Communication Research Centre
- Highlighting and challenging media representations of UK General Elections and drug policy
The Communication Research Centre has played a key role in raising awareness and understanding of media representations of socially significant issues, including UK General Elections and Government policy on drug usage.
Experts from the Centre have received numerous commissions to analyse communication by several major organisations – including the BBC, the Electoral Commission and UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC) – and their work has become central to policy making around reportage.
The Centre’s analysis of the 1992 General Election for The Guardian was the first ever contemporaneous real time content analysis of nationwide print and broadcast coverage. The outcome of the study was widely used and highly regarded – and the Centre received repeat commissions for analysis of the reporting of subsequent General Elections.
The UKDPC’s 2010 report to Government – Getting Serious About Stigma – was based on commissioned research conducted by the Centre. The report sets out to combat negative stereotyping of users to remove the “hidden barrier” to their rehabilitation and reintegration.
The report formed the basis of the UKDPC’s guide for journalists, and submission to the Levenson Inquiry into press reporting on drug use (both 2012).
Members of the team have regularly been invited to provide expert comment both in broadcast media and to a range of bodies including the major political parties, and their work has led to a stream of publications around press and broadcast news reporting.
The Centre’s findings highlighted several key issues around the reporting of General Elections – female politicians tend to be marginalised; and there is scant coverage of substantial policy issues around health, the economy and education.
REFORMED DRUG REPORTING
The Centre’s findings informed the guidance drawn up by the Society of Editors’ Code of Practice Review Committee around the reporting of former drug users.