Professor John Corner


For more on my publications and available downloads see John Corner: Media Research

I worked in radio communications in the Royal Navy for several years, and then briefly as a journalist, before becoming a mature student (at Ruskin College in Oxford and then at Cambridge) and pursuing research into public communication. Much of my career has been spent teaching and researching at Liverpool University, where I finally headed the School of Politics and Communication Studies.

I have had a varied publication career, including textbooks, research monographs and edited collections. My textbook collection edited with Jeremy Hawthorn, Communication Studies, ran to 4 editions over 15 years from 1980. My collections on documentary (Documentary and the Mass Media, 1986) British television history (Popular Television in Britain, 1991) and on British cultural change (Heritage and Enterprise, 1991, with Sylvia Harvey) were reprinted several times. My co-authored study of television and the issue of nuclear energy (Nuclear Reactions, 1990) was widely cited as an exploration of public issue television.Two monographs on aspects of film and television programme construction in relation to social settings and functions (Television Form and Public Address, 1994, The Art of Record, 1995) have become international reference points while a third and fourth on more general themes,, Studying the Media: Problems of Theory and Method (1998) and Critical Ideas in Television Studies (1999) have been widely cited. In 2003, my co-edited collection Media and the Restyling of Politics examined shifts in media-political relations and I worked with Alan Rosenthal on the second edition (2005) of the collection, New Challenges for Documentary. In 2007, together with colleagues Peter Goddard and Kay Richardson, I published Public Issue Television, a history of the television current-affairs series World in Action, based extensively on the Granada written and audio-visual archives. My latest books areTheorising Media: Power, Form and Subjectivity (Manchester, 2011) and (with Kay Richardson and Katy Parry) Political Culture and Media Genre (Palgrave 2012), which looks at the mediation of politics beyond the core news forms, including comedy and drama. In 2018, Soundings, an edited collection on documentary and the listening experience, was edited by me and Geoffrey Cox, of the University of Huddersfield.

In addition to books, edited books and contribution to books, I have published in a range of international journals, including Journal of Communication, Media, Culture and Society, Screen, European Journal of Communication, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Studies in Documentary Film, Popular Music and Framework. I am an editor of Media, Culture and Society and on the editorial boards of Studies in Documentary Film, and Media Theory.

I have been a visiting speaker at many events, including those in the United States, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Holland, France, Italy and Germany. I have worked as a research assessor for the ESRC, AHRB, and Leverhulme Trust, as well as for Research Councils in Australia, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Holland. I have twice been on the jury for sections of the annual Grierson Awards for outstanding work in documentary and was on the advisory committee for an Ofcom review of current-affairs television in the UK. I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2004.

Research interests

My research interests are political communication, documentary film and television, media history and media and cultural theory. My research website is given above

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


  • Diploma Literature and History, Ruskin College, Oxford
  • BA English University of Cambridge