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portrait of Professor Lis Howell

Professor Lis Howell

Professor Emeritus of Journalism

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Journalism

Contact Information


Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Emeritus Professor Lis Howell retired from City University on April 30th 2018 but retains her connection through directing the Expert Women project - surveys which count and report the number of women authority figures on six major UK flagship news programmes. Since this project began the number of women experts on these programmes has risen by at least 40%.

Prior to this she was Director of Broadcasting from 2009 to 2018 and Head of Postgraduate Studies from 2016 to 2018.

Lis is a major award-winning journalist and broadcasting executive who has worked for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Sky News. She was Senior Vice-President at Flextech Television (later Virgin Media) where she had founded Living TV, now the channel Sky Witness on Sky TV.

Prior to that she was Managing Editor of Sky News where she produced their coverage of the first Gulf War from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. She won a Royal Television Society Award with ITN for coverage of the Lockerbie disaster from ITV Border when she was the first female Head of News at ITV.

She was a television reporter and presenter at Granada and Tyne Tees and began her career in journalism as a producer and reporter at BBC Radio Leeds. In 1999 she chaired the Guardian International Edinburgh Television Festival. In 2001 she attended the prestigious Harvard Business School Advanced Management Programme.

Currently Lis is a member of the Royal Television Society where she regularly chairs a panel of judges for the Television Journalism Awards. She is has appeared several times on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, the BBC Radio 4 "Media Show", BBC News and The Media Podcast. She is a respected commentator on broadcasting.

In 2014/2015 she was a Special Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, contributing to their report on Women in News and Current Affairs Broadcasting.

She has organised three successful Women on Air conferences at City, with guests including Margot James MP, Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; Nicky Morgan MP; Emily Thornberry MP; Fran Unsworth, Director of News and Current Affairs at the BBC; Cathy Newman; Penny Marshall; the late Dame Tessa Jowell; and the editors of all six flagship news programmes in the UK, which are monitored for the Expert Women surveys. Her monitoring project, counting the number of women experts on these programmes, is frequently credited with changing the face(s) of UK TV news.

See Lis Howell's Wikipedia page



  1. Franks, S. and Howell, L. (2019). Seeking women's expertise in the UK broadcast news media. In carter, C., steiner, L. and Allan, S. (Eds.), Journalism, Gender and Power (pp. 49–62). Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-89536-2.

Journal article

  1. Howell, L. and Singer, J.B. (2017). Pushy or a Princess? Journalism Practice, 11(9), pp. 1062–1078. doi:10.1080/17512786.2016.1232173.

Practitioner article

  1. (2010). It's time to fight for women's rights to be taken seriously. Broadcast Magazine

Other Activities

Production activity

  1. On June 14th 2018 Professor Lis Howell produced for the third time the biennial conference "Women on Air" at City, University of London. Guests included Margot James, the Minister for the Creative and Digital industries; Nicky Morgan MP, former Minister for Women; and Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign Secretary. Editors from the six flagship news programmes surveyed for the Expert Women project took part in a panel discusssion. Over 100 delegates attended and the event was covered in the Times, the Guardian, the I, and on BBC Radio 4's "The Media Show".

Television programme

  1. Victoria Derbyshire. BBC News Discussion about the Great British Bake Off moving to Channel 4