Professor James Halloran: 30 April 1927-16 May 2007

Article excerpt

This past July 25, during the special congress of the IAMCR in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, 900 members of the IAMCR (International Association of Media and Communication) celebrated the life achievements of Jim Halloran in communication research. This was a remarkable tribute to a man who grew up in a poor Irish coal mining family in North Yorkshire--and proudly maintained as much of the earthy North Yorkshire lilt as the situation would permit. He was elected president of the IAMCR in 1972 when it had only a handful of members and, during his presidency from 1972 to 1991, built it into an organization of 2000 members in 70 countries representing the traditions of communication research in all continents of the world.

Professor Halloran was one of the founding advisory board members of COMMUNICATION RESEARCH TRENDS and, in fact, could be counted as one of the founders of the Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture (CSCC). When the Jesuits decided in 1976 to establish the CSCC in Britain, many suggested that Halloran's Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester, then the foremost such centre in Britain, might offer some infrastructure for the Jesuit effort. Stefan Bamberger, S.J., the first director of the CSCC had long conversations with Professor Halloran about how to set up a research program. When I arrived to take up the role of research director in 1978, I went over with Professor Halloran the principles, guidelines, and criteria for research. He was immensely helpful in defining the major issues of communication research: justice, especially in the communication policies of the developing world, the democratization of communication, and the solution to public communication problems through political-economic reform. As a young Catholic sociologist in the 1960s he was active in the Catholic social justice movement in Britain and understood well the Jesuit commitment to social justice as one of the fundamental goals of the CSCC. Although the CSCC was finally located in London, it maintained close contact with Professor Halloran and key lecturers such as Peter Golding. …