The AHRC Research Network on Innovation in Public Service Media Policies
Alessandro D’Arma (University of Westminster), with Minna Horowitz (University of Helsinki)
15 September 2019 – 15 June 2020
At a time of mounting concerns over the many ways in which a profit-driven digital eco-system controlled by a handful of very powerful and yet unaccountable Internet giants is failing society, the critical role that PSM institutions are called to play in promoting the public interest in the contemporary media ecology is being revalued. Yet PSM institutions are facing major challenges everywhere: their public financing is subject to growing pressure and scrutiny; their audiences are slowly dwindling and ageing; viral disinformation has further lowered public trust in media, and PSM are among the media organisations facing demands for greater accountability.
The main objectives of the Research Network are to facilitate exchange between academic experts and key PSM stakeholders and develop a research agenda across national and disciplinary boundaries with a view to advancing our thinking about innovative policy solutions and strategies to respond to the major digital challenges confronting PSM.
Four multi-stakeholder workshops:
1: PSM in the digital ecosystem: state-of-the art and research priorities (12 November 2019) – foundations.
2: Innovation and co-creation with young people (21-22 February 2020) – collaborations.
3: Innovation in access and discoverability of PSM content (April 2020) – availability.
4: PSM Utopias (May 2020) – re-envisioning PSM.
The project is designed to facilitate networking among academics from different disciplinary backgrounds with a common interest in understanding how to support a robust communication ecosystem and to foster dialogue and collaborations between academia and key PSM stakeholder organisations. The network will aim to identify policy innovations in relation to each of the four thematic areas (funding, content innovation, distribution and accountability) drawing on the research findings presented by academics and on the insider knowledge and expertise of various stakeholder organisations.
The collaborative, multi-stakeholder workshops are a central pathway to impact. Other dissemination and impact activities will include a project website regularly updated with news and blogs about the project, four workshop reports with contributions by participants, and, finally, a policy briefing report published by the U. of Westminster Press as part of the CAMRI Policy Briefs series and distributed to PSM stakeholders and to news outlets covering media policy issues. All the material created within the project will be available to all network members.
A Project Steering Group comprising of internationally-recognised scholars and high-level representatives of various PSM stakeholders will meet twice during the project to steer the agenda of the four workshops at the commencement of the project (September 2019) and to evaluate its outputs at the end (June 2020). The role of the steering committee is central in specifying the issues, setting detailed goals, and suggesting invited guest experts for each workshop. When evaluating the project, they will also advise the project in terms of dissemination of outcomes to different stakeholder groups and continuation of the network beyond the project.
Members of the Steering Committee:
Prof Steven Barnett (U. of Westminster)
Helen Boaden (expert in press, politics and public policy)
Prof Christian Fuchs (U. of Westminster, CAMRI Director)
Ritva Leino (YLE, Head of YLE multi-platform and co-founder of YLE Lab)
Prof Hannu Nieminen (U. of Helsinki, Dean of the Faculty of Social Science)
Jaspal Samra (Ofcom, Policy Advisor, Content and Media Policy)
Andrew Scadding (BBC, Head of Public Affairs)
Prof Jeanette Steemers (King’s College)
Roberto Suárez Candel (EBU, Head of Strategy & Media Intelligence)
Klaus Unterberger (ORF, Head of ORF Public Value)
Sally-Ann Wilson (PMA, CEO)