Media Work @ Leeds (UK)

Wow... I've had some great experiences on the road while promoting the new book, but this was really special. Gave a talk (last of three) at Leeds University yesterday, and the room was absolutely packed (see picture that I took five minutes before we started... it was still 'quiet' then): people sitting on the floor around me, every seat filled. It was great to be able to give a presentation that way - I really created a atmosphere of intimacy (well, that is how I felt, anyways).

Questions afterwards - including by Leeds professor and stellar writer/researcher on cultural industries David Hesmondhalgh, colleague Cristina Archetti, and research director Stephen Coleman - were excellent. Some of the issues they (and others) raised:

  • are we observing a de-institutionalization in society into a new set of institutions, or are we entering some kind of social vacuum?

  • given the fact that news values and (especially transnational) news content are not really changing - in fact become more isomorphic - to what extent can the changes in media production and newswork be considered to be 'real' changes?

  • how are emerging practices such as citizen journalism actually changing the content, style, relevance, agenda and quality of the news? Or are these examples of news production in fact reproducing the same kind of news values we already know?

  • are media workers, facing precariousness, sincere when they still claim "I cannot believe I am getting paid to do this"?

  • Great stuff, a lot to think about. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Leeds (especially its Institution of Communications Studies and Chris Paterson, who was kind enough to invite me over)!