Returning to the world of academia after ten years’ working in regional newspapers in northern England has focused my research interests on local newspapers and publications, particularly in light of the changes experienced in the industry due to digital convergence.
I am currently awaiting viva for my PhD thesis, which I started working on part-time in 2014. The thesis is titled Analysing the impact of digital tools on news production, identity and jurisdiction at regional newspaper newsrooms within the UK.
Research interests include Actor-network Theory, digital audience and analytics, local news, news networks and professional role identity.
My PhD research is a triangulated research construct which includes content analysis of job advertisements, case-study observations and interviews and news production mapping and a survey of working local newspaper journalists in the UK.
I have presented research from this project at events and conferences including the 2019 and 2015 Future of Journalism conference and Journalism, Society and Politics in the Digital Media Era in 2017. Publications include contributions to books and journals.
I am a member of the board of West Leeds Community Media, of which I was chairperson from autumn 2017 to 2018 and I continue to contribute work to the West Leeds Dispatch and the Yorkshire Evening Post.
In summer 2017 I was a co-organiser on a project to bring together journalists working in industry and academics interested in the field of journalism. Since then, the Journalism Knowledge Exchange (JKX) has developed into the publication of a book of essays and a website which I co-edit with Dr Richard Thomas of Swansea University. Publication to the website is ongoing and future plans include a second symposium and possibly a second book of essays.
I am a lecturer in journalism at Leeds Trinity University where I am programme leader for BA Journalism. I lead undergraduate modules Practical Journalism and Journalism in Society and I teach shorthand and have experience of supervising undergraduate dissertation projects and MA research.
In 2017 I instigated an award scheme with the Yorkshire Evening Post (YEP) to recognise Local Journalism Excellence for our final year undergraduate students and to facilitate on-going multimedia contribution to the YEP from our undergraduate and post-graduate cohorts.
2003 – 2:1 MA English and the History of Art, the University of Aberdeen
- 2020, Pending: Presentation on widening academic participation to diverse cohorts at Media Education Summit on April 2&3, 2020. Funded by Leeds Trinity University.
- 2019: Presented research at the Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff. Funded by Leeds Trinity University. Paper currently under consideration for publication by special conference editions.
- 2017: Presented research at Journalism, Society and Politics in the Digital Media Era. Limassol, Cyprus. Funded by Leeds Trinity University.
- 2015: Presented research at the Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff. Funded by Leeds Trinity University.
- Whittington, Rebecca, O’Connor, Catherine. (2017).What is News and what is Journalism in 2016? Marsden, Paul. Entrepreneurial Journalism. Abingdon: Routledge.
- Whittington, R. (2016). Digital Tipping Point: The Balance of Priority between Traditional and Digital Journalism Skills at Local UK Newspapers. Sociology and Anthropology, Horizon Publishing Limited. 4(9): 825-835. http://www.hrpub.org/download/20160830/SA5-19606864.pdf
- Student experience champion for Communications 2019 – present
- Leeds Trinity University Journalism SSAC academic rep 2018 – present
- Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee, Leeds Trinity University 2014-2015
- Journalism Studies research group, the University of Leeds
- Visual and Digital Cultures research group, the University of Leeds
- Appearances on broadcasters including BBC Look North, BBC Radio Leeds and BCB radio discussing the future of newspapers and the Cairncross Review
- The Big Issue, 2018: Fact/Fiction: Did a university ban its lecturers from using capital letters?
- Guardian, September 17, 2015: Regional newspaper publishers are seeking digital skills – at last
- Hold the Front Page, September 17, 2015: Regional press reaches digital skills ‘tipping point’ claims survey
- Hold the Front Page, February 2, 2015: BBC accused of ‘knifing industry in back’