Legal geekery in 2010 and beyond

Some news! At the end of June I’ll be leaving my reporter job at for pastures new after (just under) two very happy years in Brighton.

I’ve accepted a three year MPhil / PhD studentship at City University London’s new Centre of Law, Justice and Journalism.

My research will be exploring legal restraints on the media: more details on that down the line.

I’m very excited about the chance to really get my teeth into media ethical and legal issues, whilst continuing all the online stuff. The plan is to set up a new blog to track media law issues, and share my own research as I go (name ideas please!). Bloggers like Charlie Beckett, Daniel Bennett and Lilian Edwards demonstrate how the gap can be bridged between media and academia – I hope to do something similar, learning as I go.

During the past year I’ve also been increasingly inspired by the bloggers writing about science, freedom of speech and legal issues in the UK (Richard Wilson, Jack of Kent, the Bad Science blogs and Index on Censorship, for example) and I’m looking forward to spending more time exploring this space.

Until June 30, I’ll be at, busy with my normal reporting duties and working on our next news:rewired event (June 25 – tickets on sale now).

From July 1 to September I’ll be finishing an MA dissertation (an add-on to the City Uni postgraduate diploma I did in 2007); freelancing and squeezing in a few trips. I’ll also have more time to help out with the citizen-led End Child Detention Now campaign (nearly at 5,000 signatures) – which has a very straightforward goal we’re determined to accomplish.

Another early-stage project I have on the go – along with a few others – is a UK Hacks & Hackers event at which we’ll pair up journalists, designers programmers over two days to build online news projects (provisionally in London in September; venue TBC). If you’re interested in getting involved in that, please let me know.

And I hope to stay involved in the new UK Future of News Group. I won’t be living in Brighton anymore, so our nest will be in the hands of the lovely Sarah Booker – I’ll have to make to do with the London group and the hyperlocal news projects on my new London doorstep.

I’m also on the lookout for freelance work to fit alongside my PhD – please do get in touch if you think you have anything for me, whether it be in journalism, campaigning, or research.

jt.townend [at]


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