Faculty of Information & Media Studies

#PublicInterest Lecture Series

In its third year, the #PublicInterest speaker series at the London Public Library brings cutting-edge research by scholars from FIMS out of the academy and into the community. This series is a key component of the FIMS commitment to engagement in the public sphere. Each of the talks highlights innovative and exciting research going on in FIMS, presented by faculty members and students who are passionate about their work.

Everyone is welcome to attend these lectures.


Fall 2016 / Winter 2017 Semesters

Where have all the reporters gone? Hook-ups and break-ups in the Canadian Media

Meredith Levine
Thursday, September 29, 2016
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
London Public Library, Masonville Branch
30 North Centre Rd.

In 2008, Canadian journalist Don Martin published, in two major Canadian newspapers and dozens of online publications, an article that raised serious questions about the character and abilities of fellow journalist Arthur Kent, then running as a candidate in the Alberta provincial election.  In a major defamation law suit, Kent sued both Don Martin and Post Media. Testimony at the trial was riveting: newsworthy, consequential AND titillating.   But Canadian newsrooms weren’t ‘all over’ the story – in fact, only one media organization assigned a reporter to cover the trial. This presentation examines the reasons behind the silence, exposing the economic realities of media ownership in Canada that influence our news coverage.

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Image credit for lecture material: "News-media-standards.jpg" by Sollok29 is licensed under CC BY 4.0 bit.ly/2bVwkkU

Winning a gorgeous war: Making war beautiful enough to fight

Tim Blackmore
Thursday, October 27, 2016
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
London Public Library, Landon Branch
167 Wortley Rd.

Hitler fought (and lost) many wars. Propaganda and media scholars agree, however, that he won the war of images: the Nazi party produced powerful, persuasive, and significant images as they instigated and fought WWII. This talk contrasts the ‘war brands’ created by the United States and Nazi Germany in WWII, and discusses how modern-day images of war reflect the struggle for propaganda power played out in the middle of the last century.

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Naming (or not naming) Names: An International Comparison of Crime Coverage

Romayne Smith Fullerton
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
London Public Library, Masonville Branch
30 North Centre Rd.

In North America, persons accused of serious crimes can expect to be the focus of intense media scrutiny from the time of the initial accusations until the court verdict and beyond. Their name, address, age, and background all become grist for the public via mainstream news. This is regular practice in Canada, but naming names and providing intimate details about the accused, their children, and their families is not routine in other parts of the world. Why are these journalistic practices different and what do the practices suggest about privacy, the public right to know, and justice itself? 

Community Resistance to Gold Mining in El Salvador

Amanda Grzyb
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
London Public Library, Landon Branch
167 Wortley Rd.

Communities in Central America are using new forms of organizing to resist the incursion of mega-extractive projects in their territories and protect valuable water resources. Focusing on resistance to gold mining in El Salvador as an example, this talk asks what Canadians need to know about the role of Canadian extractive industries abroad. We will discuss the perils of trade agreements that favour multinational corporations over local social, economic, and environmental needs; the assassination of Salvadoran environmental leaders; the OceanaGold lawsuit against the country of El Salvador for failing to approve their mining permit; and innovative strategies — such as local mining referenda — now utilized by Salvadoran communities to resist mining. 

"Oh Mom! Look it up on the internet." Seniors and Technology: Reading, ebooks, and everyday life

Anabel Quan-Haase and Kathleen Schreurs
Thursday, March 30, 2017
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
London Public Library, Landon Branch
167 Wortley Rd.

Digital reading technology is constantly evolving and increasing in popularity, including among seniors. Among this group there seems to be a trend towards adoption and acceptance often spurred on by family and peers who offer support and motivation. Many seniors, however, do not feel comfortable or knowledgeable about using reading technology. This talk discusses how seniors engage with reading technology. Our research reveals that, for seniors, learning new technology requires significant effort. As a result, seniors make careful and deliberate choices about the technology they use, carefully choosing technology that fits into and improves their lives.

Teens and Cigarettes during the '70s and '80s

Daniel Robinson
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
London Public Library, Landon Branch
167 Wortley Rd.

This talk explores how cigarette manufacturers marketed to Canadian teenagers during the 1970s and 1980s, highlighting various forms of advertising, market research, and point-of-sale techniques.  While the tobacco industry’s Advertising Code banned marketing to those under 18, companies nonetheless targeted youths as young as fifteen, because capturing these “starter” smokers was vital to securing long-term marketing success within the industry.