Dr Nicola Mann, Professor of Communications and Visual Cultures at Richmond, recently had an influential report published for the American Studies Program of the Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Changing Role of the Media in American Life and Culture: Emerging Trends, explores the challenges faced by the media in America and around the world.

The USA has never had so many sources with which to inform itself and the world. But while the options of how to consume news are broadening, consumers’ views are narrowing. The rise of 24-hour TV news channels, hyperpartisan advertising and social media is widening cultural, political, and social divides in the United States.

In addition to its traditional communications goal of informing and shaping domestic and worldwide understanding, and alongside the three traditional branches of government – the executive, legislature, and judiciary – the media has become a more active and institutional political part of an increasingly polarised America. What does the future hold?

Dr Mann’s report examines pertinent issues including the significance of truth and verification to current news production and consumption, as well as the role of the media in culture and democracy in the years to come.

Informed by urban culture studies and community activism, Dr Mann’s current research considers dominant visualisations of London’s Heygate council estate in light of recent regeneration efforts. Through analysis of television shows including Top Boy (Channel 4), Nicola addresses the ways in which the estate is mythologised in popular visual culture as a racially and politically-charged site that deserves to be demolished. She is a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar.