About Me: Hannah Westley

Professor Hannah Westley has co-authored an article on how trends in online news consumption are having consequences on the news genre itself. The article is currently under peer review for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Digital Journalism.

Abstract: News Genres: Changing Perspective

This co-authored paper examines the way churnalism is affecting the news gathering and news consumption habits of international millennials. Based on research carried out over a period of two years amongst small focus groups of students based in the UK, France, US and Russia, this article explores how churnalism is not only having an impact on what people read but also on how they read it, with far reaching consequences for what has traditionally been perceived as the news genre.

By drawing on the understanding of genre as a social act (Miller), when technological affordances change from providing the conditions from one-to-many-communication to many-to-many (self)communication (Castell), we explore the ways in which churnalism, as a socio-technological act, is changing both the ways we produce and, importantly, consume the news. New news genres are appearing in response to new social interactions that users repeatedly act out predominantly online, in social media. As users, we produce and consume texts which we refer to as 'news' in multiple situations which can, in turn, be sorted into patterns. Our cross-cultural comparative analysis offers surprising insights into how these patterns form new news genres, which are characteristic of social media (many-to-many) instead of mass media (one-to-many). Certain genres evolve from or appear to re-mediate 'old' media genres, such as news articles, interviews, opinion, etc. But other new media genres are emerging, which include but are not confined to tweets, alerts to newly published articles via a mobile device, Instagram images, FB updates.

Genres can be and should be studied not only through textual analysis but also, or more so, through the prism of social reality and recurrent social actions (Lomborg 2011), particularly now that users, rather than journalists, are taking a dominant role in identifying what constitutes news genres. Our perception of what constitutes news is determined by the changing ways in which we consume news.


Dr Hannah Westley completed her PhD at Cambridge University, followed by an Entente Cordiale Scholarship for post-doctoral research. Her research interests include journalism, new media, word/image relations and self-representation. Previous publications include The Body as Medium and Metaphor (Rodopi 2009), a volume that explores the intertextuality of self-representation in portraiture and autobiography, and a monograph of the British abstract painter Sheila Girling (Lund Humphries 2010). After a number of years working as a journalist (writer and editor) for publications including The Times, London, The Mail on Sunday and thelondonpaper, she now lectures in journalism and communication at the American University in Paris.

Dr Natalia Rulyova completed her PhD at Cambridge University, followed by a lectureship and a fellowship at the University of Surrey where she started working on post-Soviet media. Since 2006, she has worked as Lecturer in Russian at the University of Birmingham. She has published extensively in the area of Russian mass media and new media, including Television and Culture in Putin's Russia (Routledge 2009), a co-written monograph (with S Hutchings); Globalisation, Freedom and the Media after Communism: The past as future, an edited volume (with S Hutchings and B Beumers) (Routledge 2009) and The Post-Soviet Russian Media: Conflicting Signals, an edited volume (with S Hutchings and B Beumers) (Routledge, 2009). Her publications on new media include a special issue of the Europe-Asia Studies entitled New Media in New Europe-Asia, (Voi. 64, Issue 8, 2012) and articles on social media.