Dr Andy Williams BA Hons (Wales), MA, PhD (Cardiff)
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 70088
Location: Room 0.61B, Bute Building
Andy Williams is a lecturer at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. He was previously the RCUK Research Fellow in Risk, Health and Science Communication (2008-10). He has a number of research interests which intersect journalism studies and cultural studies. His current major research interests relate to news sources and the influence of public relations on the UK media, especially in the area of science, health and environment news.
His recent and previous research has included work on:
- News coverage of science, the environment, and health: he has recently completed two research projects in this field. The first was a study of competing source strategies behind the media coverage of animal-human hybrid embryos (funded jointly by the Medical Research Council, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Wellcome Trust, and the Science Media Centre); and the second was a political economic account of specialist science, health and environment news journalism in the UK national media (funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).
- News sources and public relations: He was the lead researcher on a Mediawise Trust-funded project which showed that the UK elite press and broadcast news relies heavily on “information subsidies” provided by public relations and news agency copy. The study employed company document analysis, content analysis, questionnaires, and interviews with journalists and PR professionals to establish the growing role of the public relations industry in shaping news agendas and content. Carried out in collaboration with Guardian investigative reporter Nick Davies, the work was central to his bestselling book Flat Earth News.
- Media convergence and online news: His work in this field has two strands. He has completed research for the National Union of Journalists which examines the political economy of multiplatform journalism in the UK local and regional press. He has also worked on a major AHRC knowledge exchange study of citizen journalism and user-generated content in collaboration with journalists at the BBC.
He gained his MA and PhD at Cardiff University’s Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, where his research interests were in poststructuralist cultural theory, UK media history, and the consumer culture of Victorian Britain.
After a stint as a political researcher for Leanne Wood AM (the Shadow Social Justice Minister at the Welsh Assembly) he moved to the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies as a research associate in 2006.
He is the module leader of BA modules entitled “Science, the Environment, and Health in the News” and “Spin Unspun: Public relations and the news media”, and the masters module “Reporting Science and Health”, which is a collaboration between JOMEC’s MA in International Journalism and the SOCSI MSc in Science Communication.
He gives guest lectures on other BA and MA courses on topics such as science news, citizen journalism and the public sphere, new media and journalism studies, the influence of public relations on the news, and research methods. He also guest lectures at the Cardiff University Dental School, and the DECIPHer public health research centre. He has been a visiting lecturer in Communication Theory at the Kosovo Institute for Journalism and Communication.
Andy encourages PhD proposals about PR and the news, news coverage of science, the environment and health, or combinations of the above.
Media and outreach work
He has provided expert opinion and advice to a number of government bodies, media groups, and professional associations including the BBC, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Expert Group on Science and the Media, the National Union of Journalists, and the Welsh Assembly’s Broadcasting Subcommittee.
He regularly contributes to the UK national and regional press and broadcast media (recent media input includes Times Higher Education, Nature News, the New Statesman, national BBC Breakfast News, the Guardian Unlimited, Press Gazette, OpenDemocracy, and BBC Wales television and radio news).
In addition to this he is committed to disseminating research findings in a variety of other contexts:
- he regularly carries out media training workshops across the UK with scientists who want to gain a deeper insight into how science journalism works;
- he has formed partnerships with BryncelynnogComprehensive in Beddau (his old school), and Treorchy Comprehensive in the Rhonda, where he speaks to media studies and science pupils about his research; and
- he has contributed lectures in collaboration with the University of the Third Age (U3A).
As well as having published articles in academic journals and edited collections he is a member of the ESRC’s Peer Review College, and is a peer-reviewer for Journalism Studies, Journalism Practice, Public Understanding of Science, The Yearbook Sociology of Science, Communication and Medicine, Cyfrwng: The Media Wales Journal, Crime, Media and Culture, and for the Journalism Studies division of the annual ICA Conference.
Articles and book chapters
Williams, Andy, Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin, and Wardle, Claire (forthcoming 2011) “‘More Real and Less Packaged’: Audience discourse on amateur news content and its effects on journalism practice”, in Andén-Papadopoulos, Kari and Mervi Pantti (Eds.) Amateur Images and Global News, Bristol: Intellect
Williams, Andy, Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin, and Wardle, Claire (forthcoming 2011) “Studying UGC at the BBC: A multi-site ethnography”, in Patterson, Chris, and David Domingo (eds.) Making Online News: Newsroom ethnography in the second decade of Internet journalism, New York: Peter Lang
Williams, Andy, Wardle, Claire, and Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin, (forthcoming, 2011) “The Limits of Audience Participation: UGC @ the BBC”, in Journalism, Sources and Credibility, Bob Franklin and Matt Carlson (eds.), London and New York: Routledge
Williams, Andy, Wardle, Claire, and Wahl Jorgensen, Karin (2010) “Have They Got News for Us?” Audience revolution or business as usual at the BBC?”, Journalism Practice,5(1) pp.85-99
Wardle, Claire and Williams, Andy (2010) “Beyond User-Generated Content: A production study examining the ways UGC is used at the BBC”, Media Culture and Society, 32(5), pp.781-799
Wahl-Jorgensen , K, Williams, A., and Wardle, C. (2010) "Audience views on user-generated content: exploring the value of news from the bottom up" Northern Lights, 8(1) pp.177-194
Williams, Andy (2010) “Advertising and Fiction in The Pickwick Papers” Victorian Literature and Culture, 38, pp. 319-335
Franklin, Bob, Williams, Andy, and Lewis, Justin (2010) “Journalism, News Sources, and Public Relations”, The Routledge Companion to News and Journalism Studies, Stuart Allen (ed.) London and New York: Routledge, pp. 202-212
Lewis, Justin, Williams, Andy, and Franklin, Bob (2008) ‘A Compromised Fourth Estate?: UK News Journalism, Public Relations and News Sources’, Journalism Studies, 9:1, February
Lewis, Justin, Williams, Andy, and Franklin, Bob (2008) ‘Four Rumours and an Explanation: A Political Economic Account of Journalists’ Changing Newsgathering and Reporting Practices’, Journalism Practice, 2:1, February
Williams, Andy and Thomas, James (2008) ‘Profits versus Public Service: A case study of Trinity Mirror in South Wales’, Cyfrwng: Media Wales Journal, forthcoming
Williams, Andy (2007) ‘Bleak House and its Advertising Supplements.’ Chapter in Approaches to Teaching Dickens’s Bleak House, Eds. John O Jordan and Gordon Bigelow. New York: MLA
Williams, Andy (2007) ‘Pot Bellied Salt-Cellars and Talking Plates: Fetishism and signification in Our Mutual Friend.’ In Consuming Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century: Narratives of Consumption, 1700-1900. Eds. Tamara S Wagner and Narin Hassan, Langham MD: Lexington
Williams, Andy (2006) Entries on ‘Roland Barthes’, ‘Louis Althusser’, ‘ISA’s’, and ‘Interpellation’, in The Routledge Companion to Critical Theory. Eds. Paul Wake and Simon Malpas. London and New York: Routledge
Williams, Andy, and Clifford, Sadie (2009) Mapping the Field: A political economic account of specialist science news journalism in the UK national media, report funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and commissioned by the Expert Group on Science and the Media
Williams, Andy, Gajevic, Slavko, and Kitzinger, Jenny, (2009) UK National Newspaper Coverage Hybrid Embryos: Source strategies and struggles, report for the Medical Research Council, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Wellcome Trust, and the Science Media Centre
Wardle, Claire, Williams, Andy, and Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin (2008) UGC @ the BBC: Understanding its impact upon contributors, non-contributors, and BBC news, report from a Knowledge Exchange project funded by the AHRC and the BBC.
Lewis, Justin, Williams, Andy, Franklin, Bob, Thomas, James, and Mosdell, Nick, (2007) The Quality and Independence of British Journalism, report for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Media Wise Trust.
