I study the political economy of communication and culture. 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). 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 am also a long-time member of the Union for Democratic Communications (UDC). The UDC is an organization of communication researchers, journalists, media producers, policy analysts, academics and activists dedicated to the critical study of the communications establishment. For more information visit:
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.
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 Converging Media, Diverging Politics (Lexington Books 2005), - a collection of essays on corporate convergence and its implications for journalism and democracy. 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 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 currently serve as Past-president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).