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  1. Professor Suzanne Franks

portrait of Professor Suzanne Franks

Professor Suzanne Franks

Professor of Journalism

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Journalism

Contact Information


Visit Suzanne

AG18A, College Building


Postal Address

City University London
Northampton Square



Professor Suzanne Franks read PPE at Oxford and went on to spend a year as a Kennedy Scholar in the Government Department at Harvard University. She then worked briefly in Washington DC for a public interest group before taking up a television traineeship at the BBC. She joined the Television Current Affairs department, producing programmes such as Newsnight, Watchdog, The Money Programme and Panorama. As a Senior Producer she edited election programmes, budget coverage and live special programmes such as the party conferences. She was also awarded a Nuffield Fellowship to study the development of satellite television in India.

In the 1990s she left the BBC to start an independent production company, Sevenday Productions, which amongst other things was awarded the first outside contract for the televising of Parliament. She was based in Westminster, responsible for all the coverage from the Lords, Commons and committees until 2001. The company also developed a web business specialising in political coverage and was awarded the first webcasting contract from Downing Street. The business was sold in 2004 and Suzanne moved to the University of Westminster to join the BBC history project working on volume 6 (1974-87). As part of the project she completed a PhD in 2007 on foreign reporting, 'Famine, Politics Aid and the Media.'

In 2008 she took up an appointment at the University of Kent - she was Director of Research in the newly established Centre for Journalism and also a Senior Lecturer in Political Communication in the School of Politics and International Relations. She taught undergraduate and graduate modules in both departments and established a new module in Humanitarian Communication.

Professor Franks was appointed to a chair in Journalism at City University London in 2012 and she heads the undergraduate programme. She also supervises PhD students and contributes to the research output in Journalism. From August 2016 she will become the Head of the Journalism Department

Suzanne Franks' page.


Phd University of Westminster 2007
MA Hons First Class in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, University of Oxford

Media appearances

- Regular live broadcasting experience, including appearances on: Channel 4 News, The Politics Show, CBC Radio, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour, Start the Week, Broadcasting House, Thinking Allowed, The Media Show, PM, Today
- Participated in BBC World Service features programmes, Radio 5 discussions and regular local radio appearances.

Press articles
- Written articles and reviews in a range of publications, including: TES, THE, The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Independent, Prospect, The Scotsman, Broadcast, New Statesman, The Observer, Daily Mail, Jewish Quarterly

- Also a regular blogger including for NiemanLab, The New Statesman, BBC Academy, The Conversation.

Suzanne Franks' BBC Academy Blog

The Conversation


Research interests

- Media and development
- The coverage of humanitarian disasters
- The relationship between media and aid
- Political communication
- The history of the BBC
- Women and the media

Research Students

Sunthai Constantini
Thesis title
The Political Communication of Hugo Chavez
Aganieszka Broda
Thesis title
BBC Polish Service during the Second World War
Lisette Johnson
Thesis title
UGC and BBC Reporting of Syrian Conflict


  • Franks, S. (2013). Women and Journalism. I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.
  • Franks, S. (Aug 2013). Reporting Disasters - Famine Aid Politics and the Media. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. ISBN: 1849042888.
  • Journal Article (24)

