Pathway Details

An overview of the pathway
The public circulation of information is vital to democratic norms, institutions, and citizenship. Reporting, testimony, imagery, data, policy and research ‚Äď all these sources of information circulate in a complex digital ecology spanning social media, online news and print culture, encompassing governments, grassroots movements, whistle-blowers, NGOs and prize-winning investigative journalism.

This pathway will foster doctoral projects in three intersecting areas of investigation relevant to contemporary information ecosystems: journalism and democracy; democracy and digitalization; and journalism and digital culture. This includes, but is not restricted to:

  • Journalism and democratic citizenship in the context of digitalization (e.g., contemporary practices of investigative journalism; transformations of journalistic values; citizen journalism and alternative media; digital platforms and public education in health and relationships for young people; the future of public service media; whistleblowing and news coverage; etc.)
  • Challenges to and opportunities for democratic debate and governance facilitated by the contemporary media and communications sphere (e.g., misinformation and information disorder; hate speech, racism and misogyny; reach and impact of new forms of online political; digital democracy platforms; etc.)
  • Implications of technological change for democratic values, practices and conventions (e.g., consequences of the use of data systems and automated decision-making for state-citizen relations; changing roles of emotionality, news and social media; new understandings of free speech and information literacy; new approaches to governing media/communications; etc.)
  • Intersections of media, technology and democracy from a historical perspective (e.g., research facilitated by innovative digital humanities methodologies; scholarship utilizing digitized publications, archives and historical datasets; etc.)

Environment for doctoral research and training
The pathway includes the School of Journalism, Media & Culture (JOMEC, Cardiff University) and the Media and Communication Subject Team (Swansea University). In REF2021, JOMEC was second in the UK for research in communication, cultural and media studies. With 95% of the school’s research recognized as world-leading or internationally excellent, JOMEC supports relevant research groups including the Data Justice Lab, the Centre for Community Journalism, the Feminist Media Studies Research Group, and the Tom Hopkinson Centre for Media History. Media and Communication at Swansea University is becoming an established centre for media studies. In 2022, it achieved 3rd place in the National Student Survey out of 93 UK media departments.

Students on the pathway will participate in innovative social science research methods training, as well as departmental research seminars and PGR skills workshops (e.g., delivering papers, project management and employability) supported by Cardiff‚Äôs Doctoral Academy. Specialist training provision will be sourced from external organisations as required (e.g. Oral History Society; digital data training from NatCen Learning). Students can also be involved in planning and delivering JOMEC‚Äôs international, biennial ‚ÄėFuture of Journalism‚Äô conference.

Knowledge exchange and careers.
Graduates from the pathway will be interested in careers in academia, policy, governance, R&D, creative industries, media and journalism.

Cardiff University – Dr Tom Allbeson –
Swansea University – Prof Richard Thomas –

Student Profiles