Forthcoming article in TVNM

July 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am willing to see my next article in Television & New Media on the public channel (regional and statewide) coverage of the massive demonstration in Barcelona in September 11, 2012 (claiming for the self-determination). The article offers a mixed (quantitative & qualitative) textual approach to the issue and reveals how citizen’s political engagement was minimized by most of the channels. In the text, I discuss how the processes of mediation and mediatization of the event resulted in a narrative that displaced the political, meanwhile offering a frame close to what scholars have identified as ‘strategic’, focusing on politicians statements (with a relevance of official/governmental sources) and secondary aspects around the march. As stated in the text, this also tended to offer a ‘depoliticized’ account of the demonstration:

The result of this type of depoliticization is that “the political” is reserved as a sphere for politicians, while organized citizens are excluded from the political logics. This is part of a wider professional phenomenon in Western societies, where almost everything is susceptible to being explained in economic and financial terms.

… from the concluding remarks.


Masking Political Engagement: Television Coverage of a Mass Demonstration in Barcelona

Enric Castelló, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

This article analyzes how statewide and regional public television in Spain handled the demonstration held on September 11, 2012 (the National Day of Catalonia), in Barcelona under the slogan “Catalonia, a New European State.” The author performed a content analysis of fifty-eight news programs and a narrative analysis of eighty-nine stories. The results indicate that the majority of the channels offered limited coverage of the demonstration. The television narratives also minimized the role of citizen agency in the achievement of goals through democratic participation and displayed a depoliticized account. The author argues that the coverage of the march and its consequences resulted in a masking of citizens’ political engagement; far from promoting an understanding of why the march was so massively supported, it instead presented a story on politicians’ strategy. The author relates this case with a wider trend of media coverage of citizens’ protests in a Western post-democratic context.


democracy, demonstrations coverage, mediatization, political conflict, public television, television news

Television & New Media, DOI: 10.1177/1527476414545890


Ibercom, almost ten years after

May 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

I remember to assist in 2004 to Ibercom, the congress which bring together scholars on communication studies from Spain, Portugal and Latinamerica. Then it was in Covilha (Portugal) and was the best organized conference I assisted since this moment in the Iberian Peninsula. Today, I am in Santiago de Compostela, almost ten years after, participating in the same conference.

Foto0047It is being a rather successful event in quantitative terms and organization. There are a lot of scholars coming from Spain and specially Portugal. Some of the presentations are being of quality although I have assisted to plenary sessions and I note the incapacity of Iberian scholars to go forward the already existing topics and debates years ago. Now the economic crisis and the special impact in Portugal and Spain media and communication systems is in the agenda of the discussions, but it is rather discouraging to see that the considered ‘top scholars’ in the field are so rooted in old debates and premisses.

Younger researchers and participants are bringing few fresh air to the research and issues. One of the lack of this kind of events is the few real research presented in the sessions; some sessions sink to critical but unproductive debates, most interesting in terms of ideas exposed but generally very poor in terms of progression of the field and innovation of perspectives, etc. Other of the improvable points of the congresses like this is the almost nonexistent participation of some of the first-line and senior scholars in the field, and specially those who are offering some international impact in their production. Are they not interested in spreading their results in this kind of events?

A video on the project

May 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

Finally, I decided to produce a video offering a resume of the project on media and conflict which I am leading. It has been a pretty nice experience realized by Mireia Ribé, and with the participation of my colleague Arantxa Capdevila. Indeed, I had never participated in a ‘research trailer’, although I had watched several and most universities are using this tool in order to spread results and to get a wider visibility. In this occasion, we structured the video in two parts: the first one ofering an overall on the nature of the project and some of our theoretical approach, and the second showing one of the case studies, with Arantxa commenting main points.

In general, I am glad to have now this, as a tool for dissemitating the research and perhaps having a greater impact. However, I do not feel very comfortable watching myself in the screen, but this has a more difficult solution.


