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The Department of Media and Communication is part of the University of Leicester’s Faculty of Social Sciences. It is a newly launched department that has evolved out of the Centre for Mass Communication Research (CMCR). CMCR was the first academic centre to be established in the United Kingdom dedicated to the study of media and communication.

The Department of Media and Communication is staffed by academics from a number of disciplines and backgrounds, including cultural studies, film and cinema, linguistics, political science, psychology, and sociology. The Department therefore actively embraces a multi-disciplinary orientation to research that includes critical and empirical analysis of media and communications, their structures, policy and legal frameworks, audiences and effects. Research undertaken in the department is both theoretical and applied, designed to enhance theory and method and to feed into thinking about policy and commerce.

For nearly 40 years, a wide range of media and communications research projects have been undertaken at Leicester, following the launch in 1966 of the Centre for Mass Communication Research, with the aim of producing data that will contribute to public debate and inform policy on the major media and communications issues of the day.

Academics at the Department of Media and Communication serve as consultants and advisers to international agencies, to Government departments and Parliamentary committees, and to media organisations. The Centre has established a wide network of research-related contacts with researchers in other universities at home and abroad and with commercial agencies in the UK.

The Department acknowledges the rapidly changing media and communication environment in its research by actively pursuing the study of new media and communications technologies including the Internet and other forms of computer-mediated communications, digital interactive television, and mobile communications. This trend is reflected in its established and developing interests in areas such as e-democracy, e-government, e-commerce, and e-learning. It is further manifest in research into the impact of communications technology developments upon the working practices of newsrooms.

The Department also pursues a vibrant research agenda in the analysis of media audiences and media effects. A principal focus in this respect is the study of the role of the media in public health and well-being, social welfare and quality of life. Much of this research is now organised through the Centre for Mass Communication Research that is incorporated within the Department of Media and Communications as a research centre. The work of the Centre here embraces the idea that the media can be unwittingly and deliberately used to influence social behaviour patterns for the benefit or ill of media consumers. Establishing the true nature and extent of media effects is critical if informed debates are to be undertaken about these important issues and social policies developed that will treat people fairly and bring benefits to society.

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