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Contact Information


Visit Mel Bunce

A113, College Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Dr Mel Bunce is the Deputy Head of the Department of Journalism and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Journalism. Her research examines the international news system, focusing on journalism practice, media freedom, and the reporting of Africa and humanitarian crises.

Dr Bunce is currently working on two research projects. First, she is the Principal Investigator of the project: 'Promoting media freedom in a time of crisis' funded by a GCRF/AHRC Urgency Grant, with an international research team based in the UK, Sudan and the Philippines. Second, she is working on an AHRC-funded project about humanitarian journalism, looking at the funding, production and impact of media reports about humanitarian crises.

Her previous research examined the work of foreign correspondents in Africa and the way that culture, power, technology and economics shape news narratives about the African continent. This included extensive fieldwork with foreign correspondents in Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal. In 2016 she co- edited 'Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century' (Routledge) on the media representation of Africa.

Her research has also explored how digital media and new technology are transforming journalistic practice. This has included studies of how collaborative platforms like Slack change journalistic work; how the introduction of website analytics can alter news outputs and power dynamics within newsrooms; and how foreign correspondents relate to their audiences through social media.

Finally, Dr Bunce has retained a strong interest in the media system and politics of New Zealand (her home country) and is the author of the best selling book, 'The Broken Estate: Journalism and Democracy in a Post-Truth World' for the leading NZ publisher BWB (2018), which was widely reported in the New Zealand media, including features in TVNZ, RNZ, Stuff, NZ Herald, Newsroom, Newshub and Spinoff.

Before coming to City, Dr Bunce taught at Birkbeck, University of London and at the University of Otago. She also worked as a columnist / media commentator in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand. She continues to do media commentary for a range of international and national outlets.


  1. DPhil in Politics (No corrections), University of Oxford, United Kingdom, 2013
  2. MPhil in Development Studies, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  3. BA (Hons) in Political Science & English (first class), University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand


Books (2)

  1. Bunce, M. (2019). The Broken Estate: Journalism and Democracy in a Post-Truth World. Bridget Williams Books. ISBN 978-0-947518-35-6.
  2. Bunce, M., Franks, S. and Paterson, C. (Eds.), (2016). Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century: From the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising'. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-96232-3.

Chapters (6)

  1. Bunce, M., Scott, M. and Wright, K. (2019). Humanitarian journalism. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication Oxford University Press.
  2. Scott, M., Bunce, M. and Wright, K. (2018). Doing Good