I am an academic writer, journal editor and university teacher of the sociology of media with over 21 years of experience in UK higher education. My research expertise focuses on the sociology of journalism, news production and the reporting of social issues.
My writing contributes to our understanding of the changing production practices of journalism (in the UK and beyond), alongside our grasp of how the media responds to large scale issues and events (i.e., climate change, energy transitions, immigration, terrorism, war …)
I was a founding editor of the international journal, Sociology Compass and have acted as a mentor on the IAMCR’s Emerging Scholars Programme, a Stream Convenor for the annual British Sociological Association (BSA) conferences, and have taken up visiting professor positions at the University Grenoble (France) and Rhodes University (South Africa).
I remain a Convenor of the BSA Media Study Group, a member of the Peer Review College for the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Programme, and, act presently as a member of the Steering Group, and as the European regional coordinator for the Global Journalism Risk Project.
My sociological writing contributes to our understanding of the practices and production of journalism. It examines, at a general level, the production context of individual news programmes (i.e., news forms) in addition to exploring those news outlets found across different news ecologies (i.e., ‘communicative framing’ in the UK & US). Looking more specifically at journalists’ news making practices, it comments on the structures that shape the reporting of crises (i.e., ‘reporting templates’ and ‘disruptive factors’) and those that mediate the politicisation of large-scale issues for the public (i.e., ‘journalistic logics’). This analysis of production has been complemented more recently with the study of the growing precarious context of news work (i.e., ‘precarious professionalism’) and the frameworks that audiences use to decode journalism (i.e., ‘ethno-national imaginaries’)
A variety of issues are addressed here. For example, these studies examine the relationship between journalists and the events and issues with war ( ‘the human cost’ reporting role), terrorism (ritualised coverage), and asylum and immigration (anti- asylum news campaigns). A longstanding research interest, nonetheless, has been focused on journalisms’ relationship with environmental issues. This interest has been developed ,most recently, in the studies of the events and issues of both climate change and energy transitions
In practice, the above work explores journalism and media production using ethnographic and interview-based approaches and employs content analysis and a range of other textual methods to capture the contours of the news reporting of issues over time.
Monographs and Edited Collections
2019. From Aftermath to Anniversary: Exploring the Performance of Journalism as it Recounts the 7/7 London bombings. Special Issue. Journalism Theory, Practice and Criticism 20(10): 1285-1387
2014. (with Smith Maguire, J.). The Cultural Intermediary Reader. London: Sage
2013. (with Dickinson, R and Saltzis, K). New(s) Media Technologies and New(s) Work: Changing Journalistic Practices Across Europe. Special Issue International Communication Gazette 75(1)
2012. (with Smith Maguire, J). Cultural Intermediaries in Context: Locating Identity and Practice in the Formation of Value. Special Issue European Journal of Cultural Studies 15(5)
2010. Producing Serious News for Citizen Children: A Study of the BBC’s Children’s Programme Newsround. New York: Edwin Mellen Press
Journal Articles (peer reviewed)
2022. Performing the Disaster Genre? TV Journalism, Disruptive Factors and Community Challenges in the Reporting of the UK Grenfell Tower Block Fire. Journalism Theory, Practice and Criticism. (Published Online 4 May 2022, doi: 10.1177/14648849221097735)
2022. (Baba Zain, H.). Creating One Nation? Ethno-National Imaginaries, Audiences and the Critical Reception of TV Nation Branding Messages. Nations and Nationalism. (First published: 20 March 2022. doi.10.1111/nana.12829).
2020. Accommodating Interests? Elite Journalism, Green Interest Groups and the U.K. Reporting of Climate Change. Newspaper Research Journal. 41(4): 469-488 (doi.org/10.1177/0739532920968647)
2020. (with Onyemaobi. K.). Precarious Professionalism: Journalism and the Fragility of Professional Practice in the Global South. Journalism Studies. 20(13): 1836-1851 (doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2020.1797524).
