Shant Fabricatorian

Shant Fabricatorian

Participant in 2016
Work history * Research assistant, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (Spring 2016)

Currently working as a research assistant on a Tow Center project, looking at how people consume news on social media and how this has changed over time.

* Teaching assistant, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (Fall 2015)

Worked as a TA for Professors William Grueskin and Adam Klein, in the core 'Business of Journalism' core class for MA and MS journalism students. Responsibilities included grading student papers and providing detailed feedback on their work, as well as general administrative duties related to the running of the class.

* Tutor, Communication Studies, University of Technology, Sydney (2010 – 2013)

In 2010 and 2012-3, I tutored ‘Regulating Communication: Law, Ethics, Politics’ for Dr James Goodman at UTS. This subject explored notions of power and communication regulation in the information age from a range of Australian and international contexts, and from historical and cross-cultural perspectives. Students covered a range of topics, including defamation, censorship, intellectual property, privacy, data protection, surveillance, racial vilification, whistle-blowing, confidentiality, freedom of information, and the role of inter- state and non-governmental organizations.

Additionally, between 2013 and 2014, I tutored ‘Communications and Cultural Industries and Practices’ for Associate Professor Elaine Lally. This subject examined ways that media, information and communication figure in our everyday practices. It considered the development of communication and cultural industries and practices, with a particular focus on current practices and technologies of convergence, as well as ways of theorizing and understanding the relationship between producers, texts and audiences. It provided an overview of important historical and political developments within communication and cultural industries, critically interrogating how communication and information products are produced, in what organizational and economic contexts, and for what purposes. The Australian situation was placed in its international context and with reference to the changing roles of digital technologies, public and private sector production/distribution, and the remit of governments.

* Teacher, print and online writing, research and interviewing, radio broadcasting, TAFE NSW (2012 – 2013)

Between 2012 and 2014, I worked at TAFE Sydney Institute, teaching writing, research and radio/podcasting courses to Certificate III, Certificate IV and Diploma students. Within each class of 10-15 pupils, I trained students in key journalistic and communication skills. These included how to structure and style hard and soft news stories, research skills for hard copy and online, and technical skills in relevant hardware and software.

* Tutor, Government and International Relations, University of Sydney (2007)

In 2007, I tutored five classes in ‘Government, Business and Society’ for Dr John Mikler. This unit provided students with conceptual and practical tools they could use to examine the role of business in society, to explore the ways in which public policy shapes and constrains business decision-making, and to understand the social and ethical responsibilities of business. It also introduced students to the political, social, regulatory, environmental and technological challenges facing businesses and the impact of the institutional diversity of organisations, drawing on Australian and international case study material.
Study history • 2014 – current: Doctoral candidate in Communications, Columbia University

– My research interests align at the nexus of communication, sociology and political economy, with a particular emphasis on the evolution of the media’s response to the global financial crisis. Key foci of my work include considering the extent to which narratives of neoliberalism and neoclassical economics are embedded within mainstream media frames, and investigating ways in which the media works to legitimize those narratives.

• 2007 – 2008: Masters of Arts in Journalism, University of Technology, Sydney (GPA of 3.67; thesis awarded a High Distinction)

– Courses taken included ‘Regulation of the Media’, which provided a grounding in media law and defamation; ‘Research and Reporting in Journalism’, a course which analyzed the various elements in putting together a news story; and specialist courses in print features, investigative journalism, editing and publishing (including experience with Adobe InDesign), and political news reporting.

– Thesis completed on the subject of the NSW media’s coverage of the issue of electricity privatization, involving a source analysis of all relevant articles over a one-year period.

• 2003 – 2006: Bachelor of Economic and Social Sciences, University of Sydney (Distinction average; graduated with first-class honors in Political Economy)

– Honors thesis investigated recent off-shoring trends in the electric guitar manufacturing industry, with the increasing influence of China providing the fulcrum of the analysis. The argument was made that, in China, the electric guitar industry had found a unique set of conditions set to shape future development, primarily predicated on the vast amount of skilled, cheap labour available and the Chinese government export-oriented industrialization strategy, which included special financial incentives, land use benefits, foreign currency exchange preferences and tax holidays for multinationals. These conditions warranted special consideration and the posing of the question – does the large-scale off-shoring of electric guitar manufacture to China represent the advent of a fundamentally altered dynamic in the industry, given the sheer scale of the process and the effect on aggregate demand in the U.S. market? It further considered whether the then-current phenomenon of price depression was a symptom of a broader problem of a glut of productive capacity, and whether lacking consumer demand in China had exacerbated this point.
Publications Presented paper at conference organized by University College London, September 2015: “175 years of The Economist: A Conference on economics in the media”. Paper title: “In Search of Efficiency: The Economist’s coverage of the GFC to 1873, 1929 and 1987”

Phd Projects

2016

"It's the economy, stupid": An analysis of the media's role in entrenching economic values

With the onset of the ‘Great Recession’ in September 2008, significant media attention focused on the dominant economic philosophy of deregulation and liberalization, especially within the financial sector, and the key role it was perceived to have played in enabling the crisis.

Yet while it is possible to attribute the financial crisis to a number of specific factors (such as misleading ratings of debt, excessively-optimistic projections, and overt greed), it is equally valid to consider the crisis, and subsequent prolonged economic slump, as exemplifying the consolidation of a set of symptoms, the effects of which had accumulated over the previous three decades. Those symptoms included the bulk of the existing economic policy consensus, premised around tenets of neoclassical economics. The practical effects of this included the promulgation of a ‘light touch’ approach to financial market regulation, and a high degree of confidence in the ability of the ‘free market’ to operate efficiently. These, in turn, arguably stemmed from a unified underlying cause – the values, ideology and framework of neoliberalism, successfully parlayed by its proponents into a dominant consensus position within academic and institutional policymaking circles.

It is in terms of the media’s contribution to this consensus that I aim to pursue my research. The mainstream media’s initial response to the crisis was driven by a questioning of discredited assumptions and values judged to have contributed to the collapse. Yet while crises often present the catalyst for paradigmatic shifts, that did not occur in this instance, with the media’s early, broadly critical approach not sustained in a meaningful way beyond initial post-mortems of the crisis’ causes. My work seeks to investigate in detail the reasons why this occurred. In studying this, I propose to consider the mainstream media’s broader historical role in influencing and legitimizing economic frameworks, and interrogate the influence of communication power in this field.

I consider this research question to lie at a key intersection of political economy, the sociology of expertise, and communications research. Moreover, it is relevant in contemporary terms – its consequences extend forward into the current disruptions taking place within the political classes of numerous Western democracies. For these reasons, and because of its interdisciplinary nature, I believe it fits ideally within the ECREA Summer School’s call for projects. As such, I consider it would prove extremely valuable to hear from other workshop participants on how to refine the overall project’s scope, parameters and methodologies.

Dissertation

Dissertation title NSW electricity privatisation in the mainstream media
Year of defence 2008

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