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Journalism and Democracy Research Group

This group conducts research analysing the professional practices of journalism within the media and communications industries.

We conduct research into the swiftly changing practices of journalism at a time of uncertainty and profound technological transformations. We examine the news media’s role in relation to politics, democracy and citizenship in local, national and international settings, as well as developing cutting edge, practice-based research. Our research draws on a wide range of methods, including content analysis, ethnographic work, in-depth interviews, focus groups and discourse analysis.


Our group aims to engage with a range of research questions relating to journalism and democracy, including but not limited to:

  • What are the economic, practical, ethical and technological challenges and opportunities confronting journalists and the media industries?
  • How have the emergence of social media and the rise of user-generated content changed what it means to be a journalist?
  • How have the media performed when reporting elections and political crises?
  • What is the role of journalism in a democracy?
  • How do the media report on and reflect social diversity?
  • How do citizens engage through the news media, and how does technological change shape their ability to do so?
  • What are the main dangers facing journalists around the world?


Major funded research topics include:

  • the impartiality of BBC coverage
  • the reporting of general elections
  • digital storytelling
  • listener online engagement
  • reporting of the Welsh Assembly elections.

Funding bodies include the BBC, the ESRC, the AHRC, the European Commission and ITC and Broadcasting Standards Commission. In addition, members of the group are involved in major projects focused on issues such as the reporting of war, immigration and scientific controversies.

In addition to major funded research projects, members of the group have served as research consultants and advisers to significant public inquiries into different areas of journalists’ work, including the Phillis inquiry into public trust in media and government, the Neil inquiry concerning journalists’ professional practices following the Hutton inquiry and the Hansard Society study of the reporting of Parliament and strategies for raising the media profile of the House

Meet the team

Lead researcher

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Research that matters

Our research makes a difference to people’s lives as we work across disciplines to tackle major challenges facing society, the economy and our environment.


Postgraduate research

Our research degrees give the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth among field-leading researchers.


Our research impact

Our research case studies highlight some of the areas where we deliver positive research impact.