This collection contains the Doctoral and Masters by Research theses produced within the department.

Recent Submissions

  • An interrogation of concepts of journalistic professionalism within (HE level) journalism education in the context of ethics learning and teaching

    Roberts, Simon; Piasceka, Shelley; Duffett, Mark; Erzan-Essien, Ato (University of Chester, 2023)
    The journalism field continues to undergo a significant transformation impacting on practitioners and their place within the public sphere. These changes are also apparent in the way journalists perceive themselves as well as their audiences (actual and potential) in particular. The impact of audience news consumption from online platforms has been especially significant during the last decade with characteristics traditionally associated with journalistic professionalism, such as gatekeeping and autonomy diminishing and their association with the field called into question. Professionalism however, has long been a contested notion in journalism. This research begins with an exploration of its various sociological definitions and their relevance to the field of practice. A hypothesis then emerges from a review of key learning and teaching resource material which suggested the paucity of clear meanings in the documentation reflected a broader understanding of professionalism in the journalism field and rendering the ascription of terms such as ‘professional’ and ‘professionalism’ to practice as problematic. This set the groundwork and rationale for the identification and interrogation of concepts of professionalism through interviews with journalism educators at HE level. The resulting isolation of characteristics of journalism practice in teaching and learning could be reflective of journalistic professionalism. The subsequent interview data was then analysed using a realistic evaluation approach which established a set of indicative themes considered to be key notions of journalistic professionalism. The findings confirmed the idea of journalistic professionalism was problematic because of the fluid contemporary environment of the journalism field. Perceived notions of professionalism however, were primarily driven by academization which, it was concluded, were intrinsic to an overarching definition of journalistic professionalism. Furthermore, when examined through the theoretical framework of social responsibility, three new themes were derived from the amalgamation of interview data with the ‘dimensions’ outlined by Singer (2003) and Larson (1977). These themes – the COAd theme (normative dimension, organizational theme and academic driver), NOE theme (the normative dimension, organizational and ethical themes) and EE theme (the evaluative dimension, existential theme), provided a set of clearly identifiable notions by which to differentiate between those in the field – ‘professionals’, adhering to normative journalistic practices, ethical behaviour and organizational obligation, and ‘non-professionals’, who identify as journalists but are not tied to any specific requirements, ethical or otherwise.
  • Glocalisation, Arab Values, and Traditions in Jeem TV Content

    Roberts, Simon; Petkova, Vera; Abdulraheem, Ayah (University of Chester, 2023-07)
    This thesis explores the ways in which Jeem TV negotiates cultural content and values in its programming. It also studies the Hierarchy of Influences at the pan-Arabic children's channel based in Qatar by focusing on its internal policy, and it examines the effect of societal factors and the external media market. The research examines these issues through the prism of the glocalisation process and the Hierarchy of Influence model proposed by Shoemaker and Vos (2009). Fifty-six hours of Jeem TV‘s programmes broadcast across three different seasons were analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Interviews were also conducted with presenters, Arabic language experts, Arab sociologists, children‘s media experts, and individuals who worked with the channel. Jeem TV offered a version of Arab programming that encompassed both traditional values and adaptations. More specifically, the channel included other languages, such as English, non-Arab cultures, representation of genders, and new formats. Whereas the viewers‘ culture, as an external force, had an effect on Jeem TV‘s agenda, the external media market allowed some of the cultural values to be blended with other culture. Additionally, there is a correlation between the external media market and Jeem TV in the context of the economic and political dimensions. The thesis showed a complex interplay of processes on Jeem TV involving culture, religion, glocalisation process, globalisation, Jeem TV's policy, non-Arab cultures, and regional politics. Furthermore, the nature of the interrelation between these factors is dynamic. This suggested that established theories like gatekeeping theory and the glocalisation process which focus on a specific national context do not provide a full explanation for the processes that happened at Jeem TV.
  • Can political public relations be used as a tool for social integration, with particular reference to the Muslim community in the UK?

    Roberts, Simon; Charles, Alec; Okour, Sarah A. (University of Chester, 2019-12)
    Political, social and demographic change has resulted in a search for new techniques for building public trust and reconciling relationships between the Muslim community and others in society. In this study, extremism and social cohesion have been chosen as potential new aims for the PR industry. This study assesses whether political PR can be diverted from its role in spin doctoring towards new cultural and social functions. My argument is that political public relations can be used as a tool for social integration with particular reference to the Muslim community in the UK. This research distinguishes between two issues. The first connects with political PR within a political communication background, which relates to politicians, election campaigns, news management, and their relationship with the media. The second issue is that political PR can be reconsidered from a corporate perspective, one that endorses the use of PR in challenging political environments. My study places emphasis on the second issue. It applies a triangulating methodology based on using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to answer the research questions. A sample of seven UK public relations academics evaluated the current communication policies for their effectiveness, explained how political PR could help, and gave their recommendations. In addition, seven NGOs in Britain described their work, the problems they encountered, and their concerns. A lack of social integration and the continuing rise of extremism were repeatedly explained in terms of stereotyping, marginalisation, and counter-productive techniques. The results suggest that a change in political PR is possible and should be encouraged to intervene in fighting against radicalisation, extremism, and enhancing social cohesion. They also show a lack of PR support for NGOs. More broadly, my findings move the field of inclusivity forward by working on a bottom-up approach instead of a top-down model of communication. The best answer for sustaining long-term community relationships was improved communication and engagement, inclusive messages and campaigns, and the Muslim community remaining open to others in society.
  • Visual communication in the 21st Century: A study of the visual and digital communication experiences of post-Millennial university students

    Maheshwari, Vish; Moss, Danny; Lyon, Andy; Sillitoe, Kathleen L (University of Chester, 2018-08)
    Higher education (HE) visual communication students, who are considering careers in the creative industries of advertising and marketing, need a high level of skills in visual and digital literacy. However, students born after 1995 (post-Millennials), now entering HE, appear to present with fewer visual communication and digital skills than previous cohorts. This research provides a case study of post-Millennial students and examines the extent to which they are learning visual communication skills through their use of widely available digital media technologies. Four groups of post-Millennial students were investigated: one group of Level 4 Computer Science students; two groups of Level 4 Advertising students, from different years; and one group of Level 6 Advertising students. The students were surveyed using interview, questionnaire, observation and focus group. The resulting data was coded and analysed to extract themes. A further layered analysis, using a Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) framework, was then carried out. Using this CHAT framework, deviances were found within the activity system of this HE advertising programme delivery. The most fundamental change was in the dissonance found between the student participants’ and HE’s learning objectives. This was in the context of a complete reversal of the relative importance of the communities within the students’ activity systems. They had become ‘flipped learners’. These CHAT related findings are arguably relevant to wider HE settings. The research also found that the students in the focus groups had a high dependency on the Internet. They used it to search for, and download, images and text. They also preferred to use the Internet to source knowledge or information, rather than to approach staff. Their visual literacy skills appeared to be weaker than those of previous cohorts. Despite their weaknesses, many students had a high level of confidence in their own ability that was not reflected in their work. A strong theme of ‘need for speed’ was highlighted, with many students believing that speed of production was more important than the quality of an artefact in professional work. The systemic changes highlighted by the CHAT framework, together with the research’s other findings, suggest potential implications for the teaching of HE students of visual communication and for the future of the creative industries. Further research is indicated in the areas of the effects of young people’s: use of the mobile phone on visual literacy skills; perception of industry needs; increasing dependency on the Internet for the acquisition of knowledge; and their need for speed.