Boyce, Tammy, Kitzinger, Jenny, Lewis, Justin, Hogben, Susan, Williams, Andy, Grace, Reid, and Morland, Iain, (2007) Science is Everyday News: A review of UK media trends, report for the Office of Science and Innovation
Kitzinger, Jenny, Haran, Joan, Chimba, Mwenya, Boyce, Tammy, Williams, Andy, The Presence and Representation of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology in the British Media, report for the UKRC
Williams, Andy, and Franklin, Bob, (2007) Turning Around the Tanker: Implementing Trinity Mirror’s multimedia strategy, report for the NUJ
January 2011 ‘Selling Science? Source struggles, public relations, and the media coverage of hybrid embryos”, ESRC Genomics Forum Workshop, Edinburgh
December 2010 “Science Journalism: What makes it tick?” lecture for the Monmouth Science and Technology Section of the University of the Third AgeOctober 2010 ‘The Political Economy of Science News’ ECREA conference, Hamburg
July 2010 Participant in the session “Science Journalism: Business as usual?”, UK Conference of Science Journalists, Royal Society, London
December 2009 ‘Mapping the Field: A political economic account of specialist science news journalism in the UK national media’ presentation to the final meeting of the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills’ Expert Group on Science and the Media
‘UGC @ the BBC: Audience revolution or business as usual?’, Future of Journalism Conference, Cardiff University
July 2009 Participant in the panel debate: ‘The Science Controversy the Broke the Mould: The media battle for human/animal hybrid embryos’, World Conference of Science Journalists, London
June 2009 Participant in the panel debate: ‘Of Hype and Hybrids: sources and the news coverage of hybrid embryos’ the British Science Association’s Science Communication Conference, London
June 2009 ‘Boffins and Bishops: Source struggles and the media coverage of hybrid embryos’, Science Communication, Ethics, and Policy Symposium, Strathclyde University
May 2009 ‘UGC @ the BBC: A production study examining the ways in which audience material is used at the BBC’ (with Dr Claire Wardle, this paper was given the top faculty paper award and was judged the best in its field), ICA Conference, Chicago
January 2009 ‘User Generated Content: Who does it, and what do audiences think of it?’ (with Dr Karin Wahl Jorgensen), MECCSA Conference, University of Bradford
July 2008 ‘Pre-packaged sources and the UK news media: a political economy approach’, Economie du Journalisme conference, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris Nord organised by Journee du Reseau d’etude du journalisme
Jan 2008 ‘UGC @ the BBC: The challenge ahead’ (with Dr Claire Wardle), MECCSA Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff
Dec 2008 ‘Hubs and Spokes: User generated content at the BBC’ (with Dr Claire Wardle), Broadcast News and the Active Citizen conference, University of Leeds
Sept 2007 ‘The opinions of UK regional print journalists about convergence: a case study’ (with Prof Bob Franklin), The Future of Newspapers Conference, Cardiff University, Cardiff
May 2007 ‘Trinity Mirror’s plans for convergence’, Educate, Agitate, Integrate: One day NUJ conference on convergence, Headland House, London
April 2007 ‘A Compromised Fourth Estate? UK News Journalism, Public Relations and News Sources’ (with Prof Bob Franklin and Prof Justin Lewis), Political Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Bath, Bath
April 2007 ‘Turning around the tanker: Implementing Trinity Mirror’s multimedia strategy’, NUJ Annual Delegate Meeting, Birmingham
Aug 2005 ‘"A haughty disregard of costly things": femininity and consumer culture in Charles Dickens’s Dombey and Son’, English Seminar Series, Nanyang University, Singapore
Oct 2003 ‘George Bush’s Faulty Narrative: A Marxist reading of the US president on the war against terror’, Theory Now: The Anthony Easthope Memorial Conference, Manchester
Jun 2003 ‘Shopping with Pickwick’, Whither Theory? Conference, Université Paris X-Nanterre
Jul 2002 ‘Dickens’s Textual Arcades’, Reading Benjamin’s The Arcades Project Conference, King Alfred’s College, Winchester
Jan 2002 ‘Revisiting Macherey’, a presentation to Prof. Jean Jacques Lecercle’s Seminar on Marxist Theory, Cardiff University
2002-2003 Convenor and organiser of ‘The Nicholas Nickleby Reading Group’. A monthly group of Cardiff University staff and postgraduates that read Dickens’s novel as it was originally published in monthly serial parts with advertising supplements
Sept 2001 ‘Class Relations in the Frame: Bleak House and bourgeois self fashioning’, Le Capital et L’Humanite, Congres Marx International III, Université Paris X-Nanterre
Nov 2001 ‘Home and Colonial: Gender and race in nineteenth-century tea advertisements’, University of Wales Autumn Postgraduate and Staff Conference, Gregynog House, Mid Wales (I was the sole organiser of this conference)
Jun 2000 ‘Ideology, Commodity Fetishism and Sauce: The cultural politics of Victorian spicy sauces’, University of Wales Summer Postgraduate and Staff Conference, Gregynog House, Mid Wales
Andy is currently a lecturer in JOMEC, having recently ended his RCUK Research Fellowship in Risk, Health and Science Communication. He has a number of research interests which intersect journalism studies and cultural studies.
His current major research interests relate to news sources and the influence of public relations on the UK media, especially in the area of science, health and environment news. He is also interested in the political economy of multiplatform journalism, the news in Wales, and in the rise of citizen journalism and user-generated content.
He is from the village of Llantwit Fardre in the South Wales valleys, and attended a local comprehensive school in nearby Beddau. He attained a first class degree in English Literature from Swansea University, and gained an MA and PhD at Cardiff University’s Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, where his research interests were in poststructuralist cultural theory, UK media history, and the consumer culture of Victorian Britain.
After a stint as a political researcher for Leanne Wood AM (then the Shadow Social Justice Minister at the Welsh Assembly) he moved to the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies in 2006.