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Murdoch and the ‘Phone Hacking Scandal’

26 August 2011

a stack of newspapers

Journalism practice and democratic politics in the wake of the News of the World’s alleged phone hacking scandal is the focus of a specially convened debate at Cardiff University.

On the 8th and 9th of September 2011, the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies will host its biennial research-based conference The Future of Journalism which attracts scholars and journalists from around the world.

This year, a special roundtable discussion as part of the conference will explore the significant implications of what has been dubbed the ‘phone hacking scandal’ for the future of journalism, including its effect on day-to-day journalism practice and politicians’ relationships with news organisations.

Chaired by conference organiser Professor Bob Franklin of the School, the session panellists are:

Chris Bryant MP and Shadow Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform

Ivor Gaber (City University and the University of Bedfordshire, UK)

Robert McChesney (University of Illinois, USA)

Bettina Peters (Global Forum for Media Development, Brussels)

Lynette Sheridan Burns (University of Western Sydney, Australia).

The roundtable session takes place on the afternoon of the 9th of September and will be streamed live on the University website to an audience around the world. The debate can also be followed on Twitter at #foj11.

"What the UK press called ‘the phone hacking scandal’, generated a steady stream of stories and rumours alleging the illegal invasion of the privacy of celebrities, politicians and members of the Royal family by employees of the News of the World," said Professor Franklin. "In July this year the story gained remarkable momentum when it was revealed that private investigators had hacked into the mobile phone of a missing young woman, who was later discovered to have been murdered. Public outrage transformed seemingly arcane concerns about journalism practice into a media feeding frenzy.

"As the scandal unravelled, a wide range of issues of relevance and significance for the future of journalism became evident - journalism ethics, media ownership, concentration and regulation, journalists’ relationships with news sources and, of course, politicians’ relationships with news organisations and their owners, which have grown increasingly supine and seemingly remote from the robust, critical and adversarial relationship necessary for a meaningful, democratic politics. The Future of Journalism conference is an ideal platform for these important issues to be discussed and debated."

The conference will be opened on the 8th of September with plenary sessions from Professor Emily Bell and Professor Robert McChesney. Professor Bell of the Columbia School of Journalism previously worked at the Guardian newspaper - initially as founder and editor of and later as editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited. Robert McChesney of the University of Illinois has been described as one of ‘50 visionaries who are changing the world.’

More than 160 delegates are expected over the two days to present and discuss their most recent research on topics such as social media as a news source, developments in global journalism and changes in journalism professionalism. Some sessions will be streamed live and can be accessed via

The plenary lectures, as well as a selection of conference papers will be published in special issues of the journals Journalism Practice and Journalism Studies. A book The Future of Journalism 2011 combining the papers from both special issues will also be published by Routledge shortly after the conference.

For more information about the conference or to book places visit

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