Professor Steven Barnett

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Steven Barnett is Professor of Communications and a prominent writer and broadcaster who has been involved in policy analysis at the highest levels, both nationally and internationally, for the last 25 years. He has advised government ministers in the UK, has given evidence or served as an adviser on several parliamentary committees, has been called to give evidence to the European Parliament, and has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences.

He specialises in media policy, regulation, the theory and practice of journalism, political communication, and press ethics, and has directed over thirty research projects on the structure, funding, regulation and business of communications in the UK and around the world. His work is frequently quoted in parliamentary debates and government reports, and he is a regular commentator and writer on media issues. He was a columnist on the Observer newspaper from 2000-2004, writes freqently for the national, online and specialist press and has been quoted by newspapers or interviewed for TV in Australia, the US, Japan, China, France, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Denmark and Ireland.

Most recently, he has acted as specialist adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications for its enquiries into News and Media Ownership (published June 2008), the UK Film and Televison Industries (published January 2010), and the Regulation of TV Advertising (published February 2011). In March 2011, he was invited to address an international conference in Cairo on democratising Egyptian media.

His current research interests and active projects include studies on media ownership, television journalism, and the future of the BBC and public service broadcasting. He was awarded an AHRC grant in 2009-10 for a study on media ownership, journalism and diversity, resulting in a number of publications (see below). His paper for Ofcom, Journalism, Democracy and the Public Interest: rethinking media pluralism for the Digital Age was published as a Reuters Institute Working Paper, and informed Ofcom's review of local and regional media in the UK. He co-organised a highly successful European conference (with colleague Dr Maria Michalis) on the theme of "Is the public interest under threat?", resulting in their co-authored edition of the journal Interactions(Vol 1 No.2, Autumn 2010). 

In 2010, he was awarded a Leverhulme grant for a longitudinal study of television news content, updating his previous study published in 2000 (From Callaghan to Kosovo: Changing Trends in British Television News 1975-1999). This will be completed by the end of 2011. Other recent research projects include a study of public attitudes to privacy and self-regulation in the press for the Media Standards Trust and another on declining trust in journalism. He has also directed studies on changing attitudes to newspaper readership, and two studies on television coverage of international issues for the Third World and Environment Broadcasting Project (3WE): Bringing the World to the UK: Factual international programming on UK public service TV(2005) and The World on the Box: International Issues in News and Factual Programmes on UK Television 1975-2003(2004).

His latest book, The Rise and Fall of Television Journalism: Just Wires and Lights in a Box? is being published by Bloomsbury Academic in Autumn 2011. Other published books include: Westminster Tales: The 21st Century Crisis in British Political Journalism. Continuum, 2001 (with Ivor Gaber). The Battle for the BBC. Aurum Press, 1994 (with Andrew Curry). Funding the BBC's Future(editor). British Film Institute, 1993. Games and Sets: the changing face of sport on television. British Film Institute, 1990. A selection of recent book chapters and articles is given below.

He is an editorial board member of the British Journalism Review and in 2009 initiated the BJR's annual Charles Wheeler Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism. The inaugural Charles Wheeler lecture was given by BBC Director General Mark Thompson, and is now part of a major annual Journalism Conference jointly sponsored by the BJR and University of Westminster.

Before joining the University in 1994, he was founder and director of the Henley Centre's Media Futures research programme (1990-94), Research Fellow and then Assistant Director at the Broadcasting Research Unit (1985-90) and a senior researcher at Consumers Association (1980-85). He graduated from Pembroke College, Cambridge in Social and Political Science followed by an MSc at the London School of Economics.

He has successfully supervised several doctoral students to completion, and is interested in supervising PhDs on issues around national and international media policy, media ownership, regulation, public service broadcasting, the BBC, journalism practice and theory, and the relationship between media and sport.

2015

Your BBC needs you (2015)
Barnett, S.
Your BBC needs you British Journalism Review 26 (4) 22-27 0956-4748
Plurality, policy and the local: can hyperlocals fill the gap? (2015)
Barnett, S. and Townend Judith
Plurality, policy and the local: can hyperlocals fill the gap? Journalism Practice 9 (3) 332-349 1751-2786

2014

Can charity save the local press? (2014)
Barnett, S. and Greenslade Roy
Can charity save the local press? British Journalism Review 25 (1) 62-67 0956-4748
'And what good came of it at last?' Press–politician relations post-Leveson (2014)
Barnett, S. and Townend Judith
'And what good came of it at last?' Press–politician relations post-Leveson The Political Quarterly 85 (2) 159–169 1467-923X

2013

Should journalists be regulated? (2013)
Barnett, S.
Should journalists be regulated? CQ Researcher 23 (16) 393 1056-2036
Leveson past, present and future: the politics of press regulation (2013)
Barnett, S.
Leveson past, present and future: the politics of press regulation The Political Quarterly 84 (3) 353–361 1467-923X
Plurality, Leveson and the threat to the BBC (2013)
Barnett, S.
Plurality, Leveson and the threat to the BBC Political Insight 4 (3) 26-29 2041-9066

