ECREA European Communication Research and Education Association
ISSUE 3 – APRIL 2010


Dear colleague,

     Welcome to the third newsletter of the ECREA Young Scholars’ Network (YECREA). We are happy to announce that there are many interesting events and opportunities coming up for young scholars in 2010, particularly the ECREA ECC Conference in Hamburg, postgraduate conferences co-organised with Yecrea, and the ECREA Summer School in Ljubljana. We are also happy to report that Yecrea is becoming more actively involved in ECREA section conferences and that our section and country representatives have successfully organised five workshops since September 2009. In this newsletter, you can find:

1. YECREA at the ECC 2010 in Hamburg

2. Upcoming events: YECREA co-organisation of graduate conferences Politics and War in Porto and Communication History in Potsdam

3. ECREA Summer School in Ljubljana

4. YECREA PhD workshops report

5. YECREA country and section representative news

     If you wish to find out more about the Young Scholars’ Network please visit our website, where young scholars can find much relevant information. YECREA now also has a Facebook group with 110 members and counting. Just search for Yecrea on Facebook or click here if you are not a member yet. Inputs for future newsletters, or comments on this one, are much appreciated. Please send them to:

Best wishes,

Benjamin De Cleen, Alenka Jelen, and Joanna Redden



 1. YECREA at the ECC 2010 in Hamburg

     ECREA and the Hans Bredow Institute, together with the University of Hamburg and theHamburg Media School, are organising the 3rd large-scale international European Communication Conference (ECC), which will be held in Hamburg, from 12 to 15 October 2010. The general theme of the conference is Transcultural Communication - Intercultural Comparisons and will be addressed in keynote speeches and parallel sessions in the thematic sections and networks. The ECREA conferences provide THE  meeting point for European communication scholars and a forum for inspiring discussions on theoretical and empirical research. For ECREA 2010 we are expecting to host  800 to 1,000 participants and 600 to 700 presentations.

Yecrea is actively involved in organising some exciting events for young scholars and we hope to see many of you at one of the following events:


Workshop on Planning an academic career: International perspectives

     At the ECC, Yecrea will hold a workshop that addresses pan European similarities and differences in what counts as important in planning your academic career with a special emphasis on building an academic CV. The workshop is aimed at all young scholars, and is organized by Ranjana Das and Julie Uldam in close collaboration with all  Yecrea section and country representatives.

     What counts as important in an academic CV is of course, a relative question – the intellectual dimensions of this merge with employer preferences, the nature of roles, the names of posts, funding possibilities, the demands of a teaching position ‘versus’ a research position, the nature of Higher Education Institutions across Europe in terms of their teaching-led or research-led status and many other questions. So, as doctoral students prepare for a range of possible post-doctoral possibilities – positions funded by departments, universities, national research councils, the EU, pan European networks - keeping multiple options open, under the substantial pressure of generating publications in an output oriented academic culture whilst generating teaching experience, which choices must take precedence over others, which decisions might be pre-planned, and how much planning is needed? Most importantly, do employer preferences and do institutional priorities differ across Europe? How is funding generated in different national and institutional settings, and what are the pan European possibilities available to early career researchers? What, in other words, are the emerging trends as we prepare trans-national job applications?

     Led by these and related questions Yecrea brings together senior and young researchers from different countries and at different stages of their careers. The plenary is  followed by an open discussion during which young scholars can exchange experiences, and voice their comments and questions.


YECREA business meeting

     YECREA will hold its business meeting, at which the YECREA board will give an overview of its activities in the past two years, with particular emphasis on presentation of  the section and country representative scheme and its activities.

The YECREA 2009 Year report can be found at:

     After that the elections for the board will be held. The current board presents itself for re-election for a new two-year term. The board consists of Benjamin De Cleen (chair, responsible for section representatives), Alenka Jelen (vice-chair, website, representative to the ECREA board) and Joanna Redden (vice-chair, responsible for country representatives).

     Competing candidate teams may put themselves forward for election ninety days before the end of the mandate of the outgoing team by sending an email to the network chair. The exact procedure can be found in the Yecrea Modus Operandi at:

     All Yecrea members can vote. Members who cannot make it to Hamburg can vote by email in the week before the conference, or may be represented at the elections by another member by way of written and signed proxy delivered before the vote. The precise procedure can be found in the Yecrea Modus Operandi. A simple majority of votes  is required for the election, and the results of the vote shall be communicated as soon as possible to all members by email.


YECREA social event
     YECREA will organize a special informal get-together for young scholars at the ECC on the evening of Thursday October the 14th. Hanna Domeyer and Sascha Hoelig of Hamburg University are helping to organise this event. The event will be the perfect occasion to put faces to names and get to know each other a bit better. The details of the event will be communicated to the members prior to the conference.


2. Upcoming YECREA co-organised graduate conferences

YECREA is involved in the organization of two young scholar conferences in 2010. In both cases, YECREA members will get a reduced conference fee.

First International Graduate Conference on Media and Communication

University of Porto, May 13-14 2010

     The Conference is jointly organized by the Centro para as Ciências da Comunicação (C2COM – University of Porto), YECREA and Media XXI - Investigação e Consultoria/FormalPress. YECREA country representative for Portugal, Ana Jorge, is part of the programme committee of this conference. The conference focuses on dynamics between media and the political world, in different countries, with a particular focus on the role of the media in exceptional times: the way candidates and parties are covered during election campaigns and media performance in wartime periods.

     Some thirty young scholars will present papers at the conference. Invited speakers include Paolo Mancini (Università di Perugia) and Philip Hammond (London South Bank University).

Writing the Past beyond Boundaries? Transnational versus Comparative Approaches in Communication History

Potsdam, June 3-15 2010

     The PhD workshop will be organised prior to the ECREA‘s Communication History Section inaugural conference. It is co-organized by Dr. Maria Löblich and Susann Trabert from the young scholars of the German Communication Associations, Thomas Großmann from the ZZF and Christian Schwarzenegger, YECREA representative in the ECREA Communication History Section.

     The organizers welcome 20 PhD students from universities in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, and the USA. The workshop mentors are Marcel Broersma (University of Groningen), Andreas Hepp (Bremen University), Cathy Johnson (Royal Holloway University of London) and Sonja de Leeuw (University of Utrecht).

     Discussion groups will focus on questions such as how to methodologically write the past beyond boundaries and on what kind of sources this writing can be based and sustained by. How can communication and media history be understood beyond thecontext of nation and culture? Transnational and comparative approaches in communication history will be confronted to productively raise new questions and to find new or complementary answers to existing research issues.

     The farewell drinks of the young scholar workshop will be combined with the welcome get-together of the joint DGPuK/ECREA Communication History Section conference.


3. ECREA Summer School in Ljubljan

     The ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School, traditionally bringing together members of the European research community to debate contemporary issues in media, communication and cultural studies, has moved from the University of Tartu, Estonia and will be this year for the first time at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 15 – 27 August 2010.

     The co-ordinator of the Summer School Ilija Tomanić Trivundža said: “I must say that our department is very enthusiastic about hosting the Summer School in Ljubljana. We are happy to see that the school is becoming increasingly popular and we hope that both students and programme will benefit from our local expertise at least as much as  we will from the fruitful exchange of the ideas among diverse group of students and lecturers.”

     Despite moving its location, the main aim of the summer school remains the same: to provide a supportive international setting where doctoral students can present their ongoing work, receive feedback on their PhD-projects from international experts and meet students and academics from other countries, establishing valuable contacts for the future. In addition, the Summer School offers a series of lectures, round tables and workshops dealing with theoretical concepts and research methodologies.

     Ilija further emphasised: “The programme is coordinated mostly by former Summer School students, which enables us to foresee many practicalities with which students might be faced during their stay in Ljubljana. The summer school in itself has a very intensive programme, though one of the strengths of the programme has always been its informal part where both professional ties and friendships have been formed. I believe that summer evenings in Ljubljana – one of the most charming ‘pocket-size’ European capitals with the old city centre nested between the river and the castle – offer a perfect opportunity for that.”

     The overall theme for the programme this year is Cultural and technological challenges of media globalisation and convergence in Europe. However, the theme will not be  used as a criterion for participant selection. The summer school welcomes all PhD projects within the field of communication and media studies.

The deadline for applications for the summer school is April 9 2010.

