Media Building - edited collection
Will Mari, LSU | Carole O’Reilly, Salford | E. James West, Northampton
This collection builds on the success of MEDIA BUILDING, an international conference hosted by Northumbria University and the University of Salford in 2021. It brings together leading scholars to interrogate the enduring and evolving relationship between journalism, mass communications, and the built environment. From the emergence of the first newspapers, media creators have intuitively understood the importance of connecting place and content. This has centered on the media building – most powerfully rendered through iconic headquarters such as the Tribune tower in Chicago and the Daily Express building in London. These and other sites provided media producers and consumers with a definable shape; “a hook on which to hang some news about the media itself.” Both individually and together, media buildings served as key nodes in the urban geography of communications, complementing editorial efforts to make and remake the modern metropolis.
At the same time, the changing form and function of media buildings has both reflected and reified transformations in modern journalism and mass communication. What would press barons such as Joseph Pulitzer, who saw their buildings as “the central and highest point(s) of New World Civilization,” have made of Facebook’s Menlo Park Campus; a radically different, if similarly impressive, vision of media power? How have media buildings – both real and imagined - informed and given form to a range of sociopolitical, cultural and ideological constructs, becoming a “delivery mechanism” for ideas about objectivity, authority and identity? What can the past and futures of media buildings tell us about the changing nature of media production, distribution, and consumption in the twenty-first century?
We invite chapters that interrogate the concept of the media building from a variety of perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds. Potential topics include:
- Media power and the modern skyscraper (e.g. China Media Group HQ, Beijing; the New York Times building, Manhattan)
- Media buildings and media(ted) cities (e.g. New York’s “newspaper row”; Facebook Menlo Park Campus, Silicon Valley; Media City Park, Dubai)
- Media buildings in popular culture (e.g. Supermanand the Daily Planet)
- The pasts and futures of media buildings (e.g. redevelopment and building conversion; demolition; public memory).
- Architecture, labor and media technologies (e.g. air conditioning; digitization and the newsroom; spatial politics and media workers)
- Identity, community, and media buildings (e.g. minority media and the built environment; race, gender and sexuality in the modern newsroom)
- Media buildings and the end of empire (e.g. the Times of India building, Mumbai; National Media Group, Nairobi; Broadcasting House, London)
- The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on media buildings and their employees (e.g. the transition away from 24/7 newsrooms, working from home)
Abstracts of 350 - 500 words, alongside a short position statement explaining how you envision your chapter contributing to the collection as a whole, to be submitted by January 10, 2023.
Accepted chapters of 5,000 - 7,000 words to be submitted August 15, 2023.
Direct queries and submissions to: