Max Hänska

Max Hänska

  • De Montfort University
  • Leicester Media School
Participant in 2010
Work history Lecturer (Assistant Prof.), De Montfort University, 2015-
Postdoc (Multidisciplinary Opinion and Democracy Research Group), University of Gothenburg, 2013-15
LSE Fellow, London School of Economics, 2011-13
Study history PhD, LSE
BA, University of Kent
Publications Hänska M “Networked Communication & the Arab Spring: Linking broadcast and social media”, New Media & Society 18(1), 2016, pp. 99-116.

Hänska M, and Shapour R “Who’s Reporting the Protests? Converging practices of citizen journalists and two BBC World Service newsrooms, from Iran’s election protests to the Arab uprisings”, Journalism Studies 14(1), 2013, pp. 29-45 (80% my contribution).

Hänska M, Wardle C, and Browne M “Social Media & Journalism: Reporting the world through user generated content – an interview essay”, Participations – Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, 10(1), 2013, pp. 436-439

Hänska M “Journalism Between Cultures: Ethical Ideologies and the challenges of international broadcasting into Iran”, Media Research 17(1-2), 2011, pp. 119-139.

Phd Projects


Political Legitimacy and Satellite Television in Iran: A Study of Ethical Judgements in the Persion-Language News Production of BBC and VOA

My research into non-domiciled Persian-language news production for the satellite channels of the BBC and Voice of America (VoA) aims to explore the relationship between public discourse and political legitimacy. I understand this news production (for Iran) as the creation of public discourse, and ask to what extent satellite TV can supply resources for democratization. Iran is an interesting case in this respect, as international satellite broadcasters, especially the BBC and VoA, are watched by large portions of Iran’s population. The subtext of my research is embodied in the question: What do we mean when we say that public communication is important for democratic legitimacy, and what kind of judgements are involved in asserting the (normative) legitimacy produced through public communication? I draw on theories of public reason and the public sphere, moral judgements and ethics, as well as news and democratization, combining conceptual approaches from ethics with empirical approaches from deliberative democracy and media research. Rather than follow well-developed approaches of treating normative questions as purely conceptual and questions of practices as purely empirical, my research seeks to negotiate a midway position. I operationalise my research by examining the way that practitioners address and think about normative problems, in order to examine the interaction between normative demands and the practices to which they relate, in this case, the production of news for Iran. I focus on two normative demands: 1) that all interests are included, and 2) that there should exist symmetry between those whose interests are included and those affected. These interests become salient in the case of Iran’s non-domiciled media because there exists no a priori idea about the shape of the public good (secular or religious), and thus, no shared basis for making decisions about inclusion. Furthermore, the reliance on nondomiciled media raises questions about the nature of accountability (who is affected – domiciled citizens, diaspora, international community). The divergence between norms and practices is interesting because it can help identify the various institutional capacities and professional capabilities that structure responses to normative problems in news production. I then ask, given the nature of the practices of news production and the availability of a set of capacities and capabilities, whether we should either modify our norms or address a lack in the available capabilities and capacities. My research question is: How do news professionals respond to and think about normative demands for inclusion and symmetry?

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