2019. Journalism and 7/7: Resurveying the Terrain. Journalism Theory, Practice and Criticism. 20(10): 1285-1287 (doi.org/10.1177/1464884919845753).
2019. (with Cameron, S). Press Performance Amid Threats of Terror: Exploring Reporting Thresholds and Criticism in Elite Coverage of an Identity Cards Bill. Journalism Theory Practice and Criticism. 20(10): 1288-1306 (doi.10.1177/1464884918816243).
2018. Placing Industry in the Frame: Exploring the Mediated Performance of Industry Voices in Climate Change Reporting. Frontiers in Communication. 3(48): 1-14. (doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2018.00048).
2018. (with Hansen, A). Fracturing debate? A Review of Research on Media Coverage of ‘Fracking’. Frontiers in Communication. 3(41): 1-11 (doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2018.00041)
2018. (with Al Habsi, M) Addressing a Region? The Arab Imagined Audience and Newsworthiness in the Production of Al Jazeera Arabic. The International Communication Gazette. 80(8): 746-763 (doi: 10.1177/1748048518755210)
2017. Maintaining a Politicized Climate of Opinion? Examining how Political Framing and Journalistic Logic Combine to Shape Speaking Opportunities in UK Quality Newspaper Reporting of Climate Change (2000-2010) Public Understanding of Science 26(4): 467-480
2016. What Comes from Confronting a Growing ‘Certainty’? Exploring how UK Journalism Reports the Politics of Climate Change. Sociology and Anthropology. 4(8). 1-15.
2016. Media Performance in the Aftermath of Terror: Reporting Templates, Political Ritual and the UK Press Coverage of the London Bombings, 2005. Journalism Theory, Practice and Criticism 17(2):173-189
2013. (with Cottle, S) U.S TV News and Communicative Architecture: Between Manufacturing Consent and Mediated Democracy. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media. 57(4):562-578
2013. (with Dickinson, R., Gunter, B., & Cole, J). The Impact of Amended Controls on the Advertising of Infant Formula. Findings From a Before and After Study. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education. 15(1): 11-22
2013. (with Dickinson, R., & Saltzis, K). Studying Journalists in Changing Times: Understanding News Work as Socially-Situated Practice International Communication Gazette. 75(1):3-18
2012. (with Gunter, B., Dickinson, R. & Cole, J). Formula Manufacturers Websites: Are They Really Non-Compliant Advertisements? Health Education. 113(1): 18 - 27.
2012. (with Smith Maguire, J). Are we all Cultural Intermediaries Now? European Journal of Cultural Studies 15(5): 1-12
2012. (with Brown, A). Negatively Shaping the Asylum Agenda? The Representational Strategy and Impact of a Tabloid News Campaign. Journalism Criticism, Theory and Practice 13(6): 802-817.
2012. (with Cottle, S). Television News Ecology in the United Kingdom: A Study of Communicative Architecture, its Production and Meanings. Television and New Media 13(2): 103-223.
