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  • 07.04.2021 14:45 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are happy to announce that the 8th European Communication Conference - Communication and Trust, scheduled for 6-9 September 2021, will take place as an online conference.

    The conference, initially scheduled for October 2020, was postponed to September 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the current state of the pandemic and the rather grim outlook for being able to organise a major international physical event in September, the International Organising Committee has decided to organize the event in an online format.

    Since we strongly believe that ECREA conferences are more than merely occasions for the unidirectional broadcast of research findings, the conference will take place as a live online event. We will not rely on pre-recorded presentations – all panels will be organised as live sessions, with presentations given in real time. The format of the plenary sessions will also be adjusted to the new digital reality. Only a small number of special sessions, such as poster sessions, will be pre-recorded.

    Read more here: https://www.ecrea2021.eu/letter-from-ecrea-president/

  • 15.03.2021 08:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School 2021 that will take place at the University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain, mainly from 20-24 September 2021 (with activities before and after these dates). Because of the pandemic situation, it is impossible to plan a physical meeting, so this Summer School will be an online event.

    ECREA will be awarding 30 grants to doctoral candidates participating in the 2021 ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School. The grants are intended to encourage and support PhD candidates with limited economic support and with limited opportunities to participate in international academic events. The grant will cover the Summer School fee.

    The deadline for both Summer School application and grant application is March 23, 2021.

    Apply and read more here: https://ecrea.eu/page-18213

  • 24.02.2021 08:48 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are happy to invite you to participate in the ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School 2021 hosted by University of Cádiz (Cádiz, Spain) from September 20-24, 2021 (with activities before and after these dates). Because of the pandemic situation, this Summer School will be an online event.

    The summer school is open to the full variety of academic work in the broad field of communication and media studies. All PhD projects within the field of communication and media studies are welcomed.

    The deadline for applications for the Summer School is March 23, 2021 (midnight CET).

    APLLY HERE.

    READ THE FULL CALL HERE.

  • 16.02.2021 07:06 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Death of a gentle giant

    Almost a quarter of a century ago, I had a lively and some would say rather heated exchange-in-writing with Jay Blumler, that giant of communication studies, who has died on the 30th of January this year at the respectable age of 96. The European Journal of Communication had published my article Who’s Afraid of Infotainment? (1998), in which I argued that the use by TV news media of entertainment formats and the popularization of political communication was not necessarily downgrading political information as dramatically as some academics at the time claimed. To illustrate this so called ‘information scare’ I quoted extensively (if not only) from Blumler’s exemplary works. With his evocative style, he probably was the most outspoken and certainly the most repetitive in his critical assessment of a ‘commercial deluge’ where ‘slogans, images and racy soundbites take precedence over substance, information and dialogue’, inundating Europe, while ‘hardening our civic communication arteries’ and producing a ‘crisis of public communication’. I enjoyed his metaphors but thoroughly disagreed with his pessimism, and thought I had strong theoretical and empirical arguments to downplay his assumed ‘crisis of communication for citizenship’.

    I had not realised that Jay, whom I had met a few times before, would be triggered to take up my arguments and begin a debate, which was subsequently published in later EJC issues. His Response to Kees Brants was as eloquent as it was critical, very critical. More than discussing the data I presented and challenging the logic of my argumentation, he blamed me for being unhelpful and belittling his concerns and complacent about the dangers to public broadcasting. I wasn’t taking stock of the overwhelming evidence of ‘communication trivialization’ that was increasingly challenging the role, function and quality of communication and, hence, was threatening democracy. En passant, he threw me in with those ‘popular culturalists’ for whom reading a detective novel is in itself an element of citizenship. In my Rejoinder I left my original ironic undertone and, in turn, blamed him for too unilinear and too final an argumentation, too much based on cross-cultural generalizations from one single country, the UK.

    I had mixed feelings about our exchange: proud to discuss with such a pillar of our academic field at such a forum, but disappointed that he more or less ignored the empirical substantiation of my arguments, and taken aback by the tone of his critique (and that of my Rejoinder, for that matter). A former international master student recently reminded me how many years ago I had used the texts in class, where he asked whether the Response wasn’t ‘a horrible experience’: being ‘put on the spot like that by such a titan and heavyweight in the field?’ But later, he added, it had made him understand that that is how academia works. How it essentially is about this sort of scholarly exchange and debate and how this moves science forward. I wasn’t sure about that, but didn’t tell him that, nor how much I had been taken aback.

    Days after publication of my Rejoinder, Jay wrote me how much he had enjoyed the discussion, which he felt was friendly and empathic. It got us somewhere, he thought. And, by the way, he was not so much afraid of infotainment but worried of the consequences (which I sensed was the same). He ended the machine-typed letter by proposing that we do a comparative research testing of both our claims and write a paper, arguing it out with empirically substantiated arguments to find out who was right. This is how from then on I came to know Jay and to enjoy his company: friendly, open and critical, inviting and challenging. Sometimes harsh, may be, but not hard. The paper never materialized, but we became good friends and collaborators in many another research. I came to appreciate him as a gentle giant and as the homo universalis that he was.

    Born in the USA but with his academic career and his heart mostly in the UK, in his work he married politics in and by media (political communication) with politics of and for media (communication policy). Politics was in his arteries, so to speak. In 1964 he introduced his new found land to the role and importance of media in modern election campaigns, collaborating with his then young and new colleague Denis McQuail, to publish Television in Politics. Its Uses and Influences (1968). With his fellow American Michael Gurevitch he wrote many a seminal article, most notably when in 2001 they described and labelled the start of the 21st century as The Third Age of Political Communication (2001). (More recently he lectured about a fourth age but wasn’t convinced of its value and dropped the idea).

    His interest in media policy was inspired by his care and fear for democracy, and what he saw as the necessity of media and the state to safeguard and enhance it. After researching in 1986 with Tom Nossiter The Range and Quality of Broadcasting Services, he went on to advise different Royal Commissions on the media. In 1992 he realised that with Television and the Public, Vulnerable Values were at Stake. More and more his take on media’s role in and for society became a normative one. Which did not prohibit him from setting up and editing what I see as the first truly comparative study of mass communication: media’s role in the first European elections, Communicating to Voters.

    But next to a strong researcher, an original theoretician and an eloquent author (who at occasion would also burst into song with his beautiful baritone voice), Jay has always been a breath taking and entertaining orator. I now realise that he probably was the quintessential infotainer. His lectures were a joy and a learning experience to listen to and until very recently at conferences, seminars and workshops he would be the first to ask that penetrating question you wished you had thought of yourself (always beginning with a compliment and then followed by a sharp, to the point and sometimes mischievous comment).

    I also remember how he saved a small, specialist seminar in Hamburg, sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation. It was, if my memory does not fail me, about what we can learn from different media systems. But the presentations and discussions were chaotic, exceptionalistic, inward looking, not analytical, and neither focused nor comparative. In short: the meeting was a balls-up and a shame. Jay kept quiet, his role was to summarise our discussion or, as most of us hoped for, bring some order in the chaos we had produced. And he did, in his usual eloquent way. In fifteen minutes, he introduced the systemacy and depth that had lacked so painfully in our contributions. He brought in the comparative dimension, the similarity and differences in democratic, moral, and tricky issues that were overriding the European picture, and presented it as if that was what we had said. I remember how we looked at each other in a mixture of surprise and pride. Was this us? Had we been that analytical and clever? Bertelsmann’s top brass present were as happy as we were, bathing in Jay’s glory and proud of what we supposedly had said but really was Jay’s.

    On the sad occasion of his death, these are now fading memories. One of the last times I met Jay was at another sad occasion, in 2017, at Denis McQuail’s funeral. After the church service and during sandwiches on the lawn (and his proverbial song), Jay reminded me that during the war, as Denis had done later, he had worked as a Russian interpreter - Denis for the British, Jay for the US Army. I said I thought old soldiers never died, but Jay only smiled. Now I realise even gentle giants do.

    Kees Brants
    (emeritus professor of political communication at the universities of Amsterdam and Leiden)

  • 07.02.2021 17:39 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Jay G. Blumler (†30 January), a globally renowned scholar of communication, and one of the most distinguished figures of our field. Having started his academic career over seven decades ago, his pioneer research, teaching and mentorship have benefited and inspired many generations of political communication students and scholars. Based at the University of Leeds for the most part of his career, Jay made significant contributions towards the development of both the international and European academic community, having served as President of the International Communication Association (1989-1990) and being among the founders of the European Journal of Communication in 1984. His retirement in 1989 did not hinder him from further pursuing his scholarly work and remaining an active participant in academic life in the UK and internationally. Many of us hold precious memories of encountering him at conferences, which he kept attending until his very last years, and which were enriched not just by his sharp and witty comments in the discussion, but also by his warmth, optimism and candid support for the younger scholars. He will be greatly missed.

