Tag Archive for social media

CFP: Towards Resilient Community Media

Towards resilient community media

A conference at NUI Galway (Ireland), 13-15th June, 2019

The community media sector has been the focus of an increasing amount of scholarly attention as it has grown in size, from social movement theorists, to political economists, to those focused on governance and organisational communication.

Maintaining community media organizations poses a complex challenge, requiring ongoing attention to funding, to governance structures, to changing political and economic conditions, and to the task of building and consolidating relationships with communities. The challenge is exacerbated by the operation of community media within a capitalist system that is antithetical to the values of collaboration, non-commercialism, and inclusion that are at the core of work in this area. As Atton and Hamilton (2008: 26) note in their analysis of the political economy of alternative journalism, the “general political-economic dilemma for any critical project is that it needs resources with which to work, but those crucial resources are present only in the very society that it seeks to change or dissolve.”

This conference will provide an opportunity to reflect on questions of resilience and endurance as they arise in community media, and to explore the various interdependent factors that can impact the ongoing stability and health of community media projects. In addition to welcoming research grounded in particular case studies, we look forward to papers that will, in a holistic fashion, explore the role and operation of the sector in the context of broader socio-political concerns.

Contributions are invited from academics (including emerging and early-career scholars) exploring these issues, as well as from those working within the community and alternative media sectors.

Areas of focus might include (but are not limited to):

  • Analysis of the political economic contexts within which community media operate, including regulatory, financial, and staffing challenges.
  • Exploration of issues of governance and internal organisation
  • Analysis of sectoral cooperation and collaboration.
  • Questions of ethos, including issues of localism, defining community, ideology, and purpose.
  • Maintaining and refreshing relationships with communities.
  • Grappling with the ongoing tension between pragmatism and idealism.
  • Case studies of community or alternative media projects, including historical case studies, that provide insights into one or more issues of relevance to the conference theme.

In the first instance, proposals should be sent to andrew.obaoill@nuigalway.ie, and should include:

  • Author name and affiliation(s)
  • Paper title
  • 200-word abstract

The conference will open the evening of Thursday 13th, with academic sessions throughout the day on Friday 14th. Saturday 15th will include a field trip to the site of the Marconi transatlantic wireless telegraphy station in Connemara, supported by funding from the Broadcast Authority of Ireland, along with a visit to the studios of Connemara Community Radio.

Proposals are requested by 30 April, 2019. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

It is anticipated that selected papers from the conference will be published as a themed issue of a relevant academic journal.

This conference is made possible with the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and of the NUI Galway College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies.

Regulation of social media advertising

The Irish Times has published my letter on the need for regulation of social media advertising:

A chara, – Chris Connolly is, in a narrow, legalistic, sense correct when he lists regulation of social media advertising as a “risk” for sponsors (Business, January 16th, Business). The most striking lesson from his piece, however, is the great risk, at the societal level, if we do not have such regulations.

The tips Connolly provides for advertising done “right” – subtlety, avoiding “blatant” or “contrived” sales pitches – make it clear that what is envisaged is advertising that is not clearly identified as such, surreptitiously furthering the interests of sponsors and sports figures, at the expense of unsuspecting marks.

In broadcasting, we have particular concerns about advertising aimed at children because young children are unable to clearly distinguish between advertising and other content, because parents are not able to effectively moderate children’s viewing on a sufficiently granular basis, and because television, in particular, is seen as persuasive by virtue of the relationships children build with the characters they view. All these concerns also apply to social media. Given the focus in Chris Connolly’s piece on sports figures, who are so often held up as role models for children, standards that protect young fans seem appropriate.

More generally, a lack of transparency by sports figures about their connections to products and services they promote seems sleazy and unethical. Surely we can expect better? – Is mise,



Assistant Professor of

Communication Studies,

Division of Humanities

Natural Sciences,

Cazenovia College,

Sullivan Street,

Cazenovia, New York, US.