    1. Franks, S. and ONeill, D. (01 May 2016). Women reporting sport: Still a mans game?. Journalism, 17(4), 474-492. doi: 10.1177/1464884914561573
    2. Franks, S. (29 Feb 2016). Gender Imbalance on Sports Desks at UK Newspapers. Media Report to Women, 44(1), 12-24.
    3. Franks, S. (30 Sep 2014). Famines are not a simple story. British Journalism Review, 25(3), 61-67.
    4. Franks, S. (09 Dec 2013). Inserting Political Understanding into the Humanitarian Narrative. Sociological Della Comunicazione, 45.
    5. Franks, S. (2012). BBC reporting in India in the 1970s and 1980s: globally connected media ahead of its time. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 32(2).
    6. Franks, S. (2012). Global media and the War on Terror: Why some wars matter. Journal of African Media Studies, 4(1). doi: 10.1386/jams.4.1.5_7
    7. Franks, S. (2011). Attitudes to women in the BBC in the 1970s: Not so much a glass ceiling as one of reinforced concrete. Westminster Papers in Culture and Communication, 8(3).
    8. Franks, S. (2010). Why Bob Geldof has got it wrong. British Journalism Review, 21(2).
    9. Franks, S. (2010). Globalising consciousness: The end of "foreign" reporting and no more foreign secrets. Ethical Space: the international journal of communication ethics, 7(4).
    10. Franks, S. (01 Feb 2010). The neglect of Africa and the power of aid. International Communication Gazette, 72(1), 71-84. doi: 10.1177/1748048509350339
    11. Franks, S. and Seaton, J. (2009). Is Saving the World journalism's job?. British Journalism Review, 20(2).
    12. Franks, S. and Ribet, K. (01 Dec 2009). China-Africa media relations. Global Media and Communication, 5(1), 129-136. doi: 10.1177/1742766508101318
    13. Franks, S. (2008). Getting into Bed with Charity. British Journalism Review, 19(3).
    14. Franks, S. (2008). Aid Agencies - are we trusting too much?. Political Quarterly, 79(3).
    15. Riddell, P., O'Neill, O., Hutton, W., Franks, S., Moore, M., Purvis, S. and Tench, D. (2007). Tony Blair's 'media' speech: The commentators. POLITICAL QUARTERLY, 78(4), 488-498.
    16. Franks, S. (2007). India's Angst. It's access all areas. British Journalism Review, 18(2).
    17. Franks, S. (2007). The Media and the charitable impulse. Political Quarterly, 78(4).
    18. Franks, S. (2006). Western Media Coverage of Humanitarian Disasters. Political Quarterly, 77(2).
    19. Franks, S. (2006). How Famine Captured the Headlines. Media History, 12.
    20. Franks, S. (2005). Our Common Interest. Reporting of the Commission for Africa. Political Quarterly, 76(3).
    21. Franks, S. (2005). The Neglect of Africa. British Journalism Review, 16.
    22. Franks, S. (2005). Reporting Africa: Problems and Perspectives. Westminster Papers in Culture and Communication, Special Issue.
    23. Franks, S. (2004). The World on the Box: International Issues in News and Factual Programmes. Political Quarterly, 75.
    24. Franks, S. (1995). Televising Parliament: Five Years on. Parliamentary Affairs: devoted to all aspects of parliamentary democracy, 48.

    Book (7)

    1. (30 Jun 2016). Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century: From the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising'. London: Routledge.
    2. Franks, S. (Aug 2013). Reporting Disasters - Famine Aid Politics and the Media. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. ISBN: 1849042888.
    3. Franks, S. (2013). Women and Journalism. I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.
    4. Wolf, T. and Franks, S. (2002). Get out of my life. But first take me and Alex into town. A Parent's guide to the new teenager. (1). Profile Books. ISBN: 1861973411.
    5. Franks, S. (1999). Das Märchen von der Gleichheit. (1). Deutscher Verlag Anstalt. ISBN: 342105312X.
    6. Franks, S. (1999). Having None of It. (1). Granta Books. ISBN: 1862071640.
    7. Chippindale, P. and Franks, S. (1991). Dished!. (1). Simon & Schuster.

    Chapter (10)

    1. Bunce, M., Franks, S. and Paterson, C. (30 Jun 2016). INTRODUCTION: A New Africa’s Media Image?. Bunce, M., Franks, S. and Paterson, C. (Ed.), Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century: From the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising' (pp. 1-14) London: Routledge.
    2. Franks, S. (08 Oct 2015). From Pictures to Policy. How Does Humanitarian Reporting have an influence?. Cottle, S. and Cooper, G. (Ed.), Humanitarianism Communications and Change (pp. 153-166) Peter Lang.
    3. Franks, S. (10 Sep 2015). Women Finding Their Place at the BBC. Mair, J., Tait, R. and Keeble, R. (Ed.), The BBC Today. Future Uncertain (pp. 244-253) Abramis.
    4. Franks, S. (2014). Sweet Partings. (Ed.), Is the BBC in Crisis? Aramis.
    5. Franks, S. (2011). Time to go beyond stale stereotypes. Berger, G. (Ed.), Media in Africa. Twenty Years after the Windhoek Declaration Media Institute of Southern Africa.
    6. Franks, S. (20 Feb 2011). What is 'foreign reporting'? At Home and Abroad - No longer 'here and not there' but everywhere. pińska, A.S. (Ed.), News in Europe, Europe on News Logos. ISBN: 3832527036.
    7. Franks, S. (21 Oct 2008). The BBC and Trust - Lessons from History. Mair, J. (Ed.), Beyond Trust Abramis. ISBN: 1845493419.
    8. Franks, S. (07 Aug 2006). 'Lacking a Clear Narrative: Foreign Reporting after the Cold War. Lloyd, J. and Seaton, J. (Ed.), What can be done? Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 1405136936.
    9. Franks, S. (2000). Unsichtbare Arbeit: Der Geschlechter-Evergreen?. Engelmann, J. and Wiedemeyer, M. (Ed.), Kursbuch Arbeit ISBN: 3421054274.
    10. Franks, S. (2000). Re-thinking Work. Rutherford, J. (Ed.), The art of life Lawrence And Wishart Ltd.


