Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage – Dr Stephen Cushion, Cardiff University

Fri. 3 August 2018, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

How elections are reported has important implications for the health of democracy and informed citizenship. But how informative are the news media during campaigns? What kind of logic do they follow? How well do they serve citizens? Based on original research as well as the most comprehensive assessment of election studies to date, Stephen Cushion’s talk will examine how campaigns are reported in many advanced Western democracies. Focusing on the most recent US and UK election campaigns, he consider how the logic of election coverage could be rethought in ways that better serve the democratic needs of citizens.

During the 2017 UK election campaign, his study found broadcasters drew heavily on journalistic judgements about public opinion in vox pops and live two-ways. In doing so, the portrayal of citizens in television news was largely shaped by a relatively narrow set of assumptions made by political journalists about the public’s ideological views rather than conveying a more representative picture of public opinion. As a consequence, at times voters were portrayed as favouring more right- then left-wing policies despite evidence to the contrary.

Cushion thus argues that election reporting should be driven by a public logic, where the agenda of voters takes centre stage in the campaign and the policies of respective political parties receive more airtime and independent scrutiny.

Dr Stephen Cushion is a Reader at Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He has also published over 50 journal articles and book chapters on issues related to news, politics and journalism. He is on the editorial board of several leading academic journals, including Journalism StudiesJournalism PracticeJournalism: Theory, Practice and CriticismJournalism Education and Journal of Applied Journalism and Media. He has written three sole authored books, News and Poitics: The Rise of Live and interpretive JournalismThe Democratic Value of News: Why Public Service Media Matter(2012, Palgrave) and Television Journalism (2012, Sage) and one co-authored book, Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage (2018, Polity Press, with Richard Thomas).

Slow Magazines: Indies in print in a digital age

Friday May 18, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

S226 Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communications, John Woolley Building, (Level 2 entry off Manning Road), University of Sydney

Imagine walking into WH Smiths or Barnes and Noble where mainstream print magazines are placed under accepted industry categories, and where sales are generally in decline. Now imagine an alternative magazine store where categories are challenged, subverted and invented, and where new titles proliferate and have a growing audience. These stores exist in the ‘creative cities’ of the West and are a vital element for the indie magazine community of makers and readers to thrive.

Slow Magazines: Indies in print in a digital age investigates the reasons behind the surprising proliferation of indie magazines in print being made in the digital 21st century, a time when print was expected to become obsolete.

These magazines are a critical and creative response to the speed and distractions of digital media. And yet, while slow magazines are produced as beautiful printed objects, they use the affordances of digital culture (software, websites, social media) to create a breathing space of quality independent journalism, editorial and design creativity, with the aim of providing alternative representations of the ways we live, think and create.

Insights gained from interviews with a broad range of indie makers in the UK, Europe, US and Australia will be integrated within a discussion of the philosophy of ‘slow’, the democratisation of critique, neoliberalism and the DIY/DIWO/DWYL nexus, the discourse and analysis of creative labour, the connection between independent media and the Utopian question ‘what if?’, in an attempt to explain this phenomenon.

Megan Le Masurier is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. She has been collecting print indie magazines for more than a decade and is working on a book to explain her, and others, obsession – Slow Magazines: Indies in print in a digital age.