  • 19.01.2021 08:28 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ECREA Doctoral Summer School 2020, which has actually turned out to be the winter school 2020-21, is in the full swing. Under the auspices of Tartu University (Estonia) and thanks to wonderful colleagues Andra Siibak and Pille Prullmann-Vengerfeldt and their perseverance, the ECREA Doctoral Summer School was redesigned for the pandemic conditions and moved to the online environment. 

    Conceived as an intermittent event, it has started with get-together of more than 50 PhD students and lecturers before the Christmas 2020, it continued with feedbacks to dissertation projects, round tables, Q&A sessions, and lectures and in mid-January 2021 and will conclude with the series of live workshops in the second half of February 2021.

    ECREA is thrilled to see the summer school flourish in the difficult times and wants to thank to all students, lecturers and, of course, organisers for making it possible. 


  • 15.01.2021 10:44 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ECREA Temporary Working Groups (TWGs) are fora for discussing topics and disseminating knowledge in sub-fields of media and communication research. TWGs have the same remit as ECREA sections but TWGs will only be established for a term of 4 years in the first instance. After the end of the 4 year term and upon request of the Chair of the TWG, they can be renewed by the Executive Board for a maximum of 4 more years, or they can be granted the status of a Section.

    WHAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PROPOSAL? 

    A proposal needs to have the following elements: 

    1/ an accompanying letter (2 pages), which explains why a new TWG is desirable. The following issues need to be addressed in this accompanying letter: 

    a/ the significance of the subfield covered by the proposed TWG for the field of communication and media studies; 

    b/ the indicators of the importance of the subfield (the existence of journals, courses, degrees, learned societies etc.); 

    c/ the expertise of the proposed chair and two vice-chairs within the subfield covered by the proposed TWG. 

    2/ the name of the proposed chair; 

    3/ the names and agreement of 2 proposed vice-chairs; 

    4/ an aims and objectives document, describing the formal objectives of the proposed TWG (examples can be found at the ECREA website in Thematic sections, TWGs and networks area); 

    5/ the modus operandi document, stipulating its internal rules (see also https://www.ecrea.eu/Sections for examples).

    Incomplete proposals will be rejected automatically.

    WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT? 

    The full list of requirements is available on the ECREA website, in the Bylaws.

    This is the summary of requirements:

    • a TWG needs to have one chair and two vice-chairs; 
    • the chair and at least one of the two vice chairs need to have a PhD; 
    • all need to be (or willing to become) ECREA members; 
    • regional and gender balance needs to be respected; 
    • they need to agree to organize as a TWG one panel at the ECC (from 2022 onwards) and another event in the years when there is no ECC; 
    • they need to agree to send in a yearly activity report to the ECREA section, TWG and network coordinator; 
    • they must agree to collaborate with other S/TWG/N and the Executive Board; 
    • they need to accept that TWGs are always an inseparable part of ECREA.

    WHAT TWGs AND SECTIONS ALREADY EXIST? 

    The overview of the Sections and TWGs can be found on the ECREA website: see Sections and TWGs.

    A significant overlap with existing Sections and TWGs needs to be avoided. It is suggested that proposers contact existing Sections and TWGs for advice if they feel there might be an overlap.

    WHAT ARE THE RULES TWGs MUST ABIDE BY? 

    An overview of ECREA’s rules on TWGs can be found in the ECREA Bylaws (especially Title IV), accessible online here.

    WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS? 

    Proposals for new TWGs need to be sent to the ECREA Section, TWG and Network coordinator (sections@ecrea.eu) and ECREA Administrator (info@ecrea.eu) before 16 April 2021.

    WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR APPROVAL? 

    The proposals will be evaluated by the ECREA Bureau and Executive Board, after consultation with the existing ECREA Sections, TWGs and Networks. The approval procedure is expected to last 6 months. Because of the high volume of proposals it is not foreseen that feedback on proposals will be available.

    TO WHOM SHOULD THE PROPOSAL BE SENT? 

