1. Academic experts
  2. Research students
  3. Students
  4. Alumni
  5. Senior people at City
  6. Non-academic staff
  7. Honorary graduates

portrait of Professor Heather Brooke

Professor Heather Brooke

Professor of Journalism

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Journalism

Contact Information


Visit Heather Brooke

AG33, College Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Professor Heather Brooke is an award-winning reporter whose investigative journalism and legal action against the British Parliament for disclosure of MPs' expenses was the catalyst of the expenses scandal of 2009 that led to the biggest clear-out of politicians in decades and the first forced resignation of the Speaker of the House in 300 years.

She is the author of Your Right to Know (Pluto Press 2004, 2006), The Silent State (Heinemann 2010) and The Revolution Will Be Digitised (Heinemann, 2011). In 2016, she obtained her doctorate with a thesis titled, Citizen or Subject: Freedom of Information and the Informed Citizen in a Democracy.

Professor Brooke has won numerous awards including the Judges’ Prize at the 2010 British Press Awards, the FOI Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), and a Freedom of Expression Award from Index on Censorship. The Sunday Times in 2014 named her one of the Top 100 Makers of the 21st Century. She has appeared in two films: On Expenses - a BBC dramatisation about her parliamentary expenses investigation, and Alex Gibney's documentary We Steal Secrets about hackers and the digital revolution.

In addition to her academic role, Professor Brooke remains an active writer and journalist, a trustee of Privacy International and Chairman of Big Brother Watch.


  1. PhD, City, University of London, United Kingdom, 2016
  2. MA, English Literature, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
  3. Double BA in Journalism and Political Science, University of Washington, United States


  1. Brooke, H. (2012). The Revolution Will be Digitised Dispatches from the Information War. Random House. ISBN 978-0-09-953808-0.
  2. Brooke, H. (2011). The Silent State Secrets, Surveillance and the Myth of British Democracy. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4070-8860-0.
  3. Brooke, H. (2006). Your right to know a citizen's guide to the Freedom of Information Act. Pluto Pr.

Internet publications (6)

  1. Brooke, H. (2018). Misogyny is a gateway belief, justifying abuse. The Times.
  2. Brooke, H. (2017). London Fire Shows Why Britons Don’t Trust the System. The New York Times.
  3. Brooke, H. (2016). Transparency thwarts the abuse of power to enrich the powerful. Financial Times.
  4. Brooke, H. (2015). This snooper’s charter makes George Orwell look lacking in vision. The Guardian.
  5. Brooke, H. (2015). Gove is right: our antiquated court system produces two-nation justice. The Guardian.
  6. Brooke, H. (2015). Mass surveillance: my part in the reform of GCHQ and UK intelligence gathering. The Guardian.

Journal articles (2)

  1. Brooke, H. (2016). Inside the Digital Revolution. Journal of International Affairs, 70, No 1(Winter 2016), pp. 29–53.
  2. Brooke, H. (2014). Research Focus: MPs' Expenses Scandal. Reputation, Michaelmas Term 2014(11), pp. 9–10.

Reports (2)

  1. Brooke, H., Clarke, M., Hennessy, P., O'Neill, O., Omand, D., Cowley, L. … Walden, I. (2015). A Democratic Licence to Operate: Report of the Independent Surveillance Review. Royal United Services Institute.
  2. Brooke, H. and Felle, T. Evidence submitted to the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information..


  1. Brooke, H. Subject or Citizen? Freedom of information and the informed citizen in a democracy. (PhD Thesis)

Other Activities

Events/conferences (4)

  1. Going Undercover. (Public lecture) City University (2018). Chair and Organising Committee.
    Description: Panel discussion on undercover investigative journalism.
    Chaired by Professor Heather Brooke, with guests:

    David Henshaw is the founder and managing director of Hardcash Productions and he has produced more than 50 films, many using undercover reporting, and won a range of awards - including five Emmys, four RTS Journalism awards, two Peabodys, a Grierson, and a Bafta. Hardcash have a reputation for tackling controversial issues and as a result their films have often set the news agenda and changed government policy.

