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Academic Lead of Media and Communications Research Cluster, The University of Edinburgh

I am the Academic Lead of the interdisciplinary research cluster in Media and Communications at the University of Edinburgh. I study international news and mediated advocacy, particularly humanitarian and human rights campaigning.

I am currently working on two international projects. I'm PI on the first project, 'Beyond Humanitarian Emergencies', which is funded by the Centre for Data, Culture and Society. This interrogates the different meanings associated with the term 'humanitarian' in Anglophone news output around the world, over the past decade. I'm particularly interested in the extent to which these meanings conform with Calhoun's model of the sudden, apolitical 'emergency imaginary', given issues like climate change, the European refugee crisis, and the COVID19 pandemic.

I'm also Co-I on another project in which we establish the nature and extent of media influence within governmental decision-making about the allocation of humanitarian aid. This second project is being conducted with the co-operation of UN-OCHA, and builds on a global research project, funded by the AHRC and ISRF, into the practices and political economies of Humanitarian Journalism.

In the course of this work, I have studied major state-funded international broadcasters and wire agencies, as well as specialist outlets funded by private foundations. I have also published extensively on the growing involvement of NGOs in the production of international news, focusing on the coverage of Africa.

My coauthors and I won the Wolfgang Donsbach Award for the Most Outstanding Article, awarded by the International Communication Association (ICA) in 2020, and the top faculty paper in the ICA's Journalism Studies division in 2019. My monograph was nominated for the best book award in the International Communication division of the International Studies Association (ISA) in 2018.

I sit on the editorial board of Digital Journalism, and on the international advisory board for a new Palgrave series on journalism in the Global South. I have also been a Visiting Scholar at the 'NODE Centre for Research into News and Opinion in the Digital Era' at Karlstad University (Sweden), and a Media Fellow on an ESRC project about Non-Governmental Public Action at the London School of Economics. Recommendations from my research have been adopted UN agencies, NGOs and the Charity Communications Network.

Before moving to Edinburgh, I was a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Roehampton. My research interests have been shaped by my experience as an award-winning BBC journalist working on Scottish, British and international news flagships, which included reporting on a number of wars, disasters, and terrorist attacks. Prior to becoming a journalist, I worked in theatre, film and festival management. The link to my ORCID account is here:


  • –present
    Academic Lead of Media and Communications Research Cluster, University of Edinburgh


  • 2014 
    Universty of Edinburgh, Politics and IR