The final session at this very enjoyable ‘Doing Global Media Studies’ ECREA 2010 pre-conference starts with Felix Ortega, whose focus is on the Iberian and Latin American mediasphere (which increasingly also includes the US, of course).
His research group began by running a questionnaire directed at media experts across a range of Spanish-speaking countries, to identify which research tools and instruments they were currently using. Advanced statistical methods, ranked highly here, along with bibliographical analysis and data work. For non-Spanish speaking researchers, this would look different – there is very little engagement with the wealth of Spanish-language-only research by Anglo-Saxon and other researchers doing satellite projects in Spanish-speaking countries.
There are other problems with lack of crossover: Spanish-speaking researchers believed that their methodological advancement lags behind the English mainstream, and that more investment in media studies research programmes is necessary; university support does not yet address key research needs. There is a belief amongst some that universities still need to learn more from their Anglo counterparts.
(Felix is now switching to something of a marketing spiel for his institution, the University of Salamanca.)
What’s needed, overall, is more interdisciplinary and transnational work; part of this will also require some substantial investment in translation (in all directions), in order to make sure that both sides of the language divide are better aware of what research has already been done. Additionally, there needs to be more comprehensive contextualisation – taking into account more of the cultural, political, historical background which shapes current national mediaspheres.