Dr Julian Matthews

journalism research; media academic; media sociologist;


Julian Matthews photo

BSc Social Science (Hons), BCHE, 1996

MA in Mass Communication, University of Leicester, 1997

PhD Social Science, Brunel University, 2003

Lecturer, Department of Media and Communications
Telephone:+44 (0)116 2522582
Email: jpm29@leicester.ac.uk


Personal details

I am a long-standing member of the Department of Media and Communication (now School of Media, Communication and Sociology) at Leicester. Before joining (in 2008), I had taught in higher education for ten years, running undergraduate core modules on media theory, research methods and a vast range of option modules including topics on journalism, risk and conflicts.  At postgraduate level, I had coordinated courses on Media and Terrorism and tutored on CMCR’s Distance Learning Programme at Leicester.

In that time, I also became a founding editor of the international journal, Sociology Compass and an original member, (now convenor), of the British Sociological Association Media Study Group.


I coordinate the following modules:

  • MS7090 Theoretical Concepts in Journalism Studies
  • MS7095 Comparative Journalism Studies
  • MS7079 Journalism and Culture
  • MS7099 Extended Report
  • MS3024 Reporting Panics Risks and Fears: Journalism in an Age of Anxiety
  • MS3025 Online Journalism Theory and Practice
  • MS2010 Journalism Studies
  • MS7002 Mass Communication Theory



Click to see:  Attached list.

Publications on ResearchGate

Publications on Academia


My research interests focus on the sociology of journalism and the professional production of news media.  I am one of few scholars who has conducted ethnographic research into the production of news.  My past research has focused on (differentiated) news forms, tracing how their unique textual properties are ‘visualised’ - sometimes contested and changed  - and then physically ‘shaped’ into news representations by news teams. This has revealed the interplay between the news form, imagined audiences and institutional discourses and constraints and their importance in determining the general possibilities and limitations placed on the presentation of various representations and news access opportunities. To date, I have studied BBC Newsround, Channel 4 News and more recently the UK and US television news ecologies. Additionally, my recent writing (with Smith Maguire) has discussed media professionals acting as ‘cultural intermediaries’ in and between media industries.

I am also interested in the news reporting of conflicts and risks; having conducted research into the news coverage of environmental problems, I retain an interest in the construction of environmental news agendas, access opportunities and representations in the news over time.  Yet, also of interest is the news manufacture of 'social problems' and the news reporting of issues such as immigration, terrorism and war etc.

Professional activities

As a media sociologist, I am also involved in two external roles.  First, I am the Communication and Media Section Editor for the Blackwell-Wiley International Journal, Sociology Compass

Second, I am the Convenor of the British Sociological Association Media Study Group

Internally,  I am the Director of the News and Journalism Research Group

In addition to these activities, I serve on the editorial board of Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, am a member of various professional associations including ICA, MECCSA, IAMCR, ECREA and the PSA Media and Politics Group and regularly give papers at conferences.

I have been an External Examiner for the BA (Hons) Journalism Programme at the University of Worcester, the BA (Hons) Multi Media Journalism Course at Bournemouth University and am now overseeing the media programmes at Brighton University.


I continue to supervise various PhD students (and projects), some of which are listed below:

  • Dr.Maya Al Habsi - A production study of Al Jazeera Arabic
  • Dr.Haida Baba Zain- TV news and building national identity in Malaysia.
  • Dr.Lawrencia Agyepong - Celebrity political endorsement in Ghanaian reporting
  • Dr.Kelechi Onyermaobi - Press reporting of Nigeria's general elections
  • Andreas Anastasiou - Journalistic professionalism in practice across Europe
  • Michael Wilson – State – media relations as shaping the reporting of Immigration Issues
  • Elina Fokiceva - The Social Appropriation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
  • Genevieve Bosah - New(s) media in Africa: Digital technologies, journalistic practices and news production in Nigeria
  • Habeeb Pindiga - The propaganda model and the Nigerian press

I am interested to hear from prospective research students who wish to undertake research related to the following interests:

  • Journalists, professionalism and the production of news media
  • News reporting of conflicts or risks (energy, climate change, terrorism, immigration, protest etc)
  • Young people and news

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Contact Details

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Campus based courses
E: mcs-enquiries@le.ac.uk
T: +44(0)116 252 3863

Distance Learning Courses
E: css-dl@le.ac.uk
T: 0116 252 3755

Research degrees (campus-based and distance learning courses)
T: +44(0)116 252 2785
E: MCS-Research@le.ac.uk

University of Leicester
Bankfield House
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United Kingdom

University of Leicester
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United Kingdom


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