Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable: the role of journalism in the academy

conference contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Katrina Oakham
The new professional disciplines such as journalism and public relations face unique challenges in entering the academy and as they formulate their own methodologies, pedagogies and theoretical frameworks there arises inevitable tensions between them and the more traditional disciplines.

As recently as January of this year in announcing the establishment of a new institute of journalism at Oxford University backed by £1.75m funding from Reuters, the vice chancellor of Oxford University, Dr John Hood, outlined plans to make this new centre one of the most authoritative sources of reliable analysis of journalism at an international, national and local level.

He went on to say that the aim of the institute would be to "break down the barriers of incomprehension and distrust which have tended to define the relationship between the academy and journalism." It is that ambivalent relationship which provides the focus for this paper.

As late as the mid 90s in the Australian academy focus was on the so called "Media Wars" with proponents of a pure and empirical form of journalism education declaring "No More Theory!" Tensions remain at least in the Australian context between the profession and practitioners and those who have moved to journalism education. Even within the ranks of the educators there are still divisions between those who see themselves only as practitioners with skills to impart, and those who see themselves as also building the disciplinary base.

Interdisciplinarity is often seen as the solution to such tensions but such hybrid mergings bring with them their own problems. This paper looks at the "Media Wars", their aftermath, and provides a case study of a discipline still seeking its own secure methodological and theoretical niche within the academy. It also poses its own solution in suggesting that it is time for a riotous Feyeraband type of play to produce the kind of disciplinary pastiche which will help in securing that niche.



International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (1st : 2006 : Island of Rhodes, Greece)


1 - 14


Common Ground


University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece

Place of publication

[Altona, Vic.]

Start date


End date




Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed; E Conference publication

Title of proceedings

Social Sciences Conference 2006 : The first international conference on interdisciplinary social sciences

Usage metrics

    Research Publications


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager