media, communication

The European handbook of media accountability

The European handbook of media accountability / ed. by Tobias Eberwein, Susanne Fengler & Matthias Karmasin
London, GB: Routledge, 2018. 340 p.

 

In recent years, the Leveson Inquiry in Great Britain, as well as the EU High-Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism, have stirred heated debates about media accountability and media self-regulation across Europe. How responsible are journalists? How well-developed are infrastructures of media self-regulation in the different European countries? How much commitment to media accountability is there in the media industry – and how actively do media users become involved in the process of media criticism via social media? With contributions from leading scholars in the field of journalism and mass communication, this handbook brings together reports on the status quo of media accountability in all EU members states as well as key countries close to Europe, such as Turkey and Israel. Each chapter provides an up-to-date overview of media accountability structures as well as a synopsis of relevant research, exploring the role of media accountability instruments in each national setting, including both media self-regulation (such as codes of ethics, press councils, ombudspersons) and new instruments that involve audiences and stakeholder groups (such as media blogs and user comment systems). A theoretically informed, cross-national comparative analysis of the state of media accountability in contemporary Europe, this handbook constitutes an invaluable basis for further research and policy-making and will appeal to students and scholars of media studies and journalism, as well as policy-makers and practitioners.

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The news media: What everyone needs to know

The news media: What everyone needs to know / C. W. Anderson, Leonard Downie, Michael Schudson
New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2016. 188 p.

The business of journalism has an extensive, storied, and often romanticized history. Newspaper reporting has long shaped the way that we see the world, played key roles in exposing scandals, and has even been alleged to influence international policy. The past several years have seen the newspaper industry in a state of crisis, with Twitter and Facebook ushering in the rise of citizen journalism and a deprofessionalization of the industry, plummeting readership and revenue, and municipal and regional papers shuttering or being absorbed into corporate behemoths. Now billionaires, most with no journalism experience but lots of power and strong views, are stepping in to purchase newspapers, both large and small.
This addition to the What Everyone Needs to Know® series looks at the past, present and future of journalism, considering how the development of the industry has shaped the present and how we can expect the future to roll out. It addresses a wide range of questions, from whether objectivity was only a conceit of late twentieth century reporting, largely behind us now; how digital technology has disrupted journalism; whether newspapers are already dead to the role of non-profit journalism; the meaning of "transparency" in reporting; the way that private interests and governments have created their own advocacy journalism; whether social media is changing journalism; the new social rules of old media outlets; how franchised media is addressing the problem of disappearing local papers; and the rise of citizen journalism and hacker journalism. It will even look at the ways in which new technologies potentially threaten to replace journalists.

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Writer's rights: Freelance journalism in a digital age

Writer's rights: Freelance journalism in a digital age / Nicole S. Cohen
Montreal, CA: McGill-Queen's Univ. Press, 2016. 323 p.

As media industries undergo rapid change, the conditions of media work are shifting just as quickly, with an explosion in the number of journalists working as freelancers. Although commentary frequently lauds freelancers as ideal workers for the information age – adaptable, multi-skilled, and entrepreneurial – Nicole Cohen argues that freelance media work is increasingly precarious, marked by declining incomes, loss of control over one’s work, intense workloads, long hours, and limited access to labour and social protections. Writers’ Rights provides context for freelancers’ struggles and identifies the points of contention between journalists and big business. Through interviews and a survey of freelancers, Cohen highlights the paradoxes of freelancing, which can be simultaneously precarious and satisfying, risky and rewarding. She documents the transformation of freelancing from a way for journalists to resist salaried labour in pursuit of autonomy into a strategy for media firms to intensify exploitation of freelance writers’ labour power, and presents case studies of freelancers’ efforts to collectively transform their conditions. A groundbreaking and timely intervention into debates about the future of journalism, organizing precariously employed workers, and the transformation of media work in a digital age, Writers’ Rights makes clear what is at stake for journalism’s democratic role when the costs and risks of its production are offloaded onto individuals.

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The closing of the net

The closing of the net / Monica Horten
Cambridge: Polity, 2016. 202 p.

How are political decisions influencing the future direction of Internet communication? As the interests of powerful businesses become more embedded in the online world, so these corporations seek greater exemption from liability. They are manipulating governments and policymakers, blocking and filtering content, and retaining and storing personal data at the cost of individual access and privacy. In this compelling account, Monica Horten confronts the deepening cooperation between large companies and the state. Corrupt political manoeuvrings, she argues, suggest that the original vision of a free and democratic Internet is rapidly being eclipsed by a closed, market-led, heavily monitored online ecosystem. And the results are chilling. "The Closing of the Net" boldly tackles the controversies surrounding individual rights today. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with present and future Internet policy and its effects on our freedoms.

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