day. They are designed to provide readers with a clear survey of the current state of research in the field, drawing on contemporary methodologies, demonstrating the interdisciplinarity of the field and offering an indication of areas ripe for further work. The impact on the field of digital media and archives will fully inform all discussions of the print archive meaning that contributors will illustrate their arguments with examples and contextualize their topics more broadly.

The three volumes envisaged will follow already used series models such as the Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland and the Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, creating three chronological periods: Vol. 1, 1650-1800; Vol. 2, 1800-1900; Vol. 3, 1900-2011. This model will enable the editors to organize contributions across regions, linking up findings and material thematically in chronological form, and ensuring consistency through each volume. There will be significant innovation in the approach taken within and across the three volumes, allowing full exploration of overlaps and disruptions in relations between different geo-political territories covered in the series. In addition, the combined prestige of the contributors will confirm and extend the importance of the growing field of media history.
This field of research has wider intellectual implications than is sometimes realised. Media History is an interdisciplinary area of enquiry, encompassing research into literacy and reading practices; relations among publishers/proprietors, editors, contributors and readers, technology and evolving communication networks. The interdisciplinary demands of such research widen its importance beyond the specialist historian and the general field of journalism studies, encompassing material of significance to other academic fields –such as social, political and cultural history, business and intellectual history, the history of international innovation in technology, material and social history. While the proposed project will meet a need amongst scholars of British and Irish culture, it will also be of tremendous value to scholars of other national traditions, offering insight into press trade connections between Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England, and their extensions into European and ‘New World’ counterparts, highlighting matters related to national and trans-national identities, migration, skills and knowledge exchange and the place of such texts in a globalised marketplace.

Communities of Communication: Newspapers and Periodicals in Britain and Ireland from 1900 to the Present

11-12 September 2014. ICOSS, University of Sheffield.

As part of an ongoing initiative to map current research in British and Irish press history, this conference provided a forum for the discussion of a broad range of thematic and methodological approaches to twentieth-century journalism. The conference aims to contribute to a planned series on British and Irish newspapers and periodicals commissioned by Edinburgh University Press under the general editorship of Professor Martin Conboy (Sheffield) and Professor David Finkelstein (Edinburgh). It provides a significant opportunity for scholars to develop work based on fresh research, including the various digital resources now available.

The full schedule for the conference is available to download, right.

If you have any queries about the conference, please contact


Media History - Special Issue: Digital Newspaper Archive Research

Media History journal cover Media History journal contents

This special issue of the journal Media History has been guest edited by centre member Dr John Steel out of our AHRC funded research network. More information at Taylor and Francis Online.


Events Archive

Redefining Journalism in the Era of the Mass Press

4-5th July 2013

This event was hosted by the research network, 'Capturing Change in Journalism: Shifting Role Perceptions at the Turn of the 20th and 21st Centuries'. This network, funded by the British AHRC and the Dutch NWO, and run by the Journalism Studies departments of the Universities of Groningen and Sheffield has already held a successful launch event in September 2012, which discussed how we can 'Conceptualize Role Perceptions and Change in Journalism'.

This conference sought to interrogate change and/or continuity in the role perceptions of journalism that occurred between 1880 and 1920 with the rise of the mass press. The way we speak of and interrogate this period continues to exert great influence in terms of how we understand contemporary journalism, and how we conceptualize the role of the journalist in terms of its historical, cultural and economic development.

Specifically, this conference aimed to discuss how we now define the journalism produced at the end of the 19th century from our contemporary and comparative perspective. It sought to contrast this with how contemporaries defined journalism during this period of transition.

A programme for this event is available to download from the menu on the right.

Representations and Social Change in Africa

A free one-day international symposium on the bicentenary of David Livingstone - 13 May 2013

This year we are celebrating 200 years of the birth of David Livingstone, one of the most popular heroes of Victorian Britain. An explorer of Africa, Livingstone's work and writings were responsible in part for shaping our ideas about that continent and defining media discourses for many years afterwards.

This event commemorates Livingstone's birth with an interdisciplinary symposium about Media Representations and Social Change in Africa. It is convened by the Centre for the Study of Journalism and History with the joint sponsorship of the Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS) and the Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield.

For more information please visit or email

History, genre, narrative: newspapers and the construction of the twentieth century

This interdisciplinary one-day conference was held on 14th September 2012. It took up Frank Mort’s challenge (History Workshop Journal, Issue 72) for scholars to develop a firmer grasp of the ‘genres through which the press codified cultural and political change for popular consumption, within the confines of their operation as marketable commodities’. Addressing questions such as: how can historians make use of the analysis of newspaper genre and narrative to deepen our understanding of the twentieth century? How do newspapers provide a different way of reading history both in the moment and in retrospect? How can newly digitized archives improve our grasp of the role of the newspaper in the processes of history? How did newspapers allow readers to consider changing social and political realities?

The social semiotics of popular journalism: a long view

Our seminar entitled "The social semiotics of popular journalism: a long view" was held at Cardiff University on 28 March 2012.

The long popularization process: Anglo-American perspectives

The network's second event - 'The long popularization process: Anglo-American perspectives' - was held on 12 March 2011 in New York.

Exploring Digital Archives

The AHRC network's first event - 'Exploring Digital Archives' - was held on Friday 14th January 2011 at ICOSS, University of Sheffield.

Journalism and History: Dialogues

15 September 2010: Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield.

This interdisciplinary one-day conference, organized by the Department of Journalism Studies and the Department of History at the University of Sheffield, explored dialogues between journalism and history. It addressed questions such as: how do historians and a wide range of scholars from other disciplines engage with journalism as a source? How does journalism relate to history in its processes and editorial practices? How is the increasing availability of digital archives of journalism impacting upon academic work and upon journalism?

A selection of papers from the conference will be published in a forthcoming issue of Media History.

Cultural Imperialism and the "Tribal Drum": Public Broadcasting in the British World, c. 1922-1970

Dr. Simon Potter (University of Galway) spoke on Tuesday 8th December, 2009, 4:15pm, Jessop West room G.03, 1 Upper Hanover Street. His paper was entitled 'Cultural Imperialism and the "Tribal Drum": Public Broadcasting in the British World, c. 1922-1970'

The Sun says: this is what we need to know about the past

Dr Erin Bell (University of Lincoln) spoke on Wednesday 2 December at 3pm, in the main seminar room in the Department of Journalism Studies, Minalloy House, 18-22 Regent Street. Her paper was entitled ‘The Sun says: this is what we need to know about the past’. Dr Bell trained as an early modern historian, but is now working on an AHRC-funded project on the representation of the past on television in the UK, 1995-2010. Her paper examined the tabloid press’s coverage of history programmes on television.

The paradoxes of journalism history

Prof Martin Conboy delivered the plenary address at the 6th Biennial Conference: Australian Media Traditions in the Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney from November 23 - 25, 2009. His lecture was entitled ‘The paradoxes of journalism history’.

Kinsey and "Little Kinsey": Sex Surveys and the Press in Post-war Britain

Prof Adrian Bingham delivered a paper entitled 'Kinsey and "Little Kinsey": Sex Surveys and the Press in Post-war Britain' to the North West Network of Historians Modern British History seminar (30 October 2009)

Moral panics and food: from London poor to the burghurs of Rotherham

Prof Adrian Bingham, Prof Martin Conboy and Dr John Steel delivered a paper entitled ‘Moral panics and food: from London poor to the burghurs of Rotherham’ at the International Association of Media History conference on Social Fears and Moral Panics, Aberystwyth (9 July 2009).