A PROPOSED RESEARCH AGENDA FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM, COLLEGE OF MASS COMMUNICATION


A PROPOSED RESEARCH AGENDA
FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM,
COLLEGE OF MASS COMMUNICATION
28 August 2009

 

The administrative compartmentalization of the college into departments makes it tempting, even convenient, to divide research content, courses, subject matter, and topics by media, or by forms (print, broadcast, new media, etc.). Categorization by media of the research agenda, and of news media studies, however, does not contribute to a content-based analysis of media issues as social issues, except perhaps for the usual debate on effectiveness of the medium and the usual software-hardware debate.

The following is a proposed research agenda based on content. Many of these items are already being undertaken by the faculty and students. This proposed research agenda is also based on the premise that journalism is multi-media, and therefore, the topics cut across the media.

A. Transforming discussion on the principles of journalism into empirical studies, through strategic and periodic content-analysis of multi-media news reports Challenging or proving the following fundamental assumptions of news reporting through the conduct of empirical studies:

1. "Objectivity"
2. Fairness
3. Balance
4. Accuracy
5. Completeness, contextualization, relevance, information and analysis of consequence

B. Revisiting news values and news judgment: Proving or challenging theories through empirical studies (focus interviews, surveys, content-analysis):

1. Agenda-setting function of the news media; gatekeeping theory of the press

a. crime reporting; reporting on tragedies, calamities; sex and violence.

2. The relationship between the news media and business/commercial interests

a. Lifestyle and entertainment reporting
b. Business reporting
c. Public relations and advertising

3. The news media as agent of social change

a. reporting on governance
b. conflict-reporting: wars, coups, insurgencies
c. reporting on surveys and elections d. reporting on the environment

C. Investigating media-source interaction: empirical studies on how reporters, editors, and news directors choose, assess, access, use, verify, disclose, and protect sources of information

1. Primary sources: first-hand accounts, witnesses, whistleblowers
2. Documentary sources (contracts, photos, original videos; use of hidden camera, etc. )
3. On-line sources

D. Sharpening and polishing the tools of the multi-media journalist (news writing and news reporting)

1. Trends in investigative reporting
2. Computer-assisted reporting
3. Citizen journalism

E. Exploring and pushing the boundaries of the new media and the “social media” through empirical studies of:

1. Citizen journalism
2. On-line news organizations
3. Social networking sites as channel of information and news
4. MMS and SMS as medium of information and news

F. Systematizing and Analyzing the Demographics of a Changing Audience Empirical studies on the pervasiveness of the different media; demographics of audiences; shifts, if any, in audience taste and preferences; media literacy.

G. Analyzing the Political Economy of a Globalized News Media

1. Empirical studies on ownership and corporate structure of media organizations
2. Research and analysis of government control of the news media
3. Survey of alternative, independent news media organizations
4. Empirical studies on the hegemony of global media organizations and conglomerates

H. Advancing a Free and Independent Press

1. Continuing empirical studies on journalist killings; the government and public response to impunity
2. Cases of censorship; the filing of libel cases against journalists by public figures; campaign to decriminalize libel
3. Government stonewalling and the right of access to information on matters of public concern.

I. Establishing periodic updates, monitor, studies, criticism, and commentary of media practices and behaviour; the dominant interests of media owners and any conflicts-of-interest arising; news media performance during pivotal moments in history; including: publishing an annual State of the Media Report to be supported by a research grant.

 

.Marichu C. Lambino
http://marichulambino.wordpress.com/
digital signature for Research Agenda 28 Aug. 2009