    Proposals for new TWGs can be sent by e-mail (attachment in .rtf, .doc or .pdf format) to the ECREA Section, TWG and Network coordinator, John Downey, at sections@ecrea.eu and to ECREA Administrator, Marketa Broumova, at info@ecrea.eu in cc .

    Questions related to the call can be sent to John Downey at sections@ecrea.eu and j.w.downey@lboro.ac.uk and to Marketa Broumova at info@ecrea.eu.


  • 16.12.2020 10:11 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On December 15, ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral Summer School 2020 organised by University of Tartu (Tartu, Estonia) had its first kick-off session. With 49 doctoral students and more than 30 senior scholars attending from various parts of the world (24 countries altogether). In many ways it will be "the first-ever" doctoral school:

    1) first-ever ECREA doctoral school to take place remotely during its 28-year long history;

    2) the biggest doctoral school in terms of the number of participants and

    3) the longest doctoral school (with various workshops, feedback-sessions, roundtables, Q&A's and many other activities running from December 15 till mid-February).

    Students will meet again on January 11-15, 2021.

  • 12.10.2020 10:22 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Since the presidential elections on 9 August 2020, internationally reported as not adhering to fundamental democratic standards, Belarusian people have taken to the streets for peaceful demonstrations. They are calling for a rerun of the elections, release of protesters and political prisoners detained by Lukashenko’s regime and the end of state violence against the peaceful protest movement.

    Since the start of the academic year on 1 September 2020, the state authorities have been exerting pressure on higher education institutions to curtail freedom of expression at universities. To date, several lecturers demanding respect for fundamental freedoms were fired, and peaceful protests of students were supressed. On a number of occasions groups of masked persons, typically wearing no national insignia or uniforms, were reported to be intimidating, beating and detaining students at or nearby university premises.

    Despite politically-motivated action taken against academics and students, some rectors, who are appointed by the president, as well as a fraction of senior management of academic institutions, have been supporting Lukashenko’s regime. For example, on the 15th of September 2020, the Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU) approved new regulations prohibiting public expression of the staff and students’ civic position diverging from the state policies. On the 24th of September 2020 the rector of the Minsk State Linguistic University (MSLU) banned unauthorised protests on campus. Senior managers who pursue different policies or fail to supress protests on campuses are replaced, as it happened recently in cases of three out of four rectors of medical universities.

    We call those responsible in senior management of Belarusian universities to stop the intimidation and repression on campuses, and to ensure the freedom of expression. We call on the Belarusian authorities to end the state violence against any members of universities and other academic institutions. We call for an immediate release of all those arrested arbitrarily and without legal basis. We declare our solidarity with all students, academics and researchers whose freedoms and wellbeing are endangered because they seek democratic change in Belarus.

  • 12.10.2020 09:50 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ECREA is deeply concerned about continuing suppression of academic freedom and mounting pressures on autonomy of universities in Hungary.

    The actions against universities and academics in Hungary begun in 2017 when the government of Prime Minister Victor Orban proposed legislation endangering the existence of Central European University in Budapest. As a result, the university had to relocate to Vienna (see ECREA public statement https://ecrea.eu/news/4850901). Similar pressures are presently exerted to remove gender studies programs in Hungary (see ECREA public statement https://www.ecrea.eu/news/6883754) and to change management of several universities.

    The government of Prime Minister Orban is continuing with intimidation of academics and students, limiting the academic freedoms and implementing of the ongoing climate of fear. In September, the government moved to a forced takeover University of the Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest (SZFE), transferring the control of the public institution to a private foundation and depriving University bodies of their autonomous decision-making powers.

    The university management and staff responded with resignations and strike while the students have been occupying the university premises since beginning of September to prevent the takeover of the university.

    ECREA strongly condemns this and other actions against autonomy of universities in Hungary. ECREA strongly condemns the fact that a politically-motivated takeover of the University of the Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest (SZFE) has jeopardised the study process at the institution and is therefore directly damaging both students and lecturers. Suppression of intellectual freedoms, fundamental human rights and civic dialogue cannot lead to building of democratic, just and prosperous societies.

    ECREA therefore calls upon Hungarian authorities to nullify the latest decree and refrain from further interventions which would limit academic freedoms and autonomy of universities and contribute to perpetuation of the climate of fear.

    In the light of this, ECREA would also like to express its continuous support to our Hungarian members and colleagues and to students and lecturers of the University of the Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest (SZFE).

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