Michael Higgins

Michael Higgins

I'm a Senior Lecturer in Journalism and English at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK.

Location Glasgow, UK


  • I have just one. Always thank and be courteous and fair to your contacts, and they will recommend you to those they know.

  • If they ask, and there is no reason to withhold the questions, then send them if you wish. Always retain the right to ask supplementary questions though.

  • Thank you, Opio, on behalf of myself and my colleagues.

  • Yes, it will remain for you to access, Pat.

  • Thank you, Owera. We really appreciate that.

  • No question is a wasted question. I think FutureLearn are the best people to respond to that though.

    As to Google replacing Professors... Google provides the answers, but education teaches us the questions to ask, and then helps us to use the answers properly. :-)

  • Journalists, quite understandably, can be reluctant to get into long discussions with those who are simply dead-set against their take on a story. It is not always because the journalists do not have the answers, but simply that they do not have the time.

    I agree with you, journalists must often be tempted to respond (and some do).

  • Hi Joana. We'll be looking at style later. Looking forward to your contribution.

  • That is why it is such a difficult job at times!

  • Hello Ange. In formal terms and in the UK setting, journalists are subject to the law in the same way as the rest of us. For example, the hacking of phones is contrary to communications legislation, and any alleged offender would be subject to prosecution irrespective of their profession. (See...

  • Start by emailing or phoning politely and asking for an interview. You'll be surprised at how many yeses you'll get.

    And if you see someone, say hello and give them your card.

  • Start in the middle rather than at the beginning. Start with the one sentence you know needs to go in there. That's how I begin an academic piece.

    Others might have other tips. I'd like to know them myself, sometimes!

  • Ideally, yes.

  • It's an interesting question, David. Content analyses of news content, starting with a classic study by Galtung and Ruge in the early sixties, have always found "negative news" to be more attractive than positive. We can see how that might be justifiable, such that we need to know about threats in order to preserve our well-being, but it is a worthwhile...

  • Blogging has an important role. And I can tell you that is a GREAT course!

  • [contd]
    3. In some national settings, this is also manifest as the confrontational interviewer. I've called this type "the public inquisitor" and my friend and colleague at UCLA Steven Clayman describes them as "tribunes of the people".

  • I spoke about avoiding bias above. It is true to say that the "national interest" is a bias in itself. Some time ago, I wrote about the criticisms that Kate Adie's excellent reports from Tripoli, after the US bombing of the city, received on the basis that they were not sufficiently attentive to the national interest: extraordinarily, attacked for not being...

  • We are doing interviewing in the course, Elizabeth, so I don't want to steal my colleague's thunder. There is rarely an obligation, unless agreed in advance, to show the subject of an interview a copy of the article for approval. The words of the interviewee should always be dealt with truthfully and placed in context in order that no complaint should arise.

  • These are extremely important matters, Israel and Christopher. My colleague Dr Sallyann Duncan has particular expertise in this area, so I'll ask her to say more on this later.

  • You make a very important point, Siarhei. A free press is the cornerstone of a democracy.

  • Digital media is the new thing, and will have a great influence over the direction of news. But it is not yet the only thing: and we will always need great journalists whatever the platform happens to be.

    We will also need to pay them, if we want them to perform to their full capacity.

    News organisations haven't quite mastered the art of drawing...

  • Michael Higgins replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    As to how journalists should respond to serious accusations of bias: with the facts, and with a demonstrable commitment to balance where appropriate.

    As to less serious accusations of bias, most journalists are only too willing to engage in constructive discussion over the direction of their work. They also know that they will never please...

  • Michael Higgins replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    Thanks Yumonosan and Trevor for bringing up this most interesting of questions!

    I'm not sure there is quite the level of "dislike" of "mainstream media" that is commonly supposed. There is occasional frustration at what it is labelled as poor, irresponsible or, and this is a word we should use advisedly, "biased" news content. More often than not,...

  • Hello Mary. That very much depends on whether you are working exclusively for an news organisation when you put the story together. Inevitably stories get "spiked" (or otherwise not used) for various reasons. Law differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and this relates to Dominique's point, but it is always best to explicitly assert your copyright and...

  • Thank you for taking part, Nikita.


  • And we are glad you did as well, Gabriel!


  • Thank, Gef.


  • Thank you, Caitlyn. Your teenage years are an ideal time to get started. Good luck!


  • Thanks, Sandra. I hope we've inspired you to keep writing!


  • Thanks, Kirsty. And very good luck with your studies!


  • Thanks, Alberto. We enjoyed it too.


  • Thanks, Darren. That interaction is exactly what we set out to achieve, so I'm glad you thought that worked well. And we enjoyed putting the material together and working with the participants, while maintaining an appropriate standard of work, so I'm glad that came across so well.


  • That's very kind, Emily. We have our brilliant web and IT team to thank for that.


  • Thank you, Hocine. :-)


  • Thank you, Julie. We appreciate that.


  • Thank you, Cheryl. And thanks to you and the other participants for making it such a rewarding experience for everyone.


  • That is very kind, Sunday. Thank you.


  • We're glad you participated, Kemoh.


  • And thank you, Chris.


  • Thank you, Janet. And that is wonderfully put.


  • Thanks, Md. We feel much the same. It is a real privilege.


  • Thanks, Ann. And I think the consensus is: never too old to start enlightening others.


  • And thanks to you for participating, Janet.