    Undergraduate Teaching

    Humanitarian Communication
    Dissertation and Project Supervision

    Other Activities

    Events/Conferences Attended (23)

    • Everyday Humanitarianism, LSE 14 Apr 2016, Plenary panel on Celebrity Humanitarianism
    • Reporting the Refugee Crisis, Frontline Club 28 Oct 2015, Participated in Panel debate on the refugee crisis for the launch of the 2016 Orwell Prize
    • ICA San Juan 2015, San Juan, Puerto Rico May 2015, Presented a paper on 'Women Reporting Sport, Still a Man's Game?'
    • Humanitarianism and the Media 1900 - 2015, St Anthony's College Oxford 19 Jun 2015, Presented paper on Public Service Broadcasting and Humanitarian Crises
    • Twenty Five Years After, Prague (NYU Campus) 21 Nov 2014, Presented paper on Changing Narratives in reporting developing world after the end of the Cold War.
    • ECREA conference Lisbon 2014, Lisbon 13 Nov 2014, Panel presentation on women and media across Europe
    • Is the BBC in Crisis?, Media Society - Adam Street Club 05 Mar 2014, Book launch and panel discussion
    • Stumbling Over Humanity, Kings Place 02 Mar 2014, Public Talk
    • Humanitarian Reporting. Missing out on the Politics?, Brno, Czech Republic 2012, Media and Politics Section of Political Studies Association, November 2012
    • The Internet and The Making of the Modern Self - Presentation on Online Abuse, Frontline Club London Oct 2013, Event to Launch Orwell Prize 2014.
    • Reporting Food Insecurity in the Horn of Africa, Nov 2013, Presentation to Chatham House Seminar.
    • Reporting Africa Impartiality Seminar, Nov 2013, Presentation to BBC Trust.
    • International Association of Media History, biennial conference, Aberystwyth University 2009,
    • Conference on Foreign News on TV: Proximity and Distance, Adam Miciewicz University, Poznan 2009,
    • The Crisis in Journalism Conference, Coventry University 2009,
    • Political Studies Association, Media and Politics Conference on Trust, Strathclyde University 2009,
    • Global Media and the War on Terror Conference, Westminster University 2010, Presented paper on coverage of Africa.
    • Axess programme on Journalism and Democracy, Stockholm 2010, Panels on media and development and media ownership.
    • Axess programme on Journalism and Democracy, Oxford 2011, Panels on media and development and media ownership.
    • China Africa Network, Oxford University 2012, Presentation on Chinese media interventions in Africa
    • African Studies Association Conference, University of Leeds 2012, Presented paper on Reporting Famine.
    • Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism seminar series, Oxford University 2012, Presented paper on Women and Journalism.
    • ICA Annual Conference London 2013, London 2013, Presented paper to panel on Afro-Pessimism.

    Keynote Lectures/Speeches (4)

    • Global Humanitarian and Media Culture, 07 Feb 2015, University of Sussex. Keynote lecture to conference on Humanitarianism and Media Culture.
    • From Pictures to Policy. Reporting Famine and Other Disasters, 30 Oct 2013, City University London. Inaugural Professorial Lecture
    • Media and Cultural Studies, Where are we now?, 2014, Bournemouth University. Keynote address to MECCSA annual conference
    • Beyond Humanitarian Narratives, Mar 2013, Bologna. Keynote speaker to Symposium at Bologna University.

    Press/Online Articles (3)

    • Life Before and After Facebook, 03 Jan 2015, Guardian (Print and online)
    • Guardian Development Network, 03 Jun 2014, Guardian (Online) Article on use of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls and its impact
    • Guardian Development network blog on reporting of Famine, 23 Oct 2014, Guardian (Print and online) Article in paper and online on 30th anniversary of BBC reporting of Ethiopian Famine

    Media Appearances (4)

    • BBC World News, , Interviewed about dismissal of female editors of New York Times and Le Monde
    • The Media Show Radio 4, 22 Oct 2014, Interview and discussion hosted by Steve Hewlett about women in news and current affairs, arising from House of Lords enquiry.
    • The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4, 2013, Discussion on new exhibition on Propaganda at the British Library
    • The Female Pioneers. Women on Air, 2013, 5 part series for Radio 4 on the emergence of female voices on Radio, both as presenters and contributors, starting with the early days of the BBC in the 1920s.

    Television Programmes (1)

    • BBC Newswatch, 31 Oct 2014 on BBC1 / BBC News Channel. Interview in studio on the issues raised by broadcast appeals for humanitarian crises, arising out of the Disasters Emergency Appeal for the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

    Other Activities (3)

    • 21 October 2014
      Gave evidence to House of Lords Communications select Committee enquiry into Women in News and Current Affairs Broadcasting.
    • Guest lecture at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, December 2013.
    • Guest Lecture at Tampere University, November 2013.

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