2010. (with Smith Maguire, J). Cultural Intermediaries and the Media Sociology Compass 4(7):405-416
2009. Maintaining a Green News Agenda? BBC Newsround, and the Professional Reporting of Environmental Issues for the Young’ Antennae: The Journal of Visual Culture Issue 10, Summer 2009, 40-47
2009. “Making it our own” BBC Newsround Professionals and their Efforts to Build a News Agenda for the Young. Television and New Media 10(6): 546-563
2009. Negotiating News Childhoods: News Producers, Visualized Audiences and the Production of the Children's News Agenda. Journal of Children and Media, 3(1): 3-17
2008. “It's all a Question of Form”: Exploring how Professional Ideas and Practices Shape the Language and Visuals of the Children's News Programme. Communication Studies, 3(1): 29-50
2008. A Missing Link? The Imagined Audience, News Practices and the Production of Children's News. Journalism Practice, 2(2): 265-280
2007. Creating a New(s) View of the Environment: How Children's News Offers New Insights into News Forms, Imagined Audiences and the Production of Environmental Issues. Journalism Criticism, Theory and Practice, 8(4):428-448
2006. Producing a Greener News Agenda? BBC Newsround and the Professional Reporting of Environmental Matters', TelevIZIon. 19(2).44-36
2005. 'Out of the Mouths of Babes and Experts': Children's News and the Professional Mediation of Environmental News Voices'. Journalism Studies, 6(4): 509-519
2021 (with Smith, D. ). Johnson And Journalism: Anonymous Sources in Senior Journalists’ Social Media Feeds. In Mair, J., Clark, T., Fowler, N., Snoddy, R. and Tait, R. (eds). Populism The Pandemic and The Media: Journalism in the age of Brexit, Covid, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson. Abramis
2018. (with Fisher, A.). Reporting the Human Cost of War. In S.J Grattan., Barredo, D. and Turner, B. (eds). Reporting from the Wars 1850-2015: The Origins and Evolution of the War Correspondent. Vernon Press
2017. Sociology of the Mass Media. In K. Odell Korgen (ed.) The Cambridge Handbook of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
2016. Media Events in the Aftermath of Terror: Exploring How Reporting Templates Produce Social Drama. In B. Mitu and S. Poulakidakos (eds.) Media Events: A Critical Contemporary Approach. London: Peter Lang
2015. Children and News. In. W. Donsbach (ed.) International Encyclopaedia of Communication. London: Blackwell- Wiley
2014. Journalism. In J. Smith Maguire and J. Matthews. The Cultural Intermediary Reader. London: Sage
2014. (with Smith Maguire, J). Thinking with Cultural Intermediaries. In J. Smith Maguire and J. Matthews. The Cultural Intermediary Reader. London: Sage
2013. (with Elareshi, M.). The Changing News Landscape of Libya. In Gunter, B. and Dickinson, R. News Media in the Arab World. I B Taurius
2010. “And Finally … News for Children”: An Insight into the Institutional Development of the BBC children’s news Programme, John Craven’s Newsround. In Harper, S. and Forster, L. (eds.) Culture and Society in the 1970s Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
2003. Cultures of Production: The Making of Children's News. In Cottle, S. (ed). Media Organizations and Production London: Sage
Funded Research Reports
2009. (with Gunter, B. &. Dickinson, R). The Nature of Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula Advertising and Presentation Food Standards Agency
2005. (with Buckingham, A.) Using Datasets for Teaching Survey Methods Centre for Sociology, Anthology and Politics, The Higher Education Academy
Non-Funded Research Reports
2013. (with Smith Maguire, J., Bain, J,. Chen, Y., Cole, J., Gong, S., Taylor, I., Touri, M., Whiteman, N.). What Does Local Food Mean to You? Submitted to Leicester County Council. Available at the University of Leicester Research Archive (https://lra.le.ac.uk/handle/2381/28448)
Book reviews and other writing:
2018. Review of ‘The Media Commons: Globalization and Environmental Discourse’ By Patrick. D. Murphy. European Journal of Communication. 33(6) (doi: 10.1177/0267323118814652)
2016. Review of ‘Media and Society: Producers, Content and Participation’ by E. Carah and E. Louw. BSA Network Magazine. Issue 2, Spring, pp30.
