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Jen Birks

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

My principal area of interest is the involvement of publics in mediated political communication, including news reporting of protest and other aspects of civil society. I am interested in questions of citizenship and the exercise of publicity, and in how political practices are mediated. My most recent research has focused on media representation and discourse, but past work has also examined the relationship between the professional ideology of journalism and particular news production practices (especially campaigning) and the news reception on political elites.

In News and Civil Society, I explore the various ways in which the social and democratic role of civil society is defined and examines the extent to which these different roles are accorded legitimacy in news reporting and commentary.

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Teaching Summary

I teach political communication and news media modules, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. I have supervised dissertations on the personalisation of electoral candidates in marginal… read more

Research Summary

My research explores the ways in which contested issues progress through the public sphere, in particular with the interventions of protesters and other publics in news media. It encompasses analysis… read more

Selected Publications

I teach political communication and news media modules, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. I have supervised dissertations on the personalisation of electoral candidates in marginal parties, political use of social media, and news framing of issues such as conflict, domestic violence and wind farms. My PhD students work in areas of the politics and ideology of media production, form and content.

Current Research

My research explores the ways in which contested issues progress through the public sphere, in particular with the interventions of protesters and other publics in news media. It encompasses analysis of the campaigning activities of the partisan press as well as more conventional media representation of protest. Recent work has addressed tax avoidance and anti-austerity protest, including the impact of UK Uncut and tabloid campaigns against the 'bedroom tax', whilst previous work looked at the Occupy movement, student anti-fees protests, and the public role of other aspects of civil society such as trade unions and religious organisations, and newspaper campaigns in the Scottish press in the years following devolution. My research has been funded by the ESRC, Leverhulme Trust and British Academy.

Future Research

I am currently working on the role of expertise and verification in news, in the context of campaigns of misinformation for the EU referendum and US presidential elections.

Department of Culture, Film and Media

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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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