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When you can’t rely on public or private: Designing a strategy for media production research post-Leveson and post-Savile scandal

Munnik, Michael ORCID: 2013. When you can’t rely on public or private: Designing a strategy for media production research post-Leveson and post-Savile scandal. Presented at: Advancing Media Production Analysis (Institute of Communication Studies/IAMCR Preconference), Leeds, 24 June 2013.

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This paper proposes methods for conducting production enquiry at a strained time in the UK media sphere. The Leveson Report will have an impact on the openness of media institutions and could lead to greater transparency among private organisations as an outcome. I will argue from experience, however, that in the UK an even more recent series of events at the BBC concerning the Jimmy Savile scandal risks closing the slightly more open door of public organisations. As Paterson and Zoellner have written (2010), no media organization supports “accountability and transparency” to the extent that participation in such research is “automatic.” Empirical data for this paper is based on my current ethnographic research project in Glasgow, in which I employ three strategies to overcome the difficulty of relying on an ideal of access and disclosure. My project is multi-site: rather than focus on one newsroom, I study Glasgow as a connected media environment, and the various journalists and editors are workers in the same environment, albeit for different institutions and with different priorities. My project encompasses sources as well as journalists: following Schlesinger (1990) and Ericson et al. (1989), I include the voices and activity of those who interact with journalists in the production of media content. I also incorporate my ethnographic self as a resource (Collins and Gallinat 2010): just as my years working as a broadcast journalist inspired my project, so that experience informs the ongoing work – not merely as a lever to aid access or facilitate data collection, but as data itself to analyse and as a conceptual check during my analysis. I argue that although these elements have featured in some research projects, given the current climate post-Savile and McAlpine, they may become vital to deliver substantial material for the ongoing study of media production.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 09:23

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