    Gesbeen Mohammad graduated from City’s MA Investigations course in 2015. She is now co-producing at Hardcash Productions and has gone undercover herself for several Channel 4 documentaries.

    Job Rabkin is Commissioning Editor for Investigations, Channel 4 News, which is the team behind the ‘Data Democracy and Dirty Tricks’ series that included an undercover investigation on Cambridge Analytica and election campaigns across the world. Bosses were filmed talking about using bribes, ex-spies, fake IDs and sex workers.

    Josh Reynolds is a producer/director of undercover documentaries, most recently working on one for BBC3. Previously he was at BBC Panorama for four years and was assistant producer on the Bafta-winning documentary “Britain’s Immigration Secrets”. He also worked on the May 2018 Panorama “Police Under Pressure” in which a reporter spent three-months embedded in police forces, revealing a dangerous lack of resources.
  2. Cyber and the Next U.S. President.
    2016 Thought Leadership Forum.
    ROOM 1501, The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University 420 W 118th St NY 10027 United States (2016).
    Description: Join the Journal of International Affairs for our semiannual Thought Leadership Forum onMonday, October 31 at 6:00 PM.

    Cyber issues—from security to privacy—have been major and controversial factors in the upcoming U.S. election. Leading experts will discuss cybersecurity and the digital revolution, and how these issues can be addressed by the next president of the United States.
  3. FOIA @ 50. Columbia University, New York City (2016).
    Description: FOIA@50 is a three-day conference tied to the 50th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act. The conference will explore FOIA’s origins, importance, its role in American law, politics and society, and impact abroad.
  4. Cambridge Union Society Debate. Cambridge University (2016).
    Description: Speaking for the motion: This House Fears the Large Scale Collection of Personal Data.

Keynote lecture/speech

  1. ‘What Do Scandals Accomplish? Reputation and Accountability in the MP Expenses Scandal’. Pembroke College, Oxford University (2014). Keynote opening speech at Oxford Reputation Symposium

Media appearances (4)

  1. From Panama to Sparta: A brief history of leaks. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's 'The World Tonight'. For more information see:
  2. The Media Show, BBC Radio 4. The Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling has said that the Freedom of Information Act is being misused as a research tool to generate stories for the media. At the same time, the Government has set up an independent cross party Commission to review how FOI is working. There are concerns this will lead to new restrictions on the release of information, a strengthening of the ministerial veto and the adding of new fees. Steve hears from Heather Brooke, freedom of information campaigner and Professor of Journalism at City University, and Dominic Ponsford, Editor of the Press Gazette which has launched a 'Hands Off FOI' campaign.
  3. BBC Newsnight. Freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke and Therese Coffey MP discuss the ongoing row over Maria Miller's parliamentary expenses.
  4. BBC Newsnight. Heather Brooke debates changes to the UK FOI regime on BBC Newsnight, with Jonathan Baume director of the First Division Association. Chaired by Kirsty Wark.

Online articles (7)

  1. The new UK Surveillance Bill makes George Orwell look lacking in vision. (2015). The Guardian
  2. Mass surveillance: my part in the reform of GCHQ and UK intelligence gathering. (2015). The Guardian
  3. Gove is right: our antiquated court system produces two-nation justice. (2015). The Guardian
  4. Transparency thwarts the abuse of power to enrich the powerful. (2016). Financial Times Transparency, tax returns and the fallout from the Panama Papers investigation.
  5. Twitter’s power comes with a heavy responsibility. (2016). The Financial Times Twitter — with Google, Facebook and the digitisation of information — has revolutionised politics. Parliament and Congress are no longer the favoured forums of society, and citizens are not reliant on elected officials or government institutions to represent their interests. They have instant and global tools at their disposal to broadcast their views.Traditional institutions have failed to understand this.
  6. London Fire Shows Why Britons Don’t Trust the System. (2017). The New York Times
  7. Misogyny is a gateway belief, justifying abuse. (2018). The Times