For more information, please visit:



4. Yecrea PhD workshops report

In 2009, YECREA section representatives organized young scholar workshops at the respective ECREA section conferences. The board would like to thank all of the representatives for their great work and all of the participating senior and young scholars for sharing their experiences. Organised PhD workshops were:

Mediated Citizenship: Political Information and Participation in Europe

Leeds, September 17-18, 2009

Organized by the Political Communication section

Young scholar PhD workshop organized by YECREA political section representatives Fabro Steibel and Alenka Jelen, with speakers Sophia Kaitatzi-Whitlock (chair of the Political Communication section) and Katrin Voltmer (conference organiser and vicechair the Political Communication section)


Radio Content in the Digital Age

Limassol, October 14-16, 2009

Organised by the Radio Research Section

YECREA workshop organized by YECREA representatives Judith Purtkarhofer and Petra Pfisterer with attendants including Guy Starkey (section chair of the Radio Research Section) and Stanislaw Jedrzejewski (vice-chair of the Radio Research Section).


The 1st Autumn Conference of Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction

Tampere, October 21-23, 2009

Organized by the Interpersonal communication and social interaction section Young scholar workshop organized by YECREA section representative Jonna Koponen with mentors Teija Waaramaa and Saila Poutiainen.


Theories in International and Intercultural Communication

Mannheim, October 29-31, 2009

Organized by the International and Intercultural Communication section

PhD workshop co-organized by YECREA section representative Stijn Joye, and YECREA representative for Germany Sven Engesser, with mentors Leo Van Audenhove and Gerd Hallenberger, chaired by Hartmut Wessler.


Media, Communication, and the Spectacle

Rotterdam, November 26-27, 2009

Organized by the Communication and Democracy, Film Studies, Gender and Communication, and YECREA Young scholar workshop on ‘Academic publishing for young  scholars’ chaired by Nico Carpentier. The workshop included social gathering on the eve of the conference with a help from Pauwke Berkers of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

5. YECREA section and country representatives news

Christian Schwarzenegger is the YECREA representative to the newly formed ECREA section on Communication History.

We also have three new YECREA Country Representatives: Narine Khachatryan (Armenia), Olivier Driessens (Belgium), and Lenka Waschková Císařová (Czech Republic).

For more information on the section representatives please visit:

For information on the country representatives visit:


Inputs for future newsletters, or comments on this one, are much appreciated. Please send them to:















Dear colleague,

This is the second edition of the newsletter from YECREA, the ECREA Young Scholars' Network.

We are quite confident this contains lots of information of interest for young scholars in the field of media and communications studies. It lists information on YECREA activities and events, informs on the ECREA Doctoral Summer School, provides scholars’ views on research ethics, reports on an interview with a young scholar and guides young scholars to what is going on in the field. If you wish to find out more about the Young Scholars’ Network please go to
Input for future newsletters, or comments on this one, are much appreciated. Please send them to:

All the best,
Panayiota Tsatsou,
Editor YECREA newsletter





New YECREA Board
YECREA chair Tamara Witschge was appointed to a lecture position at the University of Cardiff and has resigned as chair of the Young Scholars’ network. Tamara has been involved in YECREA since its foundation (with Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt and Liina Puustinen) and has played a very active role in the development of the network.

Following Tamara’s departure, there have been some changes in the YECREA board.
Alenka Jelen joins the YECREA board as vice-chair. Alenka Jelen is a lecturer in public relations at the University of Central Lancashire and a PhD student at the University of Ljubljana. Her research focus is in political communication, media studies and qualitative expert interviews.
Alenka will focus on the YECREA website amongst other things and will be YECREA’s representative in the ECREA board. She resigns as YECREA section representative in the Political Communication section, a position she shared with Fabro Steibel. Fabro stays on as representative. Joanna Redden remains vice-chair, responsible for the country representatives. Benjamin De Cleen moves to the chair position and remains responsible for the relations with the sections. 

The new board would like to thank Tamara for all her work for the young scholars’ network and for her willingness to support the new board with her experience.

Section and Country Representatives
In the last year one of the most important developments for YECREA has been the establishment of a network of young scholar representatives per country and per ECREA section. These representatives are involved in a number of young scholars workshops and social events linking young scholars during the ECREA section conferences this fall. They also actively contribute to the YECREA website. Thus, YECREA is increasingly becoming a lively network of young scholars across and within different areas of media and communication research.
We are still looking for country representatives for the following countries:
Albania, Armenia, Belgium, Belorussia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey. If you are interested in becoming a country representative please contact Joanna Redden at

YECREA representative positions in the following sections are still vacant: Audience and Reception Studies, Communication and Democracy, Organisational and Strategic Communication, and Philosophy of Communication. If you are active in one of those sections and you would be interested in taking up the position of YECREA section representative in your section, please contact Benjamin De Cleen at
The website’s news section is now regularly updated to inform young scholars about conferences, jobs and scholarships, and other important information. The news is provided by the country and section representatives and by our general news editor Itir Akdogan, PhD candidate at the University of Helsinki. Other young scholars can contribute by sending news that would interest young scholars to the relevant country or section representative, who will post the information on the website.

For more research news, information about job opportunities for young scholars, and conferences in media and communications visit the YECREA website at



YECREA Workshop on Political Communication and Young Researchers, Leeds University
Fabro Steibel and Alenka Jelen, YECREA representatives in the Political Communication section, put together a young scholar workshop at the ‘Mediated Citizenship: Political Information and Participation in Europe’ conference in Leeds, 17-18 September. Speakers at the workshop were Sophia Kaitatzi-Whitlock (Chair of the Political Communication section) who introduced and compared doctoral studies in the interdisciplinary field of (political) communication across Europe and Katrin Voltmer (conference organiser and Vice-Chair the Political Communication section) who further elaborated on the interdisciplinary nature of political communication as a cross-over frontier between politics and communication studies and addressed its implications for doctoral research. This was followed by a discussion with young scholars on their PhD and research projects, research process in general, methodological concerns, theoretical variety, funding, as well as common issues with which they are faced. The participants provided very positive feedback on the workshop, particularly because it enabled them to express and find their common interests, share problems and ideas, and form new friendships.

Upcoming YECREA Events

YECREA is co-organizing the ‘Media, Communication and the Spectacle’ conference in Rotterdam, 26-27 November, with the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture) and ECREA’s Gender and Communication section, Communication and Democracy section, and Film Studies section. Nico Carpentier, professor and director of the doctoral school for the humanities at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and one of the organisers of the annual ECREA Summer School, will lead a workshop on academic publishing aimed at young scholars.

At the ‘Theories of International and Intercultural Communication’ conference in Mannheim, 29-31 October, co-organized by the ECREA’s International and Intercultural Communication section, YECREA section representative Stijn Joye was involved in the organization of a PhD workshop organized by Hartmut Wessler where young scholars will present their projects and get feedback from two respondents: Leo Van Audenhove and Gerd Hallenberger.

Jonna Koponen, YECREA representative in the Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction section, has put together a young scholar workshop at the section’s 1st Autumn Conference, held between 21 and 23 October 2009 at the University of Tampere, Finland. Senior researchers Teija Waaramaa (Department of Speech Communication and Voice Research, University of Tampere, Finland) and Saila Poutiainen (Department of Speech Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland) will act as mentors in the workshop.

Judith Purtkarhofer and Petra Pfisterer, YECREA representatives in the Radio section, are organizing a meeting of young scholars at the ‘Radio Content in the Digital Age’ conference in Limassol, Cyprus on 16 October. They will present the young scholars’ network to the participants and have a discussion on how to move the network forward and how the network can foster cooperation between young scholars in radio research.

Apart from these young scholar workshops, YECREA country and section representatives are organizing informal social events for young scholars before the start of some of the section conferences. Please check the Thematic Section on for practical info.

