BU’s CsJCC welcomes two new PhD students

The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community is pleased to welcome two new students, Abir Alhayali and Confidence Uwazuruwike, who have joined BU this January to conduct their PhD research.

The Centre encourages a wide-range of postgraduate research into global journalism, the coverage of world events and the role and nature of journalism on an international stage. This time the Centre has been joined by two students who will be focusing on the role of social media in the Arab uprisings, and domestic terrorism in Nigeria.


Abir photoAbir Alhayali

Thesis working title: The influence of social media in Arab uprising: Syria after 2011 as a case study

Supervisory team: Chindu Sreedharan, Jamie Matthews

Abir Alhayali will analyse social media usage during the Syrian conflict post-2011, aiming to shed light on its potential role in how the crisis developed. The study will be based on qualitative analysis of social media content, alongside semi-structured interviews with citizen journalists and government officials.

Abir is currently working at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia and has some 7 years of experience working at the Analysis and Political Criticism department at Safir Press (1997-2004). She previously completed her MA in International Relations at Middlesex University, focusing on the American Strategy in Afghanistan, whilst working for the Safir Press. Abir has also completed a pre-master’s programme in International Law at the University of London, SOAS. For the latter she conducted a study on human rights, particularly focusing on Iraqi women before and after the invasion.

According to Abir, her interests outside academia include dancing, writing and watching TV shows that give an opportunity to know more about other cultures and societies.

“I love to move forwards – visiting new places, historical places, or even just looking out for naturally pleasant sights. It makes me feel mentally and spiritually at peace and, in particular, helps to refresh the mind at stressful times.”


Confidence UwazuruikeConfidence Uwazuruwike

Thesis working title: Domestic Terrorism in Nigeria: News Reporting of the Boko Haram sect

Supervisory team: Chindu Sreedharan, Einar Thorsen

Objectives guiding the research will be to identify how Boko Haram is framed in the Nigerian media. Also, to what extent are the ‘western frames’ present in the Nigerian reporting of Boko Haram? And finally to shed a light on how the Nigerian journalists negotiate the new challenge of reporting domestic terrorism.

Before immersing himself in journalism, Confidence Uwazuruwike had his mind set on a career in science, and was studying microbiology in his home country Nigeria for his undergraduate degree. His love for the news and current affairs, however, kept drawing him towards journalism, until finally he decided to do his MA in Multimedia Journalism here at BU.

“I realised that my interest was in the media and its power to direct the public discourse from the way it presents news stories. We mostly know of ‘the other’ from the media, which sometimes are very stereotypic, sometimes one-sided and sometimes misleading representations.”

According to Confidence, the MA in Multimedia Journalism was a very industry tailored degree with a good scholarly outlook that has helped him to better understand the media on a global scale and how it operates.

“One of the highlights of the degree for me was going to India as part of Project India to report and witness first-hand the 2014 Indian election.”

After completing his MA, Confidence decided pursue a PhD here at BU, and says it was an easy decision to make after being so impressed with the faculty members he got to meet and work with over the years.

Confidence was successful in his application for one of the prestigious Vice-Chancellor Doctoral (Fee Waive) Scholarships, which is offered to outstanding candidates wishing to study with a particular supervisor or research team at Bournemouth University.