Gemma Horton - right to privacy

Gemma is researching how the right to privacy of celebrities is balanced with the right to freedom of expression following the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry.

PhD researcher

Name: Gemma Horton
Faculty: Social Sciences
Scholarship: Faculty of Social Sciences Doctoral Academy Award

Tell us about your background and your chosen research project.

Prior to beginning my PhD, I had completed an LLB degree at the University of York and then an MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield. I had always been interested in combining the law and media and I have a chance to do this with the research project for my PhD.

In particular, I am researching how the right to privacy of celebrities is balanced with the right to freedom of expression following the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry. I am looking to see if anything has changed in the journalism industry and if case law is being followed.

I am also comparing the UK industry to France and the US to give the research a comparative element.

Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?

I enjoyed studying my MA in the Department of Journalism Studies and I wanted to stay on in the department and work with academics with expertise in my field of interest.

The experience of doing a PhD so far has been rewarding as I have had chances to put the research of my PhD to wider use, including delivering papers at conferences, writing book chapters, and using my knowledge for teaching.

Gemma Horton

PhD student, Department of Journalism

What did winning the scholarship mean to you?

Winning the scholarship meant that I was able to complete my research. It meant that I could stay on and study an area that I have always been fascinated by. Without the scholarship, I wouldn't have had this opportunity.

What has your experience of doing a PhD at Sheffield been so far?

My experience so far has been better than I could have ever have expected. Alongside working on my PhD with my excellent supervisors, the department have given me so many more opportunities to get involved. I've helped to teach seminars, run conferences, and I have also acted as a research assistant on projects in the department.

The experience of doing a PhD so far has been rewarding as I have had chances to put the research of my PhD to wider use, including delivering papers at conferences, writing book chapters, and using my knowledge for teaching.

What are your future plans?

I hope to submit my PhD by the end of this academic year and after that I would like to stay in academia.

I enjoy teaching and researching and would love to continue working in freedom of speech. But I would also like to expand to other areas of journalism theory and keep on learning.

Do you have any advice for future prospective PhD students?

Don't be too nervous if, in the first few months of the PhD, you feel lost. I remember spending the first three months with no idea what I was doing or how to write a chapter.

I think the best thing to do is just to start reading around your subject and develop a good literature foundation. Work in the PhD office to get to know people too and talk to members of the department to get involved.

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