Dr Chris Paterson

Dr Chris Paterson


I teach and research in the areas of international journalism and international communications. My research concerns the production and flow of international news; the safety of journalists; media and journalism in Africa; and communication for development. I have written extensively on news agencies and on news production research methodology.

My career has been divided between the UK and the US, where I have also worked in television production and broadcast journalism. I have taught at the Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester and in San Francisco, Atlanta, Northern Ireland, and Finland. I received my PhD in International Communication from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996.

I am the incoming Vice-Chair of the Global Communication and Social Change division of the International Communication Association.

For the International Association of Media and Communications Research I founded the Working Group for Media Production Analysis and have been an elected member of the International Council; in 2016 I chaired the IAMCR Environmental Impact Committee. I am on the board of the Leeds University Centre for Global Development and Centre for African Studies and a member of the Leeds Migration Research Network (LMRN). 

I lead the MA International Communication of the School of Media and Communication (having previously led the MA International Journalism). Postgraduate modules taught at Leeds University include Journalism Theory and Research, Communication and International Affairs, Communication and Development, and Journalism: Radical Approaches. Undergraduate modules have included International Communication, Broadcast Journalism Ethics, and Journalism, Politics, and Society.

I am the coordinator of the Global Communications research group, previously Founding Coordinator, Journalism Research Group, and coordinator of the occasional Africa / Media Group.


  • Director of Student Education (acting; from 28/01/19)
  • Programme Leader, MA International Communication

Research interests

My current research focusses on the processes of mediation which enable continuing forms of imperialism in Africa (see here and here), and on the ways communication research can be used to mitigate the effects of global crises such as climate change in developing regions of the world.  With co-editors, I produced Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century - the first book in over twenty years to examine the international media’s coverage of sub-Saharan Africa. It brought together leading researchers and prominent journalists to explore representation of the continent, and the production of that image, especially by international news media. I am the principal investigator for the Global Challenges Research Fund project "Development Assistance and independent journalism in Africa and Latin America: A cross-national and multidisciplinary research network", which examines the impact that foreign aid/development assistance has affected the ability of developing regions to foster a critical and independent media sector. The project is funded by the AHRC and DfID. I am co-investigator for the British Academy Funded research project 'Contested Discourse of Africa Rising'. From January 2019, I am principal investigator on the Global Challenges Research Fund funded project "Information in Climate Change Adaptation in rural Kenya: a pilot field study".

My book War Reporters Under Threat: the United States and Media Freedom (2014, Pluto Press) examined the nature of violence facing the media from the United States and its allies. I have continuing research interests in processes of imperialism and state surveillance, and in 2015 I created and hosted a plenary event for the IAMCR annual conference in Montreal which examined Surveillance and Resistance. I have written the only major study of television news agencies and originated and co-edited two volumes of Making Online News: The Ethnography of New Media Production (New York: Peter Lang, 2008). I co-edited International News in the Twenty-First Century (John Libbey/Luton University Press, 2004) - one of the first academic publications to examine and spur interest in peace journalism and emotionally literate journalism. I have edited a special edition of African Journalism Studies concerning Journalism and Social Media in Africa; this special issue was produced as a book in 2015. In 2013 I hosted an international conference leading to the 2016 publication of Advancing Media Production Research, which I co-edited. Other research includes an investigation of the safety of, and legal protections for, journalists covering war, examination of the role of news agencies in online media, and studies of the historical evolution of the wholesale television news industry, and the investigation of emerging forms of international news flow. Further interests include the state of journalism in the UK, international television journalism, the political economy of mass media, media sociology, and communications in developing countries. I have organised or co-organised international conferences entitled Advancing Media Production Research (Leeds, 2013), Broadcast News and the Active Citizen (Leeds, 2008) and Living Cultures - Contemporary Ethnographies of Culture (Leeds, 2009); and International News in the Twenty-First Century (Leicester, 2000); and for the AHRC/DfID research network project, international symposia in the UK, Colombia, and Ghana.  

<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 International Communication
  • MSc Broadcasting
  • BA Communications / Sociology

Professional memberships

  • International Association of Media and Communications Research
  • International Communications Association
  • European Communication Research and Education Association

Student education

I am acting Director of Student Education for the whole of Media and Communication in semester two of 2018-2019. 

I lead the MA International Communication of the School of Media and Communication (having previously led the MA International Journalism).


Research groups and institutes

  • Global 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>