A Media for the Many – Not the Few

By Media Reform Coalition / Thursday September 21, 2017 Read More

2-4pm Monday 2 October 2017

The People’s Event Marquee, Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, M1 1RN Six months ago, the media landscape in Britain seemed to be locked up by a handful of moguls and monopolies whose relentless attacks on Corbyn’s Labour threatened to condemn progressive politics to the digital wilderness. But the 2017 election was hailed as a defeat for the ‘billionaire’ press; Grenfell an awakening of the long ignored voice of the progressive ‘many’; and Murdoch’s second attempt to take over Sky (his first thwarted by the unfolding phone hacking scandal) remains mired in political heat, despite widespread expectations to the contrary. Are we witnessing a historic transformation towards a genuinely more diverse, democratic and accountable media in Britain or is media power consolidating in more complex and less visible ways? Can the BBC regain the trust of viewers alienated by its coverage of Brexit and Labour over the last two years? Will emergent hyperlocal and alternative left press online provide a sufficient counterweight to the dominance of corporate media and the Conservative press? These are some of the questions that this panel will address with speakers including Julie Hesmondhalgh (ex Coronation Street), Tom Mills (author of BBC: Myth of a Public Service) and Stephen Kingston (editor of Salford Star). Speakers Julie Hesmondhalgh is an actress and activist best known for her role as Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street between 1998 and 2014. She is a Labour Party member and been an outspoken supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership from the outset. Among other organisations she is a patron of Trans Media Watch and Manchester People’s Assembly. Tom Mills is a lecturer in sociology and policy at Aston University and author of The BBC: Myth of a Public Service. More generally, his research is centrally concerned with the ideas and practices of powerful groups and actors, and the social networks which influence policy making. Stephen Kingston is the co-founder and editor of Salford Star magazine, and also teaches journalism for Salford Community Media Partnership. He has also freelanced for more than 20 titles including the Guardian, Manchester Evening News, Times Saturday Magazine, and Sky. Steve Sweeney is a journalist at the Morning Star with a particular interest in Turkish, Middle East and Kurdish politics and culture. Milly Williamson teaches media at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is also an executive member of the Media Communications and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) and chairs MeCCSA’s Women’s Network. Justin Schlosberg (chair) is senior lecturer in journalism and media at Birkbeck, University of London and current chair of the Media Reform Coalition. His most recent book – Media Ownership and Agenda Control – addresses the complexities and obscurities of media concentration in the information age. Facebook page is here.