His work in media activism, communication rights and democratic communication models focuses on popular efforts to make media institutions more accountable and diverse, in alliance with social movements that aim to redistribute social, economic and political power and capital. In particular, Hackett has been concerned with media democratization as a rising social movement, the subject of Remaking Media (with William K. Carroll, Routledge, 2006). In conjunction with WACC and OpenMedia.ca, he has also researched Canadian activists’ views of communication policy in the Canadian context.
Hackett’s research in journalism studies has focussed on the “regime of objectivity” in news, and its ideological implications (with Yuezhi Zhao); “blind spots” in the agenda of Canada’s corporate press (with Donald Gutstein and NewsWatch Canada); and news representations of public issues, including workers’ struggles, the peace movement, and international conflict. He has a particular interest in “challenger paradigms,” such as peace journalism and alternative media, as more democratic and empowering forms of public communication. The need for journalism that can support transformational social movements is all the more urgent in the context of global climate crisis, the focus of Hackett’s current research with colleagues in Canada and Australia.
About the Dallas Smythe award
The Dallas Smythe Award is given in loving memory of one of the great pioneers of the study of the political economy of communications and one of the great leaders in the struggle for democratic communications. At each conference, the Union for Democratic Communications honors a critical media scholar/activist whose work exhibits the spirit of engagement, democracy, teaching, and feistiness to which the UDC is committed.
Past recipients of the Dallas Smythe Award include Santiago Alvarez, John Downing, Tom Guback, DeeDee Halleck, Ed Herman, Robert McChesney, Eileen Meehan, Vincent Mosco, Manju Pendakur, Peter Phillips, Herb Schiller, Janet Wasko, and Yuezhi Zhao.
The award will be presented at the 2015 conference at University of Toronto, Canada, May 1-3.