Roger Dickinson

  • Tuesday 27 November 2018
  • 5.30pm-6.30pm
  • Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1
  • Professor Dickinson and Professor Paul Baines will each present a half-hour lecture.

Teaching the Media at Leicester - a Short History of a Long Revolution

The University of Leicester was one of the first in the UK to establish a specialist centre for the study of the media. Founded in 1966 the Centre for Mass Communication Research eventually became the Department of Media and Communication in 2006 and, ten years later, large-scale institutional change created the department we have today, the School of Media, Communication and Sociology.

In the early years academic work on the media at Leicester was almost entirely devoted to research. During this time members of its very small complement of academic staff would give a handful of seminars or lectures to students in other departments in the University each academic year. It wasn't until the late 1970s that the Centre began to offer programmes of its own. More than a decade passed after that before undergraduates could come to Leicester to study for a degree in media and communication.

In 2019/20 the School of Media Communication and Sociology will welcome the first cohort of students onto the BA in Journalism. The new programme is designed to equip students with experience and training in the key skills they will need for a career in the expanding sphere of communication that encompasses the media industries, advertising, public relations and corporate communication. This will be the first degree we have offered at Leicester that has such an explicit – and so clearly expressed – focus on equipping our graduates with the practical skills they will need for work in the realm of media and communication. Alongside the practical intent is our aim to teach each of our students how to ‘think like a journalist’.

This lecture describes the history of media teaching at Leicester, reflecting on the changing context of higher education and its influence, the shifting and maturing academic field of media, its development as a university subject, its current challenges and some of the principles and ideas that continue to drive it forward.

Professor Roger Dickinson

Roger Dickinson 200x266.jpgRoger graduated from North East London Polytechnic (now the University of East London) in 1978 with an honours degree in Sociology.  He first came to the University of Leicester in 1980 as a postgraduate student having spent eighteen months before that as a Research Assistant at the Open University where he studied the television viewing habits of Open University students.

He joined the staff of the Centre for Mass Communication Research in 1982 as a research assistant and worked on a series of externally-funded research projects on the media and health while getting involved in the department’s growing commitment to teaching, first at postgraduate level and, later, at undergraduate level. In 1997 he became director of the department’s newly-launched distance learning programme and over the next 15 years saw its student numbers grow to more than 400.

His work as distance learning director introduced him to students from around the world, many of whom were working in the media as journalists, editors or media producers. Roger’s research interests have ranged across several specialist areas of work including the development and evaluation of public communication campaigns, health promotion through radio drama, and the portrayal of food and eating on television. More recently, greatly influenced by his experiences with distance learning students, Roger has nurtured an interest in the sociology of journalism with a particular focus on the sociology of journalists.

As a sociologist by training Roger is a strong advocate of a sociologically-grounded approach to studying the media. He became a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy earlier this year and in the Spring of 2019 will be Visiting Professor at the Institute of Political Studies, University of Grenoble.

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