Spanish Communication and Media Studies: a thermometer

January 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Next week the Spanish Association of Communication Research (AE-IC) is celebrating its 3rd congress in Tarragona, hosted by the Department of Communication Studies at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. The meeting will be a great occasion for measuring the quality and weight of the field, through the presentation of near four hundred communications.

The conference theme is ‘Communication and Risk’ and the invited keynote speaker will be Professor David L. Altheide (Arizona State University), who will present a speech entitled ‘Shielding Risk’  (available in Spanish here). Armand Mattelart will be also present at the conference, in which homage will be devoted to Roman Gubern.

This meeting is going to be a thermometer of the situation of Communication Research in Spain, which in my opinion crosses a sweet moment, although having several handicaps and future challenges: to increase the quality of research standards and output, more internationalization of its scope or the need of a leadership based in the results and applicability of its efforts more than in the hierarchic structure of Spanish academia. Next week, Tarraco will recover for two days the status of Capital of Hispania, at least in Communication Research.

Narratives of conflict on Spanish and Catalan television

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Neighbourhood squabbles or claims of right? Narratives of conflict on Spanish and Catalan television

Hugh O’Donnell, Glasgow Caledonian University
Enric Castelló, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona

It is in the explanation of conflicts that narratives of confrontation are most clearly deployed. In the definition of the problems, in the roles embodied by the different subjects, in the lexical choices made when referring to territories or symbolic objects, we establish differences in terms of how such confrontations are (to be) understood. These narratives are articulated through structures which work to construct the origin of the problem, the solution, the victim or aggressor and so on. Applying a narratological analysis, the aim of this article is to offer a set of key elements for understanding news constructions of the — essentially political — conflict among nations and regions within Spain. Starting from a study of five cases and a comparison of ten TV news items from both the Spanish (TVE) and the Catalan (TVC) public-service channels concerning recent conflicts, the authors attempt to throw light on the ways in which different and divergent conceptions of the same set of problems are presented from a “national” point of view.

Keywords: Catalonia, narratology, news narratives, political conflict, Spain, television

In: Narrative Inquiry 21:2. 2011. (pp. 191–212)

A ‘discursive vacuum’ on the independence

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Next September, Arantxa Capdevila and I will be presenting a paper in the X Conference of the Asociación de Ciencia Política y de la Administración in Murcia. We did research on the treatment of “the independence” as a topic in four important newspapers during the elections in Catalonia. We compared the results between 2006 and 2010. The results suggest that the independence is growing as a ‘media topic’ in the newspapers. In 2010, we could consider that it was a ‘electoral topic’. Despite this, we found that the treatment of the issue was very superficial. The discourses on the newspapers regarding the independence as a political project are poor and scarcely analytical. Few arguments (backing or not the independence) are given and when a presence, it is mostly used to ‘adjectivating’ or to “attacking” or “giving support” to some political leaders. In this sense, we have defined this situation as a “discursive vacuum” on the independence, a meaning space inhabited or poorly filled with any sense.

Get full text here: Capdevila_Castello_AECPA2011

How to review and get reviewed

July 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I attended to a seminar at the Universitat de Barcelona about ‘How to review and get reviewed’. It was organized by the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) and was part of the postgraduate course ‘Informació i Documentació en la Societat del Coneixement’. The seminar was given by Remedios Melero and Ana Marušić, who focused on such topics as ethical attitudes on the reviewing process, key aspects to prepare manuscripts for academic journals or the editors’ role.

The session of Melero was touching what reviewers are asked to do, how to get the better reviewers, what are they not expected to deliver or how to innovate in the reviewing process. The presentation given by Marušić, editor of the Croatian Medical Journal, was rather more practical as she delivered some case studies in which participants should decide among several possibilities involving ethical aspects of the action by reviewers, editors and authors. Among the topics, she developed content about the conflict of interest, reviewers’ misconduct, confidentiality and impartiality. Among the innovations commented regarding the reviewing process, it was presented the possibility to publish the list of reviewers in each issue of a journal. Although big differences were noticed between experimental sciences and social sciences and humanities, all journal must accomplish with the academic ethical standards.

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