For more general info on all of the upcoming ECREA seminars and conferences, see




The Politics of Media Policy (Des Freedman, 2008, Polity Press)
Panayiota Tsatsou reviewed Freedman’s book in the Journal of International Communication. The review can be downloaded from
In this review, it is recognised that this is an unquestionably valuable book in the field of media and communication studies and particularly useful to those studying, researching and working in the area of media policy. It is argued that the contribution of the book lies in the fact that it combines theoretical and intellectually inspired arguments with rich empirical evidence, as well as elite actors’ arguments collected primarily by the author.
The book aims to provide a critical look at the democratic and socially open character of media policy in key western media systems, such as those of the US and the UK, questioning whether it is genuinely democratic. However, the reviewer argues that, although the intention is not to object to the book’s argument in principle, there are a series of challenges arising from the author’s approach to media policy in the US and the UK today and the particular role of the public.
More specifically, the reviewer argues that through interviews with elite actors in the media systems of the US and the UK, Freedman’s critique of the lack of public orientation in today’s neo-liberal media policy schemes rather leaves out of consideration the role of the public as a participating actor in the actual policy-making. This is so, as the author seems to have interviewed a pretty comprehensive list of elite actors in the field, but the reviewer has doubts about the extent to which anyone on this list can speak for the grassroots and what is commonly perceived as civil society today. The reviewer argues that not only the elites, but also certain sectors of society can play a complex role in policy-making, serving their own various interests and influencing even indirectly the policy-making process, while leaving other sectors of society rather unrepresented and unhappy. This can arguably form precisely the basis for some criticisms of media policy and its democratic deficit, without however justifying a complete exclusion of society from consideration of the power battle between elites and authorities in media policy-making. Thus, the reviewer concludes that the sporadic attempts of the author to refer, even indirectly, to the role of the public as an actor in media policy making does not stop the reader missing any mention of society in the complex map of politics in media policy. This is so, as the conflict of interests and interdependencies between the market and society, the particular role of social actors and the dialogue with policy-makers should form the framework of the discussion. And the reviewer closes questioning how possible it is to criticise contemporary media policy schemes for public exclusion when excluding any mention of the public from such criticisms

For more book reviews and information on new book releases, please visit If you would like to share your ideas on a book with your fellow young scholars, please send your review to Itir Akdogan at, mentioning the thematic section your book review would be relevant to. Itir will post your review on the YECREA website. If your review is published in a journal, please take copyright issues into account.




Sonia Livingstone, Shani Orgad, and Bingchun Meng gave a lecture about the significance of ethics in social research. In the lecture they introduce the fundamental principles of ethics in media and communication research. It starts with identifying the researcher’s obligations to the public, the research community and the research participants. It then reviews key principles of ethical research, such as participants’ right to privacy, informed consent, ownership and intellectual property rights.
The lecture also discusses the use of deception as a research strategy and its ethical implications. It concludes by discussing the meaning and importance of reflexivity, as well as new challenges facing social researchers, particularly in the filed of media and communication, today. The full lecture can be found at

Research Ethics in
Media and Communications

Lecture by
Sonia Livingstone
Shani Orgad
Bingchun Meng
Department of Media and Communications, LSE

Obligations of the researcher
•     To serve the public’s best interest
•     To honour the public’s right to know

Research Community:
•     To conduct high quality research
•     To make research findings available to research community via proper practices of dissemination
•     To ensure the data are open to scrutiny

Research Participants:
•     To avoid harm and distress
•     To respect participants’ confidentiality and privacy
•     To obtain informed consent 

Right to Privacy

•     To what extent does the research intrude into the private lives of individuals?
•     Is the intrusion of people’s privacy justified? How?
•     Can knowledge be acquired in less intrusive ways?
•     Does the research tamper with other person’s privacy?

➢    Offer guarantee of withdrawal if participants experience discomfort    
➢     Guarantee suitable environment
➢     Protect data
➢     Guarantee anonymity and confidentiality

Informed Consent
Underpinning ethical standards:
•    The participant is capable of making a rational, responsible and mature choice
•    The participant is informed about what is to occur
•    The participant understands the possible effects of his or her participation in the research
•    The participant is free and autonomous to decide without fear or coercion

Participants should be informed of:
•    Aims and objectives of the study
•    Identity of institution involved
•    Anticipated use of the data
•    Identity of researcher / experimenter
•    Method by which the participant has been chosen    
•    Participant’s role in the study
•    Possible harm or discomfort to the participant 
•    Degree of anonymity and confidentiality
•    Permission to tape-record / video
•    Procedures of study (time, location, etc.)
•    Degree of data security / storage
•    Contact person for further information

Deception is justifiable only when:
•    There is no other way to obtain the desired information
•    The likely benefits substantially overweigh the likely harms
•    Participants are given the option to withdraw at any time without penalty
•    Any physical or psychological harm to participants is temporary
•    Participants are debriefed as to all substantial deceptions
•    The research procedures are made available for public review.   
Elms (1982: 234, cited in Stempel et. al. (2003: 308)

Ownership and Intellectual Property Rights
You, sir or madam, spent fifteen months studying my village, published two books about ‘your’ people, and never sent us so much as a copy of either book or helped us in any way to profit from what you learned!
 (1973 International Congress of Anthropology and Ethnological Science, a message from young and angry African anthropologists, cited in Plummer, 2001, Documents of Life 2, p. 217).        

Epistemological Underpinnings
 “…most of the discussion concerning social science research ethics has unselfconsciously taken the scientific nature of inquiry for granted…researchers concerned with the ethical dimensions of their work have been preoccupied with improving professional codes…”(p.45)
 “…the problem lies in lack of conceptual reflectiveness and in
the social scientists’ failure to question the underpinnings and practical implications of certain scientific tenets” (p.53).
Hamnett et al. (1984). The Myth of Methodological Neutrality: Extending the Critique to Positivism and Social Science Research Ethics.        

Challenging the myth of methodological neutrality:
•    Is a researcher really dispassionate, independent?
•    Can research methods ever be truly value-free?
•    Do we really have control over the research setting and the key research variables?

The argument for reflexive rather than positivist) social science holds that:
•    The researcher is not a mere medium through which knowledge is discovered
•    Thus, the researcher should demonstrate self-awareness throughout the research

New Challenges and Directions
•    Internet / online research
•    Global /cross-cultural research
•    Feminist ethics
•    Post-modern ethics?  “human beings are morally ambivalent”
Bauman, Z. (1993). Postmodern Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 10




ECREA Doctoral Summer School 2009 - interview with local organizer

Once again, the ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School brought together doctoral students and senior members of the European research community to debate contemporary issues in media, communication and cultural studies. YECREA interviewed the local organiser of the ECREA Doctoral Summer School at the University of Tartu, Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, about the what, why, when and how of this European doctoral school.

The Local Organiser’s answers to your questions
What is the ECREA Summer School about?
Pille: ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School aims to create an international environment where every PhD student participating in the summer school can get critical and constructive feedback about their PhD project. Lecturers and students participating at the summer school can use this time to get to know each other through workshops and student presentations and form future friendships and collaborative academic networks.

What is the School's history?
Pille: Summer School started in early 1990s, where six universities from Barcelona, Madrid, Grenoble, Westminster, Amsterdam and Lund started cooperating on doctoral education. Since that time, summer school has changed locations several times, having been hosted in Grenoble, Barcelona, Lund, Westminster, Tampere and Tartu. In 2001, ECREA through its predecessor ECCR started its involvement in the summer school project, opening the event to more than the initial 6 universities. Since the Tampere summer school in 2003, summer school has gone through several radical changes in format and content bringing students to the focus of the summer school and diminishing the importance of lectures by replacing the majority of them with workshops as it was this year. During most of its existence, summer school has been supported by European Commission Intensive Programmes funding (except for 2004) and has thus been at least 10 working days in duration.

What is it different about this School?
Pille: What is most different about this school is its focus on the state of the European Media and Communication studies through the work of young scholars. As the thematic focus of the summer school has been fairly general, this has allowed us to accept a wide variety of students to the summer school. The focus of the summer school is getting to know their work and ensuring they receive the best possible advice from senior lecturers across Europe.

Who should or could attend the School?
Pille: Although summer school privileges students from 22 consortium universities and 2 doctoral schools of Finland and Denmark, actually everyone from ECREA can come to the summer school. The best time for attending the summer school is during the second year of one's studies.
Then the student has some ideas about what they want to do, but are still flexible and have enough time to accept the advice given during the summer school.

What should the participants expect to gain from attending the School?
Pille: In many ways, everyone will gain what they want to. The things we aim to provide are good quality feedback for the PhD project from both, formal and informal meetings with peers and senior colleagues. But also, one should expect meeting many nice people, making new friends and getting to know the international scene of European Media and Communication research.

How was this year's experience been in Tartu?
Pille: This was the 5th year of the summer school in Tartu and while we have the practicalities increasingly well settled, the content of the school is always new. Participants of this year's summer school enjoyed the experience very much and they appreciated the time they spent in Tartu.

