Dr Julie Firmstone

Dr Julie Firmstone


My research addresses a range of issues in the fields of the sociology of news and political communication. I analyse news, journalism and political communication with a focus on local democracy, the communication of European politics, and newspapers' editorial opinions. My most recent projects and publications are focussed on three areas:

  1. Changes in the local news media and the role of local journalism in engaging citizens in local democracy.
  2. How the communication of the politics of the EU is shaped by journalistic practices, the performances of politicians, and representations of the public in television news
  3. Defining the genre of editorial journalism and analysing the editorial opinions of the British press towards the EU.

I am Co-Investigator on an AHRC funded project Defining Freedom of the Press: A Cross-national examination of press ethics and regulation in ten European countries which began in June 2018. I was a Visiting Resarch Fellow for Autumn 2018 at NODE (The Ander Centre for Research on News and Opinion in the Digital Era), Department of Geography, Media and Communication, Karlstad University, Sweden.

I have researched and written about political and editorial journalism, the European public sphere, civil society and the EU's democratic deficit, and representations of minorities in the news. I explored these themes in several funded research projects and in my PhD (2007) which examined the editorial opinions of British newspapers on the issue of European Integration. I began my career by contributing to a variety of research projects exploring the audience's uses of new communications technologies (when the internet was just emerging!) and wrote about  audience attitudes towards violence on television in the book 'Discerning Eyes: Viewers on Violence'.

As convener of the School's Journalism research group, I welcome enquiries about the group's activities and about becoming a member.



  • Deputy Head of School
<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>


  • PhD The Editorial Opinions of the British Press on European Intergration
  • BA Communications and Management

Student education

My office hours are Fridays 9.30-10.30am and 2-3pm during term time. Students can book a video call appointment using this link: https://calendly.com/juliefirmstone/office-hours

Research groups and institutes

  • Journalism
  • Political Communication

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>