Martin ConboyProfessor Martin Conboy

Professor of Journalism History

Tel: (+44)(0)114 222 2505

Room 234

BA (Hons) (Durham), MA, PGCE, PhD (London), FRHistS

Martin joined the Department of Journalism Studies in March 2005. He is Professor of Journalism History. He read French and English at Durham University and received his MA and PhD from the Institute of Education, University of London. He lectured in the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Potsdam, Germany for five years before moving back to Britain to develop critical linguistic and historical approaches to journalism studies.

He has acted as external examiner and validator for journalism degrees at 10 British universities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and has acted as external examiner on over a dozen PhDs at home and abroad. He has been invited to give keynote lectures at universities around the world, from Argentina to Zurich. His research interests include historical aspects of journalism, national identity and the media, popular journalism and critical approaches to the language of journalism and he welcomes applications to join his five current PhD students in any of these areas.

Widely published with over 60 pieces in refereed journals and edited volumes, he is also the author of seven single-authored books: The Press and Popular Culture (2002), Journalism: A Critical History (2004), Tabloid Britain: Constructing a Community Through Language (2006), The Language of the News (2007), The Language of Newspapers: Socio-historical Perspectives (2010), Journalism in Britain: A Historical Introduction (2011) and Journalism Studies: The Basics (2012) He is also the co-author with Dr Adrian Bingham of Tabloid Century (2015), the editor of How Journalism Uses History (2013) and the co-editor with Dr John Steel of The Routledge Companion to British Media History (2015). He is the co-editor of a series of six books entitled Journalism Studies: Key Texts.

In September 2010 he became the principal investigator on the £38,000 AHRC-funded research project 'Exploring the language of the popular in Anglo-American newspapers 1833-1988'. From 2012 to 2015 he collaborated with Professor Marcel Broersma (Groningen) on a €40,000 project sponsored by the AHRC and the Dutch NWO which investigated changing role perceptions of journalists. With Dr Adrian Bingham of the Department of History he shares responsibility for the Centre for the Study of Journalism and History at the University of Sheffield. He has recently been awarded €7,000 by Marsh's Library, Dublin to organise a conference and publication reflecting on the 200th anniversary of the Cato Street conspiracy.

Martin is a member of eight international editorial boards including the three main journals in the field: Journalism Studies; Media History; and Journalism: Theory Practice and Criticism. In addition he is a regular contributor to broadcast debates on popular culture and tabloid journalism.


Current PhD students

  • Michelle Liu: Fandom and Popular Culture
  • Christopher Shoop-Worrall: Possibilities of Popularisation: Politics and the Mass Press in Long Edwardian Britain
  • Minyao Tang: Metaphoric representations of China in the English language financial press
  • Tianxiao Wang: Exploring the language of The Sun reporting EU referendum: A comparative study of print press and online
  • James Whitworth: Class, Politics and Editorial Identity: the history and role of pocket cartoons in the Daily Express and Daily Mirror 1939-1979



Teaching at university, of course, depends upon a direct relationship with the research undertaken by academics. Martin is keen to stress the links between his teaching and his widely published research.

He is Professor of Journalism History but his teaching and his research are more extensive than this title might imply. Unusually for a professor, he is a qualified teacher (PGCE) and worked for over ten years in comprehensive schools in south London before developing a career as an academic. He even received an award for an aspect of his performance in one particular school but modesty prevents him revealing what precisely. Suffice to say he still has the certificate and is happy to reveal further details on request.

He qualified to teach English as a foreign language and has done so both at home and in Germany and Sudan. All his teaching emerges from his published work on the news media, especially his interests in national identity, language and tabloid and celebrity culture.

In addition he is an active member of the Association of Journalism Education and has served on its committee. He currently teaches one large first-year module and a second-year option, and an optional course for MA students, all of which are popular with students in Journalism Studies and various other departments at the university.

Martin is also very involved in the teaching and supervision of postgraduate research students in Journalism Studies.

Currently Martin is module leader for JNL232 Journalism: Critical Discourse Approaches and JNL6036 Journalism in Britain. He also teaches on JNL116 Analysing News and oversees dissertation work by students on MA Global Journalism (JNL6133) and MA International Public and Political Communication (JNL6600).