What is the future of the School?
Pille: Next year, the summer school will move from Tartu, Estonia to Ljubljana, Slovenia. The summer school will take place between 15 to 28 August at University of Ljubljana. The call will be available in January 2010, but the dates are fixed, so anyone interested in participating, can book those two weeks in their calendar.

What should someone do if s/he wants to participate in the School?
Pille: If you are interested in participating, keep your eyes open for the call for papers that will be distributed through the ECREA mailing list and at the summer school website in January next year. The deadline for applications will be in early April.

Interview by Panayiota Tsatsou

One of this year’s participants, the Italian PhD candidate Maria Francesca Murru, gives a first hand picture of her experience at ECREA Doctoral Summer School 2009. Read Maria’s reflections at



Roberto Suárez Candel recently obtained his PhD. Here he discusses his research and - most important for other young scholars - talks through the dissertation process. Roberto describes the surprises and challenges he faced, and also provides tips for those of us working on our dissertations.

Roberto Suárez Candel, PhD in Social Communication
Researcher and associated lecturer, Department of Communication – Pompeu Fabra University – Barcelona, Spain

YECREA: Roberto you recently submitted your PhD dissertation. What was your
dissertation about?
Roberto: In my PhD dissertation I analysed the public policy dealing with the implementation of Digital Terrestrial Television. The 3 main objectives of my research were: determining the appropriateness of public intervention, analysing what its main tendencies are and, finally, identifying which strategies and policy mechanisms are the most effective ones in order to complete the analogue-digital switchover at the terrestrial platform.
In order to do so, I focused first on the policies carried out by the European Union. My intention was to assess how supranational actions condition the Member States’ initiatives by means of defining a regulatory reference framework. Following that, the core of my research was a comparison of the cases of Sweden and Spain. Both countries have been pioneers within the European context concerning the implementation of Digital Terrestrial Television. Their rich experiences provide useful lessons for other countries that have to confront the digital transition of terrestrial broadcasting in the next few years.

YECREA: Why this dissertation and why now?
Roberto: The European Union has set 2012 as the deadline for their Member States to complete the switch-off of analogue terrestrial broadcasting. On the one hand, there are many technical and economic issues to be solved. On the other hand, it is necessary to ensure that the audience has completed its migration before the switch-off. Otherwise an important part of the population would not have access to the most relevant means of public communication.
Digitalisation of cable and satellite has been commercially driven. The digitalization of terrestrial broadcasting in particular is a complex process. The first failed experiences in the United Kingdom and Spain demonstrated that giving the full responsibility to the market agents was not the right decision. However, in the current neoliberal scenario, public policy often finds difficulties to gather the necessary support to be effective. Moreover, despite being a global issue, the particularities of each national television system require local solutions.
With my PhD dissertation, I aim to contribute to the success of the described process. By means of analysing and comparing different policy strategies, I have identified best practices and drawn conclusions about how public policy can effectively manage the implementation of DTT.
I must say that I’m happy for having submitted my dissertation now, two years earlier than the mentioned deadline set by the EU. I hope that the results of my research are useful for those countries that are still dealing with the switch-over.

YECREA: What is it about communication studies that attracts you?
Roberto: Without a proper communication system that allows creating a public sphere, our democratic society is not possible. The media also influence the way we think, what we buy, the culture we consume, etc. Therefore, researching and reflecting on communication is a way to contribute to build the kind of society that we want.
In the case of public policy for the media, I’m especially interested in studying how public interest can be protected. We should not forget that the media exist to serve society, not the opposite.

YECREA: Can you describe some of the biggest challenges you faced in
researching and writing the dissertation?
Roberto: First of all, I had to find some funding to be able to develop my PhD project. I got a research grant from the Catalan Government and I have also worked as a researcher and lecturer. But for attending conferences and doing research in Sweden I had to find extra funding. All this hasn’t been easy. I know several people who quit their PhD after some years because they were not able to live from research.
The second challenge was to analyse an issue that is in a state of continuous development. This required updating my knowledge constantly. Also when analysing the implementation of Digital Terrestrial Television, I’m dealing with a variety of issues: technical, political and economic as well as cultural. So, setting the borders of my research was not easy.
Finally, I had to learn some Swedish in order to be able to read the Swedish laws and other policy documents.

YECREA: Any surprises?
Roberto: Well, in 2006 my PhD project was awarded with the 1st prize of the International Research Prize organized by SGAE-Fundación Autor (a Spanish cultural and copyright agency). Besides some money that was very useful to fund my research, it also included the possibility of having my PhD dissertation published as a book. An unexpected but great surprise! It was a very positive incentive to carry on my research.

YECREA: What advice do you have for those of us still researching and writing
our dissertations?
Roberto: Read a lot and invest the necessary time in designing your research project. It’s not only about finding an issue that appeals to you but about identifying and solving a problem as well as providing new knowledge. The better you define the borders of your research, the easier it will be to carry it out. Ask your supervisor as many times as you need, helping you is part of his/her job. 
When writing, don’t be too optimistic about time. You’ll probably need around 40% more than you thought.
Travel and attend as many conferences as you can. They will provide you with contacts and new ideas. And since people will be interested in your work, you will go back home more motivated and with more confidence. In addition, they are a good training for your writing and communication skills.
And most important: Try to publish in a journal. You don’t need to be done with your dissertation to share your preliminary results.
Ah! Don’t forget either about ECREA summer school. During the two weeks I spent in Estonia I met many nice people and I got very good advice concerning my dissertation. It’s a ‘must do’ for any young researcher.

YECREA: Did your research interests change at all in the dissertation process?
Where do you see your interests heading in the next year?
Roberto: Of course! The more you know about the field you are working on, the more your interests evolve. Initially, I was interested in how digitalisation will affect the audience, especially in terms of viewers becoming customers. But my interest shifted to public policy when I discovered all the actions that the European Union and its Member States were carrying out in order to foster the implementation of digital television. I realized that public policy is fundamental in defining the objectives of the project, to counterbalance private or biased interests and to implement a new television system in a way that will benefit the whole society.
After finishing my PhD, my interest now is focused on the role that the public service must play in the digital and multiplatform scenario. I want to do a post-doc on that issue.

YECREA: Who has been most influential? Theorists? Practitioners? etc.
Roberto: My BA studies in communication were very practical, so my theory background had some deficiencies. I got scared about it when I started my PhD, so I tried to read and learn as much as I could in order to solve that. Theory forces you to understand, to systematize, to criticize, to ask yourself whether what you are writing is valid and logical. However, when carrying out my research I also interviewed many practitioners. To produce valid and useful knowledge, ‘real life’ must also be taken into account. I would suggest overcoming that traditional border between theory and practice. They need each other and a PhD dissertation might have problems if one of them has not been considered.

YECREA: What now?
Roberto: Well, first of all, I must catch up with my personal life. During the last years I said ‘no’ to many friends. Secondly, I’d like to do a post-doc in Germany, so I’m designing a research project and looking for funding. I would really like to continue in the academic sphere. I believe that getting a PhD is not only a personal achievement, but it implies responsibilities with the society. I’d like to fulfill them.

Interview by Joanna Redden

Contact details
Not yet a member of YECREA? If you are a member of ECREA, you can easily join YECREA. Please log in to intranet, go to 'my information' and join YECREA.
If you are not yet a member of ECREA, you can become a member of ECREA for 10 euros in the first year here If your institute is a member, you can become a member for free as a PhD student by requesting the institutional coordinator to add you as a member.
Once you are a member of YECREA you can create your personal account at
Newsletter editor: Panayiota Tsatsou.
Contributors: Alenka Jelen, Joanna Redden, Benjamin De Cleen.
Newsletter contributions to be sent to:




Dear colleague,

This is the first edition of the newsletter from ECREA Young Scholars Network.

We are quite confident this contains lots of information of interest for young scholars in the field of media and communications studies. It lists fellowships, upcoming conferences and new graduate programmes, includes book reviews, and reports on interviews with the editor of a new graduate journal and a recent graduate. If you wish to find out more about our network please go to
You should be able to see graphics. If not, then you may need to change your settings. Or you can go to our website (
Input for future newsletters, or comments on this one, are much appreciated. Please send them to:

All the best,

Panayiota Tsatsou,

Editor YECREA newsletter


Initiated in 2006, the young scholars' network of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) has developed into a significant actor in the field. The network currently has 105 members from 25 different countries, and has recently elected a new board: Tamara Witschge (chair), Benjamin de Cleen (vice-chair) and Joanna Redden (vice-chair).

The network has developed an active and extensive website (, which is an important tool of information provision as well as community building among young scholars. It provides information on conferences, jobs and scholarships, research activities such as summer schools and other doctoral courses and links relevant for young scholars. We are developing this website continuously and two new web editors have become involved: Itir Akdogan and Jeremy Depauw. Plans include:

  • Development of a database for young scholars, so that they can search for people with similar research interests;
  • Post pod casts with public lectures by senior scholars as well as young scholars;
  • Develop and fill in the current categories of information;
  • Develop a lively debate on the site.

Another major initiative is the instalment of thematic section representatives and country representatives:

Section representatives: One young scholar per section forms the link between the sections and YECREA. The representative provides information to young scholars about activities within their section. Depending on both the sections and the representatives this involvement could be extended to help think of future activities, help organise such activities and other possible input.

Country representatives: next to the section representatives we would also like have representation of countries, to have as much diversity within YECREA as possible, while at the same time making sure that young scholars of different countries (also those normally not very much linked to the international scene) have the information necessary and possibility for linking up with activities throughout Europe. The representative would provide YECREA information to young scholars in their country, and provide information to the network about activities, graduate programmes, summer schools, jobs and scholarships, conferences etc., as well as establish, and maintain links with the young scholars' divisions of national communication organisations.

If you wish to become involved as a country or section representative, please e-mail Benjamin De Cleen <> (section reps) or Joanna Redden <> (country reps).

YECREA Website & more

The YECREA website is renewed. Please check it out at

YECREA has been working hard to develop its website. The structure of the website has been improved. There is now a news blog that publishes news relevant to young scholars. The website features a discussion area where young scholars can discuss the PhD process and its problems, YECREA gatherings, and other topics. And the website now also includes a links section that provides links to journals, other young scholar organisations, media and communication departments, graduate programmes.

The development of the website as a resource for young scholars also depends on the contributions of YECREA members. The website is very interactive, so do not hesitate to share your knowledge and questions with other young scholars.

We are also developing a database of young scholars where each member can provide information about his or her own research, look up other members that are working on related topics, and so on. More about this in the next newsletter.

Jeremy Depauw has started a new series on the website: "Tips & Tricks for scholars", in which he introduces young scholars to tools and services that would greatly help with their daily tasks, but which - because of the lack of time - most don't discover. The first post in the series is on RSS feeds:

If you have material to feature on the website, please send this to:

Breaking News

Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF)

Application Deadline: January 30, 2009

The DPDF Program supports early-stage graduate students in formulating successful doctoral dissertation proposals that are also competitive in future fellowship competitions. Students in the humanities and social sciences may apply to one of five research fields, each led by two directors. Fellows participate in a spring workshop that prepares them for predissertation research and another in the fall, designed to help them synthesize their summer research into dissertation proposals and future fellowship applications. DPDF Fellows are eligible for up to $5,000 from the SSRC to support summer predissertation research. Approximately 60 fellowships are awarded. More information at

ESRC/SSRC Collaborative Visiting Fellowships

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) are pleased to announce a fellowship for scholars from the Americas to visit and engage in collaborative activities with members of ESRC-supported projects in Britain, or for British scholars at ESRC-supported projects to visit collaborators in the Americas, between June 2008 and September 2009. Approximately eighteen research fellowships of up to £5000 (approx. $9950) will be awarded. More information at

Collaborative Grants in Media and Communications

The Collaborative Grants in Media and Communications is a small grants project for academic-advocacy collaboration in the media and communications field. This project will provide grants of up to $7,500 for research that supports efforts to change the media / telecommunications infrastructure, practices, policies or content. The grants are intended for short-term work, completable and usable by advocacy partners within the next 4-12 months. There are no citizenship requirements for participants in these projects. More information at

The Nieman Foundation

The Nieman Foundation will award two Nieman Fellowships in Global Health Reporting for the academic year. One fellowship will go to a US citizen, one to a non-US citizen.
The fellows will spend one academic year at Harvard, followed by three to four months of field work in a developing country. During their Nieman year, the global health fellows will be part of the 2009 Class of Nieman Fellows and will participate in weekly activities at the Nieman Foundation. They will pursue a concentrated course of study at Harvard's School of Public Health and will have access to faculty and courses across the university through the Harvard Initiative for Global Health. The three to four months of field work is intended to provide an intensive learning and reporting experience in countries with the most pressing problems in global health. Deadline January 31, 2009

Humphrey Fellowship Program: Journalism Fellowships

The Humphrey Fellowship Program offers a ten-month stay at a journalism college in the United States (US) to study journalism and undertake professional affiliations at US news organisations.
The programme includes financial support for studies, travel, workshops and seminars, a monthly stipend, funds for books, and a computer subsidy.
Applicants should have a minimum of five years of substantial professional experience, limited or no experience in the U.S., and demonstrated leadership qualities and commitment to their communities. Humphrey Fellows from different professional fields are assigned to different United States (US) campuses. US host universities are selected through a competitive bidding process. Selection is based on the institution’s ability to develop specialised non-degree programmes for a diverse group of Fellows in one or more of the programme’s professional fields.
The deadline for application varies by country, but usually ranges from June to September for the following year.
For more information, see

Post-Graduate Research Associate, Banff New Media Institute’s Advanced Research Tech. Collaboration and Visualization Lab

Application Deadline: Review begins January 9, 2009, open until suitable candidate is found.

The Banff New Media Institute’s Advanced Research Technology Collaboration and Visualization Lab is accepting applications for a Post-Graduate Research Associate to work on the ESPACER (Emerging Social Places and Collaborative Environments Research) initiative.  The goal of ESPACER is the development, dissemination and evaluation of collaborative technologies that promote human interfacing and community awareness in the everyday lived spaces. Technologies and methods explored in the Advanced Research Technology Collaboration and Visualization Lab include large-scale participatory wireless networks, tangible and organic interfaces and virtual and augmented environments.

For more information and application at

Upcoming conferences in media and communications

International Association for Media and Communication Research - Emerging Scholars Network Section, July 21-24, 2008

The Emerging Scholars Network (ESN) invites you to participate in the 2009 International Congress of the IAMCR from July 21-24, 2008, in Mexico City.
Submissions are due the January 31, 2009.  Panelists will be announced by the end of April.  Full papers are due April 30, 2009.
Individual abstracts may only be submitted to a SINGLE section. Please do not submit the same abstract to two different sections of IAMCR.
Abstracts should be submitted on the IAMCR website, Questions may be addressed to the section chair, Sara Bannerman at sara.bannerman[AT]

Internet Research 10.0 -- Internet: Critical, October 7-11, 2009 The 10th Annual International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)

Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Call for Papers Released: 15 November 2008
Submissions Due: 1 February 2009
Notification: 15 March 2009
Publication of Papers
Selected papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of the journal Information, Communication & Society, edited by Caroline Haythornwaite and Lori Kendall.
Authors selected for submission for this issue have already been contacted prior to the conference.
Association Website:
Conference Website:

International Conference: The Ghosts of the Past: the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of Communism in Europe, 11-12 June 2009

Venue: University of East London, Docklands, London, UK. University Way , E16 2RD
Abstracts of 350 words should be sent to <> before 28 February 2009. A proposal of 350 words is also required for any other presentation format which is not a paper and needs to be sent before 28th February 2009 to

Conference rates

  • Full: £100 for both days.
  • Students: £50 for both days.
  • Extra booking for a conference dinner on 11th June 2009: £30 per person
  • Registration online until 25 March 2009

The Visual Archive: The Moving Image and Memory' workshop

28th-29th May 2009
CRESC (Centre for Research in Socio-Cultural Change), The Open University, UK
Those wishing to present a paper should submit an abstract of 200-300 words along with brief biographical details to by 14 February 2009
We also welcome proposals for panels - made up of three papers.

ECREA Events 2009

The workshop Narrative Fact and Fiction. Patterns of narrative construction in media stories and differential effects, to be held at the University of Vienna on 4-5 April 2009, is organised by the Narrative Network, the Department of Communication of the University of Vienna and the ECREA Audience and Reception Studies Section. The deadline for submissions is 8 February 2009. Read more about this event at
The international conference Journalism Research in the Public Interest, to be held in Zürich and Winterthur on 19-21 November 2009, is organised by the ECREA Journalism Studies Section in cooperation with the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research (SGKM) and the German Communication Association (DGPuK), with the support of International Communication Association (ICA) and International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). The deadline for submissions is 1 April 2009. Read more about this event at
For more conferences, see

New study and research programmes in media and communications

University of Glasgow, Postgraduate Studentships

The University of Glasgow will be offering postgraduate studentships in a wide range of subjects in the Arts and Humanities for studies at Masters and Doctoral level commencing in October 2009.

