Ian Bucknell


I joined the Media and Communication team part-time in 2011, became a full-time Senior Teaching Fellow in 2015 and led the Journalism BA  from 2018–2022. I am now an Associate Professor of Journalism, specialising in digital journalism practice and study.

Prior to becoming a full-time academic, I worked as a producer and video journalist at the BBC. During my 20 years with the public service broadcaster, I had a variety of editorial and production roles across a range of news, sports, current affairs and documentary programmes.

In 2012, I won a Europe-wide award (CIRCOM) for Best Sports Programme for producing Yorkshire Olympic Dreams. Another highlight was filming, producing and directing a behind-the-scenes documentary titled Jessica Ennis: Golden Girl for BBC One. Other programmes I have worked on include Helicopter Heroes, Look North, Inside Out, Late Kick-Off and the Super League Show. I have also contributed to Newsnight, BBC News and Panorama.

I keep in touch with industry trends, expand my professional network and identify career opportunities for our students by continuing to work as a journalist and producer. Recent freelance assignments include filming two specialist factual series with explorer Paul Rose about the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales for BBC2 and working as the weekend producer for BBC Look North during the Covid-19 pandemic.

My experiences have enabled me to become a uniquely skilled all-rounder who can film, edit, report and produce factual television and digital journalism for national broadcast and publication. My role at the university allows me to pass on my skills and knowledge, to prepare students for the varied challenges of working in the modern media.


  • Co-convenor Journalism Research Group
  • Access to Leeds tutor for Journalism

Research interests

My main areas of research are digital journalism and journalism education.

With the support of a bursary from the Association for Journalism Education (AJE), I conducted research into how digital journalism practices should be taught in universities. The work was inspired by calls from both employers and academics for tutors to keep pace with digital developments or risk losing touch with the media industry. My project identified the challenges and found solutions, taking a step towards a typology of digital journalism skills.

The study drew on a series of in-depth interviews with digital editors who represent a broad range of UK news organisations including ITN, the Financial Times, vice.com (UK), Sky News, Bauer Media and BBC Yorkshire. The research was published in Journalism Education in 2020 and I delivered a paper based on this work at the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) conference in September 2021. A further output from this project is that I have been commissioned by Peter Lang to write a text book on digital journalism practices and principles, aimed at the higher education market. It is due for delivery in late spring 2024.

Concurrently, I am investigating the impact that remote interviewing, using video conferencing and calling applications such as Zoom and FaceTime, has had on whose voices are heard in TV news. This approach to gathering testimonies quickly became common place during the Coronavirus pandemic, but has it had a democratising effect or made journalists lean more heavily than before on elite sources? A comparative content analysis of four ITV and BBC news bulletins before and during the pandemic, shows that the growth in remote interviewing significantly increased the number and proportion of TV interviews with non-elite contributors. I gave a paper on my research at the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association conference in Aberdeen in September 2022 and plan to publish a journal article when the study is complete. 

As co-convenor of the school’s Journalism Research Group (JRG), I work with colleagues to produce a schedule of events that ensures we stay across the latest developments in our field. They include inviting prominent guest speakers to talk about their work, presenting research within the group for peer feedback and finding opportunities to collaborate on projects. One example of the latter is that I was one of four members of the JRG who collaborated in the submission of evidence to The House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee, that is looking into the future of journalism and how journalists can be supported to adapt to a changing media landscape.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • MSc Information Science
  • BA English Language and Literatures

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Association for Journalism Education

Student education

My primary role is to teach students the skills and understanding they need to create factual television and digital journalism, whilst thinking critically about the challenges and opportunities these approaches generate. I lead practical sessions in journalism fundamentals, TV news production, documentary making, mobile journalism and digital storytelling.

I recently designed and developed our new Digital Journalism module where second years learn how to produce journalism for social media, create interactive webpages, make videos for mobile devices and innovate by matching affordances of digital media with proven reporting practices.

I have also created and now teach Camera and Editing for Journalists, a module that provides first years with the technical skills they need to complete future practical assignments in video production. I draw upon my experiences in the industry to teach documentary production skills such as creating a shooting script, fly-on-the-wall camera work and advanced post-production techniques.

Research groups and institutes

  • Journalism