Work

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 technology.

My PhD project, which I started working on part-time in 2014, is Analysing the impact of digital tools on news production, identity and jurisdiction at regional newspaper newsrooms within the UK.

My research has included collection and analysis of journalism job advertisements from November to January each year from 2014 to 2018; observation within two working daily newspaper newsrooms owned by two different major publishing companies within the UK, during which time semi-structured interviews with journalists within those newsrooms were also conducted; the final element of research was a survey of journalists working at regional newspapers throughout the UK, conducted from November 2017 to March 2018.

I have presented research from this project at events and conferences including the 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 lead undergraduate modules Practical Journalism 1 and Journalism in Society.

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.

Qualifications

2003 – 2:1 MA English and the History of Art, the University of Aberdeen

Conferences

Mojocon, Dublin, March 27, 2015 – attended

News:Rewired, London, July 16, 2015 – attended

Future of Journalism, Cardiff, September 10 – 11, 2015 – presenting paper
‘Digital tipping point’: The balance of priority between traditional and digital journalism skills at local UK newspapers.

Journalism, Society and Politics in the Digital Media Era, Limassol, Cyprus September 2017 – presenting paper There is no ‘I’ in ‘news team’: an Actor Network Theory analysis on the digital impacts on journalistic identity and the networks and hierarchies of regional UK newspapers.

Publications

O’CONNOR, C. & WHITTINGTON, R. L. 2017. What is news and what is journalism in 2016? In: MARSDEN, P. (ed.) Entrepreneurial Journalism: How to go it alone and launch your dream digital project. London: Routledge.

WHITTINGTON, R. L. 2016. Digital Tipping Point: The Balance of Priority between Traditional and Digital Journalism Skills at Local UK Newspapers. Sociology and Anthropology [Online], 4. Available: http://www.hrpub.org/journals/article_info.php?aid=5018 .

Committees/groups

Leeds Trinity University Journalism SSAC academic rep 2018

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

Press/media coverage

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’

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