  • Dance, Drama and Performing Arts
  • Film Studies and Television Studies
  • Librarianship, Archives, Record Management and Information Science

Applicants may wish to consult the Arts and Humanities Graduate School website at
Applicants should complete the Graduate Admission application form which is available at
The closing date for receipt of applications from overseas students for ORS awards is Friday 30 January 2009.
The closing date for receipt of all other applications for 2009 studentships is Monday 16 February 2009.

MSc Media, Communication and Development, Media@LSE, LSE

Start date: 1 October 2009.
This programme offers an intensive, year-long exploration of a wide range of contemporary issues in media, communications and development.
The main aim of this programme is to offer an advanced interdisciplinary education and training in contemporary theory and research in the field of media and communications and its application in low income country contexts. It aims to:

  • Provide an opportunity to critically examine the intersection of the fields of media and communications and development research.
  • Provide a research training for students wishing to go on to MPhil/PhD research in the media, communication and development field and for entry to a variety of media, communication and development related careers.
  • Enable students to develop an understanding of a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of media and communication in low income country contexts.
  • Allow flexibility for students to pursue particular topics of interest in the field of media and communication with an emphasis on issues that arise in low income countries.


MBA New Media Technology and Management

The Austrian Accreditation Council approved the new "MBA in New Media Technology and Management" on June 24, 2008. MODUL University Vienna is now accepting applications for this new degree starting in October 2009 (please note that MU Vienna offers several types of scholarships).

: MODUL University Vienna
Student Service Center (Admission Services)
Am Kahlenberg 1 1190 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43 (1) 3203555-202
Fax: +43 (1) 3203555-901

Master of Global Communications, La Trobe University

La Trobe University's innovative new Master of Global Communications is a cross-disciplinary degree which offers an exciting mis of theoretical and practical units in media and journalism. Designed to equip graduates with the skills and insights for a professional career in the media industries the course will be taught by leading scholars and practitioners in the fields of media and journalism. For more information, see

La Trobe International, La Trobe University
Victoria 3086 Australia
T: (+61 3) 9627 4805
F: (+61 3) 9479 3660

Ph.D in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM), College of Humanities and Social Sciences at NC State University
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at NC State offers a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM)Built on the premise that new developments in communication media and information technologies require a dramatic shift in instruction and research, this program integrates the study of oral, written, and visual modes of communication to focus on the human dimensions of information and communication technologies.
Students in this program work with a diverse and accomplished faculty from the departments of Communication and English, use the resources of a high-tech campus, and build relationships with Research Triangle organizations. A highlight of the program is its emphasis on professional preparation, including a course in digital pedagogy and a colloquium devoted to professional issues and practices. For more information, see:

Job & research opportunities in media and communications

Zayed University, Anticipated Faculty Openings for August 2009
The College of Communication and Media Sciences offers a comprehensive program of study that leads to a B.S. in Communication and Media Sciences with concentrations in a variety of areas: advertising, public relations, tourism, film, broadcast, magazine, and multi-media journalism. For more details about the College, visit us at
Successful candidates should have a graduate or terminal degree. Preference will be given to those with a doctoral degree and significant professional experience in:

Communication with experience teaching such courses as interpersonal communication, public speaking, organizational communication and intercultural communication.
Media Production in the areas of print and new media.
Public Relations and Advertising with special events and tourism as preferred areas.

Freelance Researchers, University of East London

The Institute for Health and Human Development at the University of East London is one of the partner organisations in the Big Lottery Well London Programme working to improve health and wellbeing in London. As part of this programme we are conducting a questionnaire-based survey of people's diet, physical activity and general health and are recruiting free lance interviewers to help us to collect the data. The data is collected through 30 minute face-to-face interviews conducted at pre-selected addresses across London.
We are looking for reliable, committed and well-organised individuals, who are available to work for 5-6 hours a day, including evenings and weekends. The payment is based upon the number of interviews completed; we will also reimburse travel expenses and cover costs of mobile phone calls, where applicable. All interviewers will be trained prior to the commencement of the work.
To apply please send your CV and the names and contact details of two referees to
For more information please contact: Shahana Lais on 0800 043 8003.

Ph.D Candidate / University of Amsterdam Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

As a PhD candidate you will conduct the research project "Person-related and situation-related consequences of customized communication". Customized communication is expected to result in better message processing. Receivers are more open to it (i.e., accept it more), because they perceive it as more relevant ("for me"). However, while customized communication is found to result in increased acceptance of the message, it can also result in irritation, perceived intrusiveness and concerns about violation of one's privacy.
The proposed research will result in a PhD thesis consisting of scientific articles published in high-quality journals. You will also be expected to take up some teaching duties within the Department of Communication Science.
Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from: Prof. dr. Edith Smit, E-mail address:
You can apply for this job before 31-01-2009 by sending your application to:
University of Amsterdam
dr. Maaike Prangsma
Kloveniersburgwal 48
1012CX Amsterdam

Communication skills and Media training courses

The Royal Society recognises the increasing importance of providing training to all scientists to ensure they are equipped with the skills needed to communicate with a variety of audiences, whether it be students and scientists from other disciplines, or the media and mass public.
The Communication skills course equips scientists with the skills to communicate their work on a non-technical level, clearly and confidently to a wide range of audiences.
The Media training course focuses specifically on the skills needed when communicating with the media. A hands-on approach, including real film crew, takes scientists with a basic knowledge of the media and increases their skill and confidence in preparing for radio and television interviews and in approaching the print media with news stories and features.
The cost of each course is £400, subsidised through the Royal Society.
For enquiries about the courses please contact Catherine Lawrence, tel: 020 7451 2581 or email:
For more vacancies, see

Book/article review

This issue is dedicated to the world of Digital Media!

Book review

Matthew Hindman, The Myth of Digital Democracy
Review by Joanna Redden

In The Myth of Digital Democracy Matthew Hindman uses empirical research to challenge beliefs that the Internet is democratizing politics in the US. Hindman does not deny the Internet's social value, and is careful to establish that he is investigating specific claims about Internet fueled democratization. The six questions he sets out to address include: 1) Are there types of political participation that have been increased by the Internet? 2) Have significant numbers of previously inactive citizens been recruited into political activism? 3) Exactly how open is the architecture of the Internet? 4) Are online audiences more decentralized than audiences in traditional media? 5) How many citizens end up getting heard in cyberspace 6) Are those who do end up getting heard a more accurate reflection of the broader public?
Hindman addresses these questions by focusing on five specific but related empirical studies. In Chapter Two Hindman outlines Howard Dean's use of the Internet in his run for the Democratic nomination and the lessons that can be learned from that campaign. He concludes that Dean's campaign signaled a seismic shift in the way fundraising and volunteer recruitment was done, a fact now evident in Obama's success in this regard. On his website, Hindman notes that given the lengthy publication process some of the research in the book is outdated, and this chapter betrays that. Hindman's brief comparison between Obama and Dean points to other questions about what differences and similarities between Obama's and Dean's sites, for example levels of interactivity or activist's ability to access and influence political centres, might indicate about change.
Hindman next directs our attention to the important role link structure plays in shaping online political activity due to the popularity of search engines and their reliance on links to organize results. Largely through the automated analysis of millions of sites, Hindman and his co-researchers end up with a theory they call Googlearchy: the number of links pointing to a site is the most important determinant of site visibility; for every clearly defined group of websites a small portion of the group should receive most of the links and traffic; the dependence on links makes group (niche) dominance self-perpetuating. The findings in this chapter are among the most important in the book. Given our increasing reliance on search engines to navigate the vast amount of material on the Web, Hindman effectively directs our attention to the often imperceptible politics embedded in the "search layer" of Internet infrastructure.
In Chapter Four Hindman analyses website traffic and the paths users take through Hitwise data. He notes that commercial media receive the majority of attention online as they do offline, and that political sites make up a small niche within the larger web. He argues that search engines keep attention centralized and focused on known sources.
Challenging the belief that the web is democratizing the flow of information, Hindman argues in Chapter Five that online audiences are just as concentrated online as offline, and that newspaper content is more concentrated online than in print. The cyberspace news market is seen as highly concentrated on the top ten or twenty outlets, while a fairly large and fragmented audience is spread out in its viewing of smaller outlets. What is missing argues Hindman is a selection of moderately read sites that could form a basis of dialogue.
In Chapter 6 Hindman provides a detailed overview of the growth of blogs between 2000 and 20004. A survey of media claims made about blogs is useful reading for anyone interested in the American context. Hindman surveys seventy-five of the most read bloggers and finds almost all to be elites of some sort, and that most are white male professionals. This data, he argues, leads to the conclusion that blogging has not really changed whose voices are heard in politics.
Hindman's book methodically directs our attention to Internet infrastructure and the gatekeeping and filtering practices limiting openness. By asking questions about who is heard online, and not just who speaks, Hindman's research points to the powerful structural, economic, and social hierarchies shaping what we see and find online. There is limited discussion of the political implications of his findings, but the focus of this book is on building an empirically based argument. Hindman's research raises many questions of a qualitative nature, the most important might be as he notes, how the hierarchies of online life influence politics.
You can find more information about Matthew Hindman here:

