Centre for Media Research

The Project

In an important contribution to the debate about Media Studies, Dr David E. Butler argues that contemporary Media Studies needs to deliver a critical practice curriculum that should combine history and analysis of the media; contextual understanding of technological, economic and cultural developments; and a mastery of craft-discipline and production.

I: Introduction ‘Should you consider this Utopian, then I ask you to reflect on the reasons why it is Utopian.’ – Brecht, 1932 Speaking-up for a sharpened focus on what was once fondly referred to as ‘the Project’ of Media Studies – i.e., to show things as they really are – the aim of this discussion paper is to consider the future of media curricula in respect of trends in the broader sector of arts, humanities and social science education in UKHE, in particular with reference to changing forces and relations in the economy and society. To my mind, the educational priority has to be to ensure delivery of a critical practice curriculum designed to produce makers of things (2D, 3D, 2D2), trained and qualified to a professional standard in the application of hand skills, critical skills and contextual skills.

To read more click the following link: The Project


About David E. Butler

David E. Butler was Associate Dean in Art, Media & Design at London Met until the summer of 2012. Since then he has been operating as a consultant on projects including the development of a degree in Criminology, Psychology & Social Justice, validated by University of Sussex, and auditing the Creative Industries portfolio at UWE. Prior to London Met he was for eight years Principal Lecturer in Media & Cultural Studies at UEL and before that taught for ten years at UUC. David also completed under and postgraduate studies at Coleraine – DPhil published as The Trouble with Reporting Northern Ireland (1995). While at UUC his commitments latterly included teaching at Maze prison.

Defending Media Studies

Media Studies needs to answer its critics and tell its side of the story, says Professor James Curran in this keynote address to the MeCCSA conference in Derry, given on Friday 11th January 2013. 



Media studies have been subject to periodic attack by quality newspapers, across the political spectrum, for over fifteen years.  According to the Conservative Sunday Times, a degree in media studies is ‘little more than a state-funded, three-year equivalent of pub chat’ that is symptomatic of ‘a dumbed down educational world’.  The centrist Independent declared that ‘students learn nothing of value’ on media studies courses, adding that ‘this paper regards a degree  in media studies as a disqualification for a career in journalism’. The left-leaning Guardian, though not fulminating directly against media studies in an editorial, has published a number of lengthy, feature-based denunciations. One declared a media studies undergraduate degree to be ‘puffed-up nonsense masquerading as academic discipline’ that is ‘an instant turn-off to employers’.   Another argued that the rise of media studies has been founded on a corrupt compact between ‘cash-hungry universities’ and gullible young people who think that studying journalism at university will ‘help them meet Posh Spice’. It was headlined ‘Media Studies?  Do Yourself a Favour – Forget it’.

To read more click the following link: Defending Media Studies


Hillsborough, the Media and the Independent Panel Report

In wake of the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, in which 96 football fans lost their lives, sections of the media were accused of misinforming the public and on occasions telling blatant lies. Twenty three years later, how did the same media cover the Independent Panel Report into the Hillsborough deaths and injuries; a report that vindicated the campaign for justice pursued by the surviving victims and their families, and made uncomfortable reading for the authorities and the media? Dr Greg McLaughlin of the CMR reviews the coverage.


The Hillsborough Panel Report (12 September 2012) has finally told the truth about the Hillsborough football disaster in 1989. It has told us that 41 of the victims could have been saved had the ambulance services and police handled the disaster better. It has told us that South Yorkshire Police tried to cover up the decisions and mistakes that directly caused the disaster and it told us that they then conspired with a Tory MP and a Sheffield news agency to smear the victims and survivors, all of them Liverpool fans. Not that the families of the victims – the Hillsborough Family Support Group – or the fans of Liverpool FC (including myself) or the people of Liverpool needed to know what the truth was. Like the families of the Bloody Sunday dead, the HFSG campaigned to force the state to admit it publicly.

Even after 23 years, during which we have had three inquiries, all of them vindicating the victims and survivors, much of public opinion (beyond Merseyside) has been misinformed by the lies and smears disseminated by the South Yorkshire Police in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. But that could not have happened without the connivance of some sections of the British media, most notoriously the Sun newspaper. So how would the media respond to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel Report, particularly those concerning the conduct and failings of the police? Would they see them as isolated aberrations from the bad old days of the 1980s, aberrations that could never happen today? Or would they interpret them as part of a wider malaise in the relationship between the police and the public? These questions matter because the answers might determine the impact of media coverage on wider public opinion and belief about what happened at Hillsborough.

To read more click on the following link:The Media and the Hillsborough Panel Report