2012

Public interest: the public decides (2012)
Barnett, S.
Public interest: the public decides British Journalism Review 23 (2) 15-23 0956-4748

2011

Crusaders or pigs in raincoats? (2011)
Barnett, S.
Crusaders or pigs in raincoats? British Journalism Review 22 (3) 13-16 0956-4748

2010

Introduction: whither the public interest in the new political economy? (2010)
Michalis, M. and Barnett, S.
Introduction: whither the public interest in the new political economy? Interactions: studies in communication & culture 1 (2) 167-170 1757-2681
Media ownership policy in a recession: redefining the public interest (2010)
Barnett, S.
Media ownership policy in a recession: redefining the public interest Interactions: studies in communication & culture 1 (2) 217-232 1757-2681
A familiar assault on the BBC: a response to David Graham's report for the Adam Smith Institute (2010)
Barnett, S.
A familiar assault on the BBC: a response to David Graham's report for the Adam Smith Institute OpenDemocracy
Why the BBC matters: memo to the new parliament about a unique British institution (2010)
Barnett, S. and Seaton, J.
Why the BBC matters: memo to the new parliament about a unique British institution Political Quarterly 81 (3) 327-332 0032-3179
Minding the regional news gap (2010)
Barnett, S.
Minding the regional news gap British Journalism Review 21 (1) 13-18 0956-4748
Periodismo, democracia e interés público [Media, democracy and the public interest] (2010)
Barnett, S.
Periodismo, democracia e interés público [Media, democracy and the public interest] Infoamérica: Iberoamerican Communication Review 3 (4) 41-56
What's wrong with media monopolies? A lesson from history and a new approach to media ownership policy (2010)
Barnett, S.
What's wrong with media monopolies? A lesson from history and a new approach to media ownership policy MEDIA@LSE Electronic Working Papers No 18 1474-1938

2008

TV news and the echo of Murrow (2008)
Barnett, S.
TV news and the echo of Murrow British Journalism Review 19 (4) 37-44 0956-4748

2006

Reasons to be cheerful (2006)
Barnett, S.
Reasons to be cheerful British Journalism Review 17 (1) 7-14 0956-4748

2004

Media ownership policies: pressure for change and implications (2004)
Barnett, S.
Media ownership policies: pressure for change and implications Pacific Journalism Review 10 (2) 8-19 1023-9499
Can the BBC survive? (2004)
Barnett, S.
Can the BBC survive? The Author 0005-0628

2002

Will a crisis in journalism provoke a crisis in democracy? (2002)
Barnett, S.
Will a crisis in journalism provoke a crisis in democracy? Political Quarterly 73 (4) 400-408 0032-3179
A licence for future media power (2002)
Barnett, S.
A licence for future media power British Journalism Review 13 (2) 41-45 0956-4748

2001

Half-baked plans for broadcasting (2001)
Barnett, S.
Half-baked plans for broadcasting British Journalism Review 12 (1) 64-68 0956-4748

2015

Four reasons why a partisan press helped win it for the Tories (2015)
Barnett, S.
Four reasons why a partisan press helped win it for the Tories in: Jackson, Daniel and Thorsen, Einar (ed.) UK election analysis 2015: media, voters and the campaign Bournemouth Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community pp. 91
Plurality and public sector broadcasting: why and how PSBs deserve protection (2015)
Barnett, S.
Plurality and public sector broadcasting: why and how PSBs deserve protection in: Barnett, S. and Townend Judith (ed.) Media power and plurality: from hyperlocal to high-level policy London Palgrave Macmillan pp. 45-62

2014

Crisis? What crisis? The real BBC catastrophe is yet to happen (2014)
Barnett, S.
Crisis? What crisis? The real BBC catastrophe is yet to happen in: Mair, J., Tait, R. and Keeble, R.L. (ed.) Is the BBC in crisis? London Abramis Academic Publishing pp. 176-182

2013

Stories from faraway places: international reporting, public service television and a glass half full (2013)
Barnett, S.
Stories from faraway places: international reporting, public service television and a glass half full in: Williams, G. and Petley, J. (ed.) The media in contemporary Britain: a critical approach Palgrave Macmillan

2012

Why the press must learn from the history and reputation of British television (2012)
Barnett, S.
Why the press must learn from the history and reputation of British television in: Keeble, R.L. and Mair, J. (ed.) The phone hacking scandal: journalism on trial London Abramis Academic Publishing pp. 289-300
Broadcast journalism and impartiality in the digital age: six fallacies and a counter-factual (2012)
Barnett, S.
Broadcast journalism and impartiality in the digital age: six fallacies and a counter-factual in: Ferrell Lowe, G. and Steemers, J. (ed.) Regaining the initiative for public service media (RIPE; 5) Göteborg, Sweden Nordicom pp. 201-218
It's ownership, stupid: why plurality lies at the heart of media policy reform - and how to achieve it (2012)
Barnett, S.
It's ownership, stupid: why plurality lies at the heart of media policy reform - and how to achieve it in: Keeble, R.L. and Mair, J. (ed.) The phone hacking scandal: journalism on trial Bury St Edmunds Abramis Academic Publishing pp. 352-364
Imposition or empowerment? Freedom of speech, broadcasting and impartiality (2012)
Barnett, S.
Imposition or empowerment? Freedom of speech, broadcasting and impartiality in: Amos, M., Harrison, J. and Woods, L. (ed.) Freedom of expression and the media The Hague Martinus Nijhoff pp. 45-71

