Professor Jackie HarrisonProfessor Jackie Harrison

Head of department
Professor of Public Communication
UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity

Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 2509
Twitter: @JackieHarrison6

Room 229

BA (Hallam), PhD (Sheffield)

Jackie joined the Department of Journalism Studies as a lecturer in September 1996 and was appointed Professor of Public Communication in January 2005. She served a period as Head of Department from September 2007 and has chaired the Centre for Freedom of the Media since September 2008. She read public administration for her first degree and her PhD was an analysis of the culture of production of terrestrial television news in Britain.

Jackie has served as an expert advisor for the European Commission and for several global media companies on media regulation matters, the role and future of news and news journalism, the development of media infrastructure and the use of media capital and newsroom convergence. She has acted as an expert adviser on EU broadcasting regulation to the Taiwanese National Communication Committee and the Taiwanese Industry Experts Cable TV Forum. She was an expert witness on a judicial review of Irish radio licences and has served on several professional journalism committees. She serves on the editorial board of the community newspaper The Maltby News. Jackie is also a member of the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC's) Peer Review College.

Research interests

Jackie's area of expertise is the civil role and power of the news. Her research examines three particular aspects of this: the architecture and culture of the news; the mediation of civil society and social identity by the news; and issues of news freedom and standards. She has written extensively in these areas.

Other research projects include:

  • monitoring media violations and freedom for the Media Subcommittee, Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE)
  • Media Freedom in Europe, for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Public Service Broadcasting in the EU for the Soros Foundation
  • the use of user-generated content at the BBC, for the British Academy
  • six funded research projects for the UK television industry.

More about Jackie's research interests


Current PhD students

  • Sara Torsner: The design and structure of Journalism Safety Trends (JSTs) data sets as indicators of the threats to the practice of free journalism in hostile environments
  • Jean-Claude Kayumba: UN Peacekeeping missions: the contested role of UN Media in post-conflict reconstruction contexts. A case study of Democratic Republic of Congo

Future candidates are particularly welcome in Jackie's principal research areas.



Jackie teaches mainly about the nature of news and its importance in contemporary societies. This is based on her research interests which focus on competing views about news media freedom and standards worldwide. Specifically, she encourages students to think critically about the role of news in society, the diverse way news gathering is undertaken, combined with considerations of how it should be undertaken and the problems facing news organisations because of new forms of governmental, technological and commercial pressures in the 21st century.

Emphasising the importance of thinking about these things from an interdisciplinary perspective, Jackie enthuses students about the diverse, changing and challenging subject matter under discussion to help them to develop and refine an intellectual skill set of the kind required by modern news journalism. Her teaching seeks both to help a transition into the job market by providing students with a competitive edge when seeking employment and also to open up the possibilities of further academic study.

Jackie teaches using lectures, participatory seminars and workshop-based sessions focusing on specific issues and sometimes via external speakers. Currently her teaching is on the module JNL6029 Communicating with the Media.