FIMS Profile

James Compton
Associate Professor
Rogers Chair

FIMS & Nursing Building Room 4037
Phone: 519-661-2111 x86658

University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
Fax: 519-661-3506
  • About Me

  • Teaching

  • Research

  • Service

  • Courses Taught

I study the political economy of communication and culture, and currently hold the Rogers Chair in Journalism and New Information Technology. I am heavily involved in academic labour politics, having served in multiple roles including: President of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) and Chair of UWOFA's Communications Committee, and President of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). I served on the CAUT executive in various capacities for 10 years. In a previous life, I worked as a reporter/editor for Canadian Press/Broadcast News in Vancouver. 

Professional Association Membership
I am a member of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).

I teach courses in both the undergraduate program in Media, Information and Technoculture and the graduate program in Media Studies. For the MIT program, I have taught the introductory Media in Society, the second-year Analyzing Broadcast News, and two third-year courses: Introduction to Broadcast Radio, and Information in the Public Sphere. I also developed a Special Topic course titled Theories of Spectacular Culture which traces the concept of "the spectacular" and situates it within broader debates about representation and the aestheticization of culture and politics. In the Media Studies program I have taught Interdisciplinary Foundations of Media Theory, and a revamped Theories of Spectacular Culture. I have also taught practical and theoretical courses in the MA Journalism program.

Research Interests
My research interests include political communication and the political economy of news media and popular culture - that is, the relations among power, wealth, journalism and popular culture. My work can be found in the academic journals: The Political Economy of Communication, Media, Culture & Society, Canadian Journal of Communication, Journalism Studies, Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, and UDC Communique. I am author of The Integrated News Spectacle: A Political Economy of Cultural Performance (Peter Lang 2004), and co-editor of two books: Converging Media, Diverging Politics (Lexington Books 2005), - a collection of essays on corporate convergence and its implications for journalism and democracy, and Organizing Equality: Dispatches from a global struggle (McGill/Queen's Press 2022). I have also extended my interest in media spectacles to the investigation of sport mega-events. The essay "Mega-events, media, and the integrated world of global spectacle" can be found in the edited collection Mega-Events and Globalization: Capital and spectacle in a changing world order (Routledge 2016). I have also co-authored, with Richard Gruneau, a critique of the neo-Durkheimian analysis of mega-events. The essay, "Media Events, Mega-events and Social Theory: From Durkheim to Marx," can be found in the edited collection Sport, Media and Mega-Events (Routledge 2017). I have also written on journalism's ongoing legitimation crisis. My chapter "Fake News: Mapping the Social Relations of Journalism's Legitimation Crisis," was published in the edited collection Routledge Handbook of Media Geographies (Routledge 2022). My essay "Notes Towards a Materialist Understanding of Progressive Solidarity" extends my research into the broader legitimation crisis facing governments and liberal democracies following the 2008 financial crash and 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It can be found the journal The Political Economy of Communication.

I was the Principal Investigator of a SSHRC-funded project entitled: "The Future of Organized Labour in the Digital Media Workplace." The project was a partnership between the Digital Media Group (DLG), from the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, and three prominent Canadian labour organizations. DLG scholars are joining with researchers at the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), and the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) to study how digital technology is changing media workplaces. In October 2009, the DLG held a major conference entitled “Digital Labour: Workers, Authors, Citizens.” Prof. Edward Comor and I co-authored a paper analyzing some of the data from a survey conducted for this project. "Journalistic Labour and Technological Fetishism" can be found in the journal The Political Economy of Communication. In partnership with the Canadian Media Guild, I have written on the challenges faced by unions trying to organize, so-called, "digital labour." Co-authored with Karen Wirsig, the essay "Workers, Contradictions and Digital Commodity Chains: Organizing with Content Creators in Canada," appears in the edited collection Policy Implications of Virtual Work (2017).

I am a Past-President of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

FIMS 9620 Special Topic: The Politics of Labour in the Knowledge Economy 2021 Winter JOU 708 Media Theory and Criticism 2007 Winter JOU 754 Theory and Practice of Radio Journalism 2005 Fall , 2004 Fall , 2003 Fall , 2002 Fall MIT 025 Media in Society 2004 Fall MIT 135 Analysing Broadcast News: Canadian Perspectives on Global Broadcast Media 2006 Winter MIT 2100 Political Economy of Media 2023 Fall MIT 235 Analysing Broadcast News: Canadian Perspectives on Global Broadcast Media 2006 Winter MIT 302 Information in the Public Sphere 2008 Winter , 2007 Fall , 2007 Winter (2 sections) , 2006 Winter , 2005 Winter MIT 3100 Information in The Public Sphere 2022 Winter , 2021 Fall , 2020 Fall , 2016 Winter , 2015 Winter , 2014 Winter , 2012 Winter MIT 343 Introduction to Broadcast Radio 2005 Fall MIT 3872 Special Topics in MIT: Fake News: Objectivity in New Reporting 2024 Winter MIT 4030 Theories of Spectacular Culture 2011 Fall , 2010 Winter MIT 4034 Special Topics in MIT: Theories of Spectacular Culture 2019 Fall , 2015 Fall , 2014 Fall , 2013 Fall MIT 4035 Special Topics in MIT: Theories of Spectacular Culture 2021 Winter MS 700 Interdisciplinary Foundations of Media Theory 2007 Fall MS 710 Theories of Spectacular Culture 2008 Winter MS 9100 Interdisciplinary Foundations of Media Theory 2009 Fall