2014. ‘Shaping Immigration News: a French –American Comparison by Benson, R. LSE Review of Books (Online at - http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2014 /09/18/book-review-shaping-immigration-news-a-french-american-comparison-by-rodney-benson/)
2014. ‘Widening the Lens: Developments in Journalism and Environmental Issues’ - event write up. Available at: http://www.britsoc.co.uk/study-groups/media.aspx)
2013. ‘Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives’ by Freeman, D. & Thussu, D.K (eds.)’ Internet Journal of Criminology. ISSN 2045-6743 (Online)
2013. ‘Communicating Risks: Towards the Threat’ Society? by Nohrstedt, S.A (ed.)’ Discourse and Communication. 7: 457-459
2012. ‘Caught in the Frame’. Three-D, The newsletter of MeCCSA, the Media Communications & Cultural Studies association. Issue 19. (IssN 2041-627X)
2012. ‘News Media Framed in debate on Conflict’. Network- The magazine of British Sociological Association. Issue 112. Winter. 12
2012. ‘Caught in the Frame: Frame analysis as Contemporary Media Scholarship – write up’ (Available at: http://www.britsoc.co.uk/study-groups/media.aspx)
2011. ’ Thinking with Food: An Ideas Exchange’ Three-D, The newsletter of MeCCSA, the Media Communications & Cultural Studies association Issue 17. November, 9
2011. ‘New Communications and Demonstrations – event write up’ (Available at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/media/news-and-journalism-documents/NewCommunciationsDemonstrationsReport.pdf)
2005. Journalism in the UK. Unpublished discussion paper for “Television Journalism and Deliberative Democracy: A Comparative International Study of Communicative Architecture and Democratic Deepening” (DP0449505)
1997. ‘Audience Analysis by D.McQuail’. Sociology 33(3):645
I am interested to hear from prospective research students who wish to undertake research related to the following interests:
(1) Journalists, professionalism and the production of online or legacy news media
(2) News reporting of significant issues and events (energy, climate change, terrorism, immigration, war etc.,)
(3) News sources and the politicization of issues
I coordinate the following modules:
MS3024 Reporting Panics
MS3025 Online Journalism Theory and Practice
...and contribute to the following:
MS2010 Journalism Studies
As a media sociologist, I am involved in several external roles.
-I am a steering group member and European regional coordinator for the Global Journalism Risk Project
-I am the Convenor of the British Sociological Association Media Study Group, and have acted as a Stream Coordinator (for ‘Culture Media Sport and Food’) for the British Sociological Association Annual Conference (2019 -2021)
-I am a member of the Peer Review College for the UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships (UKRI FLF) Programme
-I have acted as an academic mentor in the IAMCR's Emerging Scholars Mentorship Programme
-I have acted as Director of Research Enterprise and Director of the News and Journalism Research Group (at the University).
-I serve on the editorial boards of Environmental Communication and Frontiers in Communication, in addition to which I hold memberships of various professional associations - including ICA, MECCSA, IAMCR, ECREA and the PSA Media and Politics Group - and regularity present my research work at international conferences.
Recent conference presentations include:
Matthews, J., Maniou T. Markovik M. Milioni D. Spyridou L. T and Vatikiotis P. (2021). Reporting the Pandemic: Exploring the Understandings and Practices of Journalists in Western Europe. Global Communication and Social Change Division Panel - Cross-cultural Approaches to Identifying Current Pressures on Digital Journalists Covering COVID-19: A Project of the Global Risk Journalism Hub. International Communication Association. Engaging the Essential Work of Care: Communication Connectedness and Social Justice. Denver Colorado May 2021.
Matthews, J. (2021). Contested Events? Community Voices Media Templates and the Reporting of the Grenfell Tower Block Tragedy. BSA Annual Conference 'Remaking the Future'. Virtual Conference. April 2021
Smith D & Matthews, J. (2021). Reactions in Writing: Analysing the Twitter Outputs of TV News Political Editors for Evidence of Special Advisers' Influence. PSA International Conference. Queens University. Belfast March 2021
Matthews, J. (2019). Accommodating pressure? Green interest groups and the UK domestication of climate change reporting. 69th Annual ICA Conference - 'Communication Beyond Boundaries'. Washington DC May 2019
Recent media contributions include:
2021. (10/8/2021). 'Les Tabloïds Britanniques : Sea Sex and Rain'. Cavier Magazine. Interviewed on UK tabloids and scandal.
BSc Social Science (Hons) BCHE 1996
MA in Mass Communication, Centre of Mass Communication Research, University of Leicester 1997
PhD Social Science Brunel University 2003
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 2018