Mass Communication


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Mass Communication is primarily concerned with the differential impact of messages transmitted by various mass media, including international exchanges through mass media.

The division members promote systematic study of communication presented through the electronic, cinematic and print media. Members participate in developing theory, examination of the processes and effects of mass communication and development and evaluation of policy relevant to mass communication.



Media Power – State, Market, Journalism, and the Limits of Free Speech

Date: 4 and 5 June 2014

Venue: U of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS


The 6th Annual Conference of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the U Westminster, held in association with the British Journalism Review, will focus on Media Power – State, Market, Journalism, and the Limits of Free Speech.

This conference is based on the premise that the media and in particular the news media are not merely a portal for the views of powerful vested interests but in today’s society are increasingly a power in their own right. Media power, therefore ‘is itself part of what power watchers need to watch’  There are undoubtedly structural imbalances of power between for example (some) sources of news and (most) journalists, but these relations are not fixed. So in the UK, the Leveson inquiry provided graphic evidence that not only have celebrities and private individuals been intimidated by powerful media organisations, so have politicians and even governments, with the result that even staunch free speech advocates are demanding more scrutiny of how the press regulates itself. India has seen the scandal of ‘paid news’ where news organisations demanded payment from politicians and political parties in order to be assured of favourable coverage. Elsewhere, the major proble m for journalism and journalists in negotiating with power is the perennial question of state censorship and repression. Censorship is not the preserve of the usual suspects however, and the political pressure currently being applied to Japanese broadcaster NHK for example has shown that the carefully worked out balance of rights and obligations between journalism and the state is not one which can be taken for granted. In other parts of the world, most recently in Australia and the UK, public broadcasters and their journalism are under two-pronged attacks from ideologically driven governments and commercially driven competitors.

Journalism is about the getting, interpreting and imparting of information. In an age of convergence and ubiquitous social media we generate, consciously and otherwise, huge amounts of information about ourselves; our interests, our tastes, our movements. All of it can be harvested, by the state, by private companies and by those who simply have the know-how. But who owns this information this information? Who has the right to publicise it/keep it secret? What are the rights and obligations of journalism in this regard? Should journalism defend the right to individual privacy in the face of a supposed obligation to the state/society?

We welcome a variety of approaches and topics, either as individual papers or as panels.



The conference will take place on 4- 5 June 2014. The fee for registration will be £195 with a concessionary rate of £99 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments, lunches, wine reception and administration costs. Registration will open end March 2014.


The deadline for abstracts is  10 March 2014. Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 24 March 2014. Abstracts should be 250 words long. They must include the presenter's name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper. Please send abstracts to Helen Cohen



  • Rene Weber, Chair
  • Lance Holbert, Vice-Chair
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