2010

Uutisjournalismin kehitys USA: ssa ja Britanniassa [changing trends in television news in the US and Britain] (2010)
Barnett, S.
Uutisjournalismin kehitys USA: ssa ja Britanniassa [changing trends in television news in the US and Britain] in: Leppänen, A., Heino, T.E. and Mäntymäki, E. (ed.) Yleisradio: median murroksessa Tampere Vastapaino pp. 95-108

2008

Can the public service broadcaster survive? Renewal and compromise in the new BBC Charter (2008)
Barnett, S.
Can the public service broadcaster survive? Renewal and compromise in the new BBC Charter in: Ferrell Lowe, G. and Bardoel, J. (ed.) From public service broadcasting to public service media Göteborg, Sweden Nordicom pp. 87-104

2006

Can the BBC invigorate our political culture? (2006)
Barnett, S.
Can the BBC invigorate our political culture? in: Lloyd, J. and Seaton, J. (ed.) What can be done? Making the media and politics better Oxford, UK Blackwell Publishers

2005

Opportunity or threat? The BBC, investigative journalism and the Hutton Report (2005)
Barnett, S.
Opportunity or threat? The BBC, investigative journalism and the Hutton Report in: Allan, S. (ed.) Journalism: critical issues Maidenhead, UK Open University Press pp. 328-341
Hello sky, goodbye world (2005)
Barnett, S.
Hello sky, goodbye world in: Engel, M. (ed.) Wisden cricketers' almanack 2005 Alton, UK John Wisden pp. 49-53

2004

Which end of the telescope? From market to cultural value (2004)
Barnett, S.
Which end of the telescope? From market to cultural value in: Tambini, D. and Cowling, J. (ed.) From public service broadcasting to public service communications London, UK Institute for Public Policy Research pp. 34-35

2003

How to achieve accountability for OFCOM (2003)
Barnett, S.
How to achieve accountability for OFCOM in: Ofcom's inbox: part one London, UK Westminster Forum Projects pp. 33-36

2002

Impartiality redefined: protecting news on commercial television in Britain (2002)
Barnett, S.
Impartiality redefined: protecting news on commercial television in Britain in: Tambini, D. and Cowling, J. (ed.) New news? Impartial broadcasting in the digital age London, UK Institute for Public Policy Research pp. 51-64

2001

Distorting democracy: public opinion, polls and the press (2001)
Barnett, S.
Distorting democracy: public opinion, polls and the press in: Splichal, S. (ed.) Public opinion and democracy: vox populi-vox Dei? Cresskill, USA Hampton Press pp. 287-309

2015

Media power and plurality: from hyperlocal to high-level policy (2015)
Barnett, S. and Townend Judith (ed.)
Media power and plurality: from hyperlocal to high-level policy London Palgrave Macmillan

2011

The rise and fall of television journalism: just wires and lights in a box? (2011)
Barnett, S.
The rise and fall of television journalism: just wires and lights in a box? London Bloomsbury Academic

2005

Bringing the World to the UK: factual international programming on UK public service TV, 2005 (2005)
Seymour, E. and Barnett, S.
Bringing the World to the UK: factual international programming on UK public service TV, 2005 Witney, UK 3WE

2004

The world on the box: international issues in news and factual programmes on UK television 1975-2003 (2004)
Dover, C. and Barnett, S.
The world on the box: international issues in news and factual programmes on UK television 1975-2003 3WE

2001

Westminster tales: the twenty-first century crisis in British political journalism (2001)
Barnett, S. and Gaber Ivor
Westminster tales: the twenty-first century crisis in British political journalism London, UK Continuum

2014

The state of UK hyperlocal community news: findings from a survey of practitioners (2014)
Barnett, S., Townend Judith, Williams Andy and Harte Dave
The state of UK hyperlocal community news: findings from a survey of practitioners London University of Westminster

2012

From Callaghan to credit crunch: changing trends in British television news 1975-2009 (2012)
Barnett, S., Gaber Ivor and Ramsay Gordon
From Callaghan to credit crunch: changing trends in British television news 1975-2009 London University of Westminster

2007

The case against auctioning spectrum (2007)
Barnett, S.
The case against auctioning spectrum Westminster Media Forum on the Digital Dividend Review 22 May 2007
Crisis, what crisis? Why young people are not deserting political television (2007)
Barnett, S.
Crisis, what crisis? Why young people are not deserting political television Television News, Young People and Politics Conference: Generation Disconnected BFI Southbank, London 07 - 09 Sep 2007
Beyond a critical press (2007)
Barnett, S.
Beyond a critical press Media and Trust: St George’s House Parliamentary Consultation Windsor Castle 17 Jan 2007

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