My first academic appointment was at the Open University in 1979 where I was employed as a Research Assistant in the Institute of Educational Technology. I joined the Centre for Mass Communication Research (now part of MCS) in 1982 as a Research Assistant. I was promoted to a Personal Chair in 2018 when I became Professor of Sociology. I have taught on and led modules and programmes in media and communication at undergraduate and postgraduate level since 1983. I have been an external examiner for undergraduate programmes in journalism studies for the Universities of Leeds and the West of England at Bristol and have examined PhDs at the Universities of Cardiff Sheffield and Loughborough.
I have published widely in the fields of the sociology of the media journalism studies and health communication and presented papers on these topics at numerous national and international conferences. I was Visiting Professor at the Department of Political Science (‘Science PO’) University of Grenoble in April 2015 and March 2019. I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
My most recent research has been on
Sociology of news and journalists
Journalists and the mechanisms of workplace regulation
Journalism as an occupational accomplishment
Use of social media by journalists
My earlier research was on the media and health. I have completed many projects using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to study processes of production analyse media content and explore the reception and interpretation of media messages about health illness and related issues. This work has been funded by numerous organisations including:
UK Government Department of Health
Food Standards Agency
Health Education Council
Health Education Authority
Health and Safety Executive
UK Regional and District Health Authorities
Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food
I have supervised more than 20 PhD students to completion on a wide range of topics including journalism and news production audiences educational technology alternative media place marketing war reporting and media history. From 1 October 2022 as Emeritus Professor I am no longer in a position to take on new students for supervision.
Distance learning; news and journalism; the study of audiences; media research methods.