Scott, M, Bunce, M and Wright, K. (2017) ‘Donor power and the news: The influence of foundation funding on international public service journalism’. The International Journal of Press/Politics. 22:2. Available as Open Access here

Abstract: How does donor funding affect the independence, role perceptions, and ideology of the journalism it supports? We begin to answer this increasingly important but under-researched question with a year-long case study of the humanitarian news organistion IRIN as it transitioned from being funded by the United Nations to a private foundation, run by a Malaysian billionaire. Using content analysis, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic research, we document the changes that occurred in IRIN’s outputs, target audience, and public service values, and the complex interplay of influences that produced these changes. We find that, in this case, donor power operated entirely indirectly and always in concert with the dominant professional values within IRIN. In doing so, this case study highlights the importance of journalistic agency and contextual variables in the journalist–donor relationship, as well as the potential significance of contradictory dynamics. We also use this case to test whether Benson, Hessérus and Sedel’s model of media owner power can help to explain the workings of donor power.



January 2017 – ‘Making news in a virtual newsroom: The opportunities and challenges of researching Slack’ – University of Sheffield.

Abstract: Despite its importance, researchers have not systematically studied online collaborative software products. We do not know how journalists use the spaces, how they might shape journalistic work, or the relationship between these new virtual spaces and the physical newsrooms. This paper helps to fill this gap by presenting the findings of a yearlong ethnographic study of IRIN, an international humanitarian newswire that uses Slack as its primary newsroom. These ethnographic observations are complemented by semi-structured interviews with fifteen journalists and staff members who routinely work in the online newsroom. The paper describes how journalists in the study make use of Slack, and how this software influences their work. In particular, the paper draws attention to the relationships that the platform enables between team members who share a new ‘virtual proximity’. The paper concludes by commenting on the rich data, opportunities and challenges of Slack as a site for newsroom ethnography in the future.

September 2016 – University of Oxford, UK
Development Studies Association, Annual224D4018-2-150x150[1]

July 2016 – University of Leicester, UK
International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) annual conference

July 2016 – University of East Anglia, UK
Workshop on Media, Politics and Activism

June 2016 – Fukuoka, Japan
International Communication Association (ICA) annual conference.

May 2016 – University of Manchester, UK
Imagining Solidarity: Visual representations of development in public campaigns

April 2016 – LSE, UK
Everyday Humanitarianism: Ethics, Affects and Practices

September 2015 – Cardiff University, Wales
The future of journalism: Risks, threats and opportunities







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Our edited book on Media and HR is out. Stellar list of contributors https://t.co/tHWyKPom2M

Does the Daily Mail's criticism of aid matter? @martinscott2010 gives his take #UKaid https://t.co/JWdAkOfEZm

Paid internship at @irinnews. Amazing opportunity for young journalists! Deadline Sunday. #humanitarian #reporting. https://t.co/40QvC6I6ml

Wd anyone else like the ghost of Mo Mowlam to show up around now? Just take your wig off and scratch your head a bit Mo...

This is just…astonishing. What a trainwreck. https://t.co/t3ZsCrifDl