Media Studies: new media and new literacies

Latest News

The Forward Look final report has just been published and is available here, or by clicking on the picture.

Next dissemination event:

'European Journal of Communication/ESF Symposium’, Cyprus, Friday 16 May 2014

Project Summary

The field of media studies, broadly conceived, will become more and more important in the coming years. It is therefore equally important that we - scientists, policy makers and citizens – make sure that we do the things that need to be done. However, this will require choices and these are not trivial. To set these priorities in a responsible manner, it is important to not only take into account the institutional and organizational diversity of the relevant academic disciplines and traditions, but also to acknowledge the diverging needs of a wide variety of stakeholders.

The ESF Forward Look “Media studies: new media and new literacies” aims to meet this need by identifying a common, European research agenda and specifying the institutional frameworks that would help advance the organizational cohesion of European media research.

Background Paper

In preparing the Forward Look the concept of ‘media literacy’ was the initial guiding concept and focus. A background paper on this topic was prepared by Ola Erstad and colleagues. As debate evolved in the development of the Forward Look, it became increasingly necessary to go beyond many of the issues raised in discussing media literacy in order to formulate proposals for research and policy responding to the pervasive role of the media in so many areas of social, economic, cultural and political life. This larger agenda is reflected in the choice of topics in the body of the forthcoming report now entitled ‘Media in Europe: New Questions for Research and Policy’.


The first objective of this Forward Look is to define a set of key research questions that, given the challenges posed, need to be addressed in the next 5 to 10 years.

Closely linked is the second objective: to propose a new research agenda in discussion with relevant science-policy organisations, practitioners, technological developers and other stakeholders from across Europe. Ingredients for such an agenda include: 

  • the systematic development of sustained, interdisciplinary approaches (both conceptual and methodological)  
  • the strengthening of international scholarly interaction and response-mode collaboration between humanities and social science scholars 
  • forging a theory-driven knowledge transfer and systematic ties between the academy and commercial and policy stakeholders across key sectors in Europe

The Forward Look aims to develop such an agenda in the form of a set of concrete recommendations for actions.

Following from the previous point, the final objective is to raise awareness at the science-policy level of the importance of taking up those new essential questions and policy challenges.

Duration: January 2012 – June 2013