For other, not YECREA initiated, book reviews go to:
International Journal of Communication Vol 3 2009

Reviewing Global Journalism Studies: Three Books and a Look at the Future
Reviewed by Nikki Usher

First Monday Vol 13 Number 11 - 3 November 2008

Book review of Lee Siegel's Against the Machine: Being human in the age of electronic media
Reviewed by Douglas Kocher

Culture Machine

Ned Rossiter (2006) Organised Networks: Media Theory, Creative Labour, New Institutions
Reviewed by Kirsty Robinson

New releases

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society announces a major research release: "Media Republic: News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age," a series of papers exploring the potential and the challenges of the emerging networked digital media environment.

Visit to download the papers:

News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age Issues;
International News: Bringing about the Golden Age;
Principles for a New Media Literacy;
Public Broadcasting and Public Affairs: Opportunities and challenges for public broadcasting’s role in provisioning the public with news and public affairs;

  • Digital Media, Democracy and Diversity: an Imperfect Discourse;
  • Pride of Place: Mainstream Media and the Networked Public Sphere;
  • Editors -- the best is yet to come?;
  • A Typology for Media Organizations.

Finding the Right Place on the Map. Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective," edited by Karol Jakubowicz and Miklós Sükösd can be :

This book is part of the ECREA series, which you will find here:

Book Chapters & Links:

Introduction (Free Chapter) - Page 9

Part One: Dimensions of Change (Free Chapter) - Page 41
Part Two: Normative and Policy Approaches to... (Free Chapter) - Page 85
Part Three: Objectivity vs Partisanship and Fandom (Free Chapter) - Page 191
Part Four: Media, Exclusion, and Conflict (Free Chapter) - Page 259

'A European Television History' edited by Jonathan Bignell and Andreas Fickers, Wiley; Blackwell, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-4051-6339-2 (Hardcover), 978-1-4051-6340-8 (Paperback), 288 pages

‘Digital Storytelling, Mediatized Stories: Self-representations in New Media’ edited by Knut Lundby (Peter Lang)

"Democracy, Journalism and Technology: New Developments in an Enlarged Europe. The intellectual work of the 2008 European media and communication doctoral summer school" This book includes a series of papers that were presented by lecturers and PhD-students at the European Communication and Media Doctoral Summer School, in July/August 2008 in Tartu (Estonia) (supported by a European Commission Socrates Erasmus IP Project (contract number: 69935-IC-1-2007-EE-ERASMUS-EUC-1), the University of Tartu and the Danish National Research School for Media, Communication and Journalism).
You can download a PDF-version of this book - free of charge - from the Summer School website (, or the Researching and Teaching Communication Series website ( The direct link to the book is:
A print version can be ordered by sending an email to

'Born Digital: Connecting with a Global Generation of Digital Natives' by Urs Gasser, John Palfrey. Basic Books ISBN 9780465005154. For more information and an excerpt, visit the book's website at

'Two publications on Community Radio in Ireland' by Rosemary Day (2008)
Community Radio in Ireland: Participation and Multi-flows of Communication. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press

'Internet-Mediated Participation Beyond the Nation State' by Bart Cammaerts. The book addresses one of the greatest challenges of post-modern democracy: how to bridge the perceived gap between citizens and democratic institutions. It examines internet-mediated multi-stakeholder processes of international and regional organizations, which aim to democratize decision-making processes in an attempt to counter criticisms of a "democratic deficit."

'10 Years of Community Radio in Austria. An Explorative Study of Open Access, Pluralism and Social Cohesion' by Judith Purkarthofer, Petra Pfisterer and Brigitta Busch (University of Vienna). It Is now available in English and can be downloaded from

The findings were also presented at the ECREA conference, on 25-28 November in Barcelona, in the session 'Community Radio, Participation, People and Practice' (Radio Research Section, 27/11/2008 | 11:00am | Room 131). Further info at

The highlights of the month

Manuel Castells - Communication Power
In October 2008 Manuel Castells gave a lecture at the Oxford Internet Institute outlining the thesis of his new book Communication Power to be released in June 2009. You can watch that lecture at

A related article by Castells can be found at
Castells, Manuel. "Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society" International Journal of Communication (2007) 1: 238-266.

Communication Power - Book Description

We live in the midst of a revolution in communication technologies that affects the way in which people feel, think, and behave. The media have become the space where power strategies are played out. In the current technological context mass communication goes beyond traditional media and includes the Internet and mobile communication. In this wide-ranging and powerful book, Manuel Castells analyses the transformation of the global media industry by this revolution in communication technologies. He argues that a new communication system, mass self-communication, has emerged, and power relationships have been profoundly modified by the emergence of this new communication environment. Created in the commons of the Internet this communication can be locally based, but globally connected. It is built through messaging, social networks sites, and blogging, and is now being used by the millions around the world who have access to the Internet. Drawing on a wide range of social and psychological theories, Castells presents original research on political processes and social movements, including the misinformation of the American public on the Iraq War, the global environmental movement to prevent climate change, the control of information in China and Russia, and Internet-based political campaigns, such as the Obama campaign in the United States. On the basis of these case studies he proposes a new theory of power in the information age based on the management of communication networks Justly celebrated for his analysis of the network society, Castells here builds on that work, offering a well grounded and immensely challenging picture of communication and power in the 21st century.

PLATFORM: New Postgraduate Journal in Media and Communication

YECREA interviewed Esther Chin, Amira Firdaus, Gin Chee Tong and Elias Mokua Nyatete, the Editors of the biannual online postgraduate journal PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication. This is a new postgraduate journal, refereed by an international board of established and emerging scholars working across diverse paradigms in Media and Communication, and it aims to encourage sharing and support within and across Media and Communication postgraduate communities worldwide.
YECREA thanks the Editors for all the interesting things they said about this new Journal.

