Monthly Archives: November 2013

Upcoming event, 17 December: Symposium on Global Media Policy and Business

An announcement about an upcoming book series launch at City University London:

Join us for the book series launch of Palgrave Global Media Policy and Business, co-edited by Professors Petros Iosifidis, Jeanette Steemers and Gerry Sussman.

Please email the event organiser Petros Iosifidis at to register


1.00 – 2.00pm Refreshments; books on display to be sold at a discounted price

2.00 – 4.00pm Talks on Global Media Policy and Business. Confirmed speakers include:

Steven Barnett, University of Westminster, London
Jean Chalaby, City University London
Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside
Michael Starks, Oxford University, UK
Mark Wheeler, London Metropolitan University
OFCOM representative

4.00 – 5.00pm Wine reception to follow the talks.

This event takes place in rooms D111-3, 1st floor, Social Sciences Building, St. John Street, EC1R 0JD London

Dave Boyle: Addressing the decline of local media – a response to Theresa May

Dave Boyle

It was a shame that in her recent intervention on the subject of local newspapers, Home Secretary Theresa May chose to use the opportunity to indulge in every government minister’s favourite sport of bashing the BBC.

In seeking to implicate the BBC in the decline of local media when speaking to the Society of Editors, she flattered her audience by avoiding the uncomfortable reality.

The BBC does, of course, have strong regional coverage, but this in no way can be said to be local in any meaningful sense of the word; if viewers and listeners and website readers are happy enough with what the BBC produces, then the real problem is that local media has been producing a fully-featured product for generations of people who would have been quite happy with the odd snippet.

It was a shame that May ignored the elephant in the room, because she has direct experience of it. In her remarks, she praised the Maidenhead Advertiser’s editorial freedom, but didn’t talk about its economic and strategic independence.

The paper, like others in the Bayliss group, were moved into a trust in 1962 by their founding family of owners, to ensure that they remained independent and locally focussed. They knew that they couldn’t rely on benevolent, wealthy people to guarantee the concern with local matters and undertook to make them unavailable for sale to anyone else.

Contrast that with the reality in the majority of the UK, where titles have been aggregated into 4 major groups, where decisions with serious impact on local community and civic life are made by people looking at spreadsheets hundreds of miles away for the benefit of people of shareholders thousands of miles away.

Papers merging content or merging titles, groups closing papers because they’ve squeezed all they can from them, editors being told to sack hundreds of journalists in the name of efficiency, whilst working those that remain ever harder with the resulting growth of churnalism. (The NUJ’s Chris Morley writes brilliantly about this here.)

If May wanted to give communities everywhere the kind of service that she and her constituents enjoy, she would do better to look to guarantee local ownership away from remote and distant groups and ensure it was in the hands of people who cared passionately about the ability of the local media to hold their councils and MPs to account.

One route would be the kind of ownership in trust enjoyed in Maidenhead (or The Guardian and Observer), But whilst that might protect a publication, it doesn’t enhance it, which is where community ownership would work much better, opening up the press to genuine engagement and control by local people (as well as helping the balance sheet by bringing new capital and revenue in the form of membership).

This is – slowly – happening, but Ministers who care about this can help by ensuring local communities get the chance to control the destiny of their local media by giving them a right to operate local media wherever the current owners wish to close or merge a title or reduce locally generated content below a certain level, or even better, a right to buy a paper if they can meet an agreed and independently verified fair price.

Both would do so much more than blaming the BBC, which is the equivalent of treating the very serious issue of ensuring journalism survives in local communities with leeches.

Dave Boyle is a researcher, writer and business consultant, who wrote Good News: A Co-operative Solution to the Media Crisis and organised the Carnegie UK Trust / Co-operatives UK programme ‘Make Your Local News Work‘. He blogs at and on twitter as @theboyler.

This post originally appeared on the Media Reform Coalition website.

Special workshop: Critical issues in European and national media and communications policy

A special workshop on ‘Critical issues in European and national media and communications policy: contours of a new paradigm?’ will be held on 8 November 2013, sponsored by the The Finnish Institute in London and organised by the Media Policy and Industry Group, Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Westminster and the Research group ‘Facing the Coordination Challenge: Problems, Policies and Politics of Media and Communication Regulation’ (FACE), Communication Research Center (CRC), Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki.

Draft programme

 11:00: Opening words

  • Jeanette Steemers, CAMRI
  • Hannu Nieminen, FACE
  • Antti Halonen, Finnish Insitute in London

 11:15: First session. General review of EU’s recent policies and policy initiatives in media and communications

  • Hannu Nieminen: When the national meets the European: new tensions in European media policy and regulation
  • Steven Barnett: Europe and media plurality: sound and fury signifying nothing?
  • Marko Ala-Fossi: Broadcasting in the Post-Broadcast Era: Transitions of Policy and Technology
  • Maria Michalis: Overview of recent EU policy developments in telecommunications/e-communication: Has there been a paradigm change?
  • Daniel Trottier: Digital media monitoring: from Facebook stalking to Edward Snowden

12:45 Lunch break

13:30: Second session. Special issues: policies and policy initiatives in regulating the infrastructure

  • Jeanette Steemers: Transformations in Television Distribution: The Space between Production and Consumption
  • Adriana Mutu: Modulating the media: institutional patterns of broadcasting regulation in 47 European democracies
  • Peter Goodwin: The politics of BBC governance
  • Alessandro D’Arma: Public service broadcasting and the crisis of legitimacy: the Italian case
  • Maria Michalis: Net neutrality: how well can the EU balance different sets of rights?
  • Jockum Hildén: EU without digital borders

15:00: Coffee break

15:30: Third session. Special issues: policies and policy initiatives in content regulation

  • Kari Karppinen: Regulation of media pluralism
  • Steve Barnett: UK press regulation in the post-Leveson era
  • Katja Lehtisaari: Newspaper journalism in the converged environment
  • Jeanette Steemers: Protection of minors: regulating children?
  • Anette Alén-Savikko: Digital Copyright as Policy
  • Johanna Jääsaari: Copyright and users’ rights

17:00: Concluding session. Mapping areas for further research and potential themes for cooperation 

About this workshop

The main purpose of the workshop is to promote critical discussion on the issues concerning European and national media policies. The participants will address these issues in the form of short presentations, allowing ample time for common debate.

For further information, please contact:

  • Prof. Jeanette Steemers, CAMRI, University of Westminster  (email)
  • Prof. Hannu Nieminen, FACE, University of Helsinki (email)

Upcoming event: 8 November 2013 – Pluralism in the Age of Internet

The Florence School of Regulation will be live-streaming its Special Workshop
‘Pluralism in the Age of Internet’ on 8 November 2013 at this link.

The full programme can be found here [PDF].

About the event:

Internet challenges the traditional notion of pluralism. The term “media pluralism” has been developed in a media environment that was characterized by the scarcity of the resources of the broadcasting market. Nowadays the media sector is experiencing radical transformations: scarcity is not an issue anymore; access to the Web is usually affordable and allows users/citizens to reach a world-wide audience; new intermediaries that are operating in the market give users more opportunities to express themselves. Nonetheless the impact of these changes still needs to be carefully assessed: media pluralism in the Internet should be addressed considering important issues such as access and content regulation, market dominance and concentration, filtering and gatekeeping.

The Special Workshop will discuss the meaning of “pluralism” in the Internet age. The debate will focus on access as a fundamental right, on the need of specific regulation for web content and for web operators.