Leicester academic’s report on press coverage of UK riots sparks media attention
Media and the Riots: A Call for Action, a report by Dr Leah Bassel of our Department of Sociology, is causing quite a stir.
The study, which was published on the first anniversary of the UK riots, examines the mainstream media’s response to the events of August last year and the effect it had on those living in riot-stricken communities. It was based on the November 2011 Media and the Riots conference organised by the Citizen Journalism Educational Trust and The-Latest.Com, which brought together for the first time young people and others from riot-affected areas, working journalists and media professionals.
The report explores in detail the unbalanced, unhelpful coverage of mainstream media, suggesting that it was stigmatizing, too moralising, overly reliant on official sources in reporting Mark Duggan’s death, and may even have incited rioting by disinhibiting looters. The focus of the report, however, is on recommendations for future actions to improve coverage, engage with affected communities, and enable people to tell their own stories through citizen journalism.
So far, the study has been cited in the Guardian by Roy Greenslade, who wrote a foreword to the report, as well as the Voice, the Huffington Post UK, Journalism.co.uk, Info4Security, the Institute of Communication Ethics and Hold the Front Page.
Most notably, Lord Justice Leveson has examined the report and it will be included as part of the inquiry into press standards following the phone hacking scandal at News International newspapers.