  • YECREA: Where did the idea to start PLATFORM come from?
  • PLATFORM: The Journal  was started to encourage more postgraduate involvement in academic publishing. It aims to make it easier for postgraduates to publish by supporting one another in the publication process. Started at the University of Melbourne by a group of Media and Communication PhD students, under the mentorship of three experienced academics, PLATFORM is being developed internationally in cooperation with student representatives from the European Communication Research and Education Association Young Scholars Network, the International Association of Media and Communication Research Emerging Scholars Network (YECREA), as well as the International Communication Association Student Affairs Committee.
  • YECREA: How long has the journal been in the making?
  • PLATFORM: PLATFORM has been developed over seven months since June 2008. The first volume will be published in June 2009. As PLATFORM is a new postgraduate journal, there is much flexibility for postgraduates to develop the journal and to shape the direction of Media and Communication research.
  • YECREA: Why is a journal like this a good idea?
  • PLATFORM: Prior to PLATFORM, there have been two main avenues for postgraduates to publish on topics such as contemporary cultures of mediated mobility and issues related to new forms of global communication. The first avenue involves competing with more established scholars to publish in discipline-specific journals and books. Postgraduates are more likely to be rejected with minimal feedback given or, if accepted, to wait a long time between submission and publication. Alternatively, postgraduates may submit to interdisciplinary postgraduate publications where their work is reviewed and read by researchers from very diverse areas of expertise and interest.
  • Designed by and for Media and Communication postgraduates, PLATFORM networks Media and Communication postgraduates worldwide to support one another towards publication. Contributors, reviewers and the editorial team work closely, and each submission is given detailed feedback at both the abstract and full paper stages by scholars who work in areas such as political communication, journalism studies and audience research.
  • YECREA: How will postgraduate students benefit from getting involved?
  • PLATFORM: Readers and peer-reviewers will keep up with the latest work among their international peers, draw ideas from articles that are most closely related to their research, and influence disciplinary thinking. Contributors will benefit from detailed, informed feedback. Editorial team members will gain deeper insight into academic publishing.
  • YECREA: Why did you get involved?
  • PLATFORM: As Media and Communication postgraduates, we experience the necessity and challenges of postgraduate publication. More than being an academic requirement, effective communication of relevant and rigorous research is publicly important to critique the increasing taken-for-grantedness of media use in contemporary society. We see the potential for PLATFORM to address this need as our own research and writing have benefited from peer discussion, feedback and support.
  • Looking beyond the postgraduate years, we value the experience of working on an international peer-review journal. As we continue improving media research in countries in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and Africa, we intend to draw on our PLATFORM experience to mentor local postgraduates and academics to write for international peer-review panels, to increase the international visibility of local academic work and to contribute to a greater diversity of intellectual perspectives both locally and globally.
  • YECREA: I see the list of journal aims on the PLATFORM website and these are great. Is there a mission statement attached to the journal?
  • PLATFORM: As a consensual project of Media and Communication postgraduates worldwide, PLATFORM sustains a supportive international postgraduate community by working closely with postgraduates and their networks to draw on, develop, and communicate their expertise through academic publication.
  • YECREA: Is this journal modelled in any way on any other projects, journals, or initiatives?
  • PLATFORM: PLATFORM has not been modelled on any one project, journal or initiative. It is informed by the collective experience of the editorial team in academic publishing as well as postgraduate supervision and support. PLATFORM editorial board members head international research projects, do editorial work on major international journals and represent postgraduates in regional and international communication associations.
  • YECREA: Why did you decide to make PLATFORM an open access online publication?
  • PLATFORM: Open-access online publishing is a time- and cost-effective way to improve postgraduate access to research and to enable wider circulation of postgraduate work – encouraging greater use, citation and feedback. This is important in view of the worldwide ‘serials crisis’, where libraries are increasingly unable to afford rising electronic journal subscription rates. Open-access online publishing also brings research benefits to those who need them most, especially if they do not have institutional access. It is consistent with European Commission policy towards greater digitisation, accessibility and preservation of scientific and scholarly information.
  • YECREA: In trying to develop an international journal how are you going about contacting postgraduates in other countries?
  • PLATFORM: We are circulating information about PLATFORM through our email and conference networks in Europe, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific and Africa, as well as personally approaching postgraduates whose work has shown high quality and scholarly promise. There is also a PLATFORM: Journal of Media and Communication Facebook group, and information about PLATFORM on Graduate Junction.

For more information on PLATFORM, see at
Interview by Joanna Redden.

The 10 question interview with a young scholar who has something remarkable to say
We had an email interview with Dr. Michael Skey, a recent PhD graduate, who talked to us about interdisciplinary research and shares lots of PhD experiences and lessons.

Who is Who
Dr Michael Skey teaches sociology at the University of Leicester and media and communications at University of Kingston. He was awarded his PhD from the Department of Media at the London School of Economics in 2008 and is currently developing a number of the key themes from this work on nationalism, mediated identities, cosmopolitanism and sociological theory for publication.

  • YECREA:  Do you think that media and communications is a discipline in social sciences or something more? Does it have elements taken from different disciplines, and how did you experience the 'discipline identity' issue coming yourself from a purely sociological background?
  • Michael: Although media studies is beginning to develop it’s own disciplinary boundaries, it is still struggling to convince related disciplines that it has something worthwhile to say, not to mention the wider public, who remain highly sceptical. It’s an irony of the contemporary era, that media studies is held in such contempt, given the degree to which the media permeate everyday life.
  • 'Discipline identity' was never an issue until very recently when other people began to question me about it. Look, as a good post-modernist, I shift between identities depending on context and need!
  • YECREA:  Do you agree with the statement that 'everything is about communication'? Does this reflect approaches you have taken and findings you have obtained in your research work during and after your PhD?
  • Michael: It’s one idea that I have found useful in guiding my own engagements with, say, discussions around nationalism or globalisation. If media/cultural theory teaches us anything, it’s to pay very close attention to processes of communication, rather than assuming their impact. It’s one area in which media theory can make significant contributions although it’s not always easy to get others to pay attention.
  • YECREA:  How did you experience the transfer from one institution to another during your PhD research? How did that institutional change influence your intellectual and research horizons?
  • Michael: It was tough. I spent a very pleasant first year reacquainting myself with academia and then on moving to the LSE found myself suddenly thrown into the deep end. I struggled for a good 18 months to keep my head above water. Fortunately, it not only opened up new horizons but encouraged me to be far more critical of both my own and other’s work.
  • YECREA:  Do you consider yourself a media scholar or a social scientist? How would you describe each?
  • Michael: Both, although I’m not sure I find the distinction that worthwhile to be honest.
  • YECREA:  What do you consider to be the two most important arguments/ideas you have ever heard in media and communication studies? Is it hard to choose or hard to find?
  • Michael: James Carey’s ritual model of communication was theoretically important as it connected some of the sociological theory I had been using to the media. Elsewhere, Liz Bird’s writing on pretty much everything is always great but particularly her approach to methodology, which is informed, reflexive but above all practical.
  • YECREA:  Who is your favourite, if any, academic figure in the field of media and communications and why?
  • Michael: No favourites, just people who have influenced me at different times. This would include my two PhD supervisors, Nick Couldry and Sonia Livingstone, and the former head of the media department at the LSE, the much-missed Roger Silverstone.
  • YECREA:  Having completed your PhD research, what are the five tips that you would offer to those who are about to start a PhD? - Never to start it? - this last is a joke, not a question :)
  • Michael: To paraphrase the late, great American comedian Bill Hicks, always remember that ‘it’s just a ride’. It goes up, it goes down, some days it will be fantastic and others it’ll be dull and/or depressing. But as one day you’ll get off, try and enjoy as much of it as possible.
  • Try not to worry about what other people are or aren’t doing.
  • Write. Even when writing is the last thing on earth you want to do and what you seem to be writing is pure, unadulterated sh*te. Two months down the line, you’ll revisit those ideas and find a ge(r)m of an idea hidden in there.
  • Do something that isn’t your PhD and that involves not thinking. Grow vegetables (my personal favourite), train for a marathon, go for long walks in the forest, do something active.
  • Bounce ideas of anyone and everyone. That includes your peers, your supervisor, that bloke whose book you read and were really impressed by and your mum. If you mum can understand what it is you are trying to do, then you are probably doing it right.
  • YECREA:  What are the key challenges in the PhD journey? Could you bring up an example from personal experience?
  • Michael: Being able to maintain enough enthusiasm to get back on the bike when you feel like you’ve had enough or get knocked off. I had a horrible, horrible upgrade, which instilled a whole host of doubts about what I was doing and whether I’d ever be good enough to finish. In hindsight, it was the best thing that could have happened to me as it made me focus on answering key questions, notably with regard to methodology. I was asked to rewrite a chapter and, from that moment on, things started to fall into place.
  • YECREA:  What would you draw the attention of young researchers/PhDs who wish to conduct interdisciplinary research in media and communications to?
  • Michael: Be as promiscuous as possible in your relations with other disciplines whilst remaining faithful to your own interests!
  • YECREA:  Last question: viva and how to prepare. What is your personal 'best practice guide' for preparing for the PhD Viva ?
  • Michael: There is no ‘best practice’ as everyone is different. However, always remember by the time you get to the viva, you will be the expert in ‘your’ field. Therefore, with all due respect to your examiners, make sure that the debate remains firmly located there and that you display enough evidence of your expertise. The viva is about you and your work, not what they did in 1979 or what their mates’ think about so and so’s writing. Having said that, you also need to be aware of the limitations of your own work!

That  ends the 10-question interview about research, discipline hopping and PhD memories. Thank you Michael.
Interview by Panayiota Tsatsou

Contact details

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Newsletter editor: Panayiota Tsatsou
Contributors: Tamara Witschge, Joanna Redden, Benjamin De Cleen
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