A reflection on the ‘Media Wars’ 20 years on

By MARK PEARSON

It has been 20 years since the start of the so-called ‘Media Wars’ – the spat between cultural studies and journalism educators triggered by the provocative (and likely tongue-in-cheek) proclamation by cultural studies academic John Hartley that journalism research was a ‘terra nullius’ of epistemology and Keith Windschuttle’s retaliatory attack on the ‘obscurantism’ of cultural studies as an academic discipline.

I have partnered with two colleagues – Roger Patching and Lisa Wilshere-Cumming – to write a reflection on that episode and an assessment of the path of journalism research since that debate.

Our article appears in the August 2015 edition of Media International Australia (No. 156, just released), the contents of which are viewable here.

Here is our abstract:

A conceptual matrix of journalism as research two decades after ‘Media Wars’

Mark Pearson, Roger Patching and Lisa Wilshere-Cumming

It is 20 years since John Hartley (1995) positioned journalism as the subject of academic research rather than as a research method in its own right. In 1999, Media International Australia devoted a themed edition to the debate over journalism in the academy (‘Media Wars’), which prompted further scholarly discourse over the role and location of journalism as a field of study. This article reassesses that debate in the light of the acknowledgement of journalism studies and journalism creative works in the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) system, the use of journalism methods as a research methodology and the development of conceptual paradigms for journalism as research. The article surveys the relationship between journalism and research over the ensuing two decades and proposes a conceptual matrix of the journalism–research nexus.

© Mark Pearson 2015

Disclaimer: While I write about media law and ethics, nothing here should be construed as legal advice. I am an academic, not a lawyer. My only advice is that you consult a lawyer before taking any legal risks.

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Filed under journalism, journalism education, Uncategorized

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