Head of Journalism delivers the School of Communication & Creativity’s first ever inaugural professorial lecture.

By City Press Office (City Press Office), Published

Students, colleagues, friends and family were in attendance to celebrate Professor Mel Bunce, Head of the Department of Journalism at City, University of London as she delivered her inaugural lecture, ‘Making News’.

Born into a family of educators, Professor Bunce first moved to the UK to study for her PhD at the University of Oxford. She spoke about her early life in Dunedin, New Zealand and influences in academia.

With a strong interest in the international framing of news, Professor Bunce’s academic career has taken her around the world interviewing foreign correspondents. She introduced her studies on the behaviours of international news desks and how global affairs are positioned by major media corporations – with particular focus on humanitarian journalism and the diversity and equality of reporting.

Professor Bunce also made reference to the importance of press freedom and how it is coming under threat, before paying tribute to her family, academic colleagues at City and co-authors of her research, Martin Scott and Kate Wright.

The lecture concluded with an audience Q&A, including questions about the accountability of universities in aiding ethical, representative and transparent journalism, how City is striving to synchronise journalism education with other disciplines such as politics and history, and storytelling of the war in Ukraine.

Professor Mel Bunce

On delivering the lecture, Professor Bunce said:

“It was a great honour to be invited to deliver the School’s first inaugural lecture.

“I wanted to share why I do what I do, and hopefully some valuable insights into how academic research can support and improve humanitarian journalism and help the next generation of media professionals from all over the world.

At a time when press freedom around the world is coming under siege, it is important to support storytelling of humanitarian crises and have voices heard.

“It was fantastic to see friends, family, students, alumni and colleagues past and present this evening. My huge thanks go to them and those who have wonderfully supported me so far on my academic journey.”

Professor Anna Whitelock, Dean of City's School of Communication & Creativity, said:

“Mel is a powerhouse for both department and school, and her ambition and drive to deliver is limitless.

“She is always determined to achieve – not just for herself but for her team, her students, her department and her colleagues. Mention a metric and she wants to excel in it; mention a scheme and she wants to deliver it; mention a challenge and she wants to surmount it.

“We are very lucky to have Mel at City, and it was fitting that she should become the first academic from the School of Communication & Creativity to deliver an inaugural lecture.”

About Professor Mel Bunce

Professor Mel Bunce is the Head of the Department of Journalism and Deputy Dean of the School of Communication & Creativity at City. Her research and media commentary focuses on changing journalism practice, media freedom, and the reporting of Africa and humanitarian crises.

Professor Bunce’s research has also explored how digital media and new technology are transforming journalistic practice. This includes exploring collaborative platforms and their impact on journalistic work, how website analytics can alter power dynamics within newsroom and how foreign correspondents relate to their audiences through social media.

As Principal Investigator of the 'Promoting media freedom in a time of crisis' project with an international research team based in the UK, Sudan and the Philippines, Professor Bunce’s research on humanitarian journalism examines the funding, production and impact of media reports about humanitarian crises.

Professor Bunce’s book publications include Humanitarian Journalists: Covering Crises from a Boundary Zone (Routledge 2022), The Broken Estate: Journalism and Democracy in a Post-Truth World (Bridget Williams Books 2019) and Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century: From the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising' (Routledge 2016).

Her upcoming title, Capturing the News: Trump and the Voice of America (Oxford University Press) is due for release in 2024 and examines how the Trump administration tried to capture one of the world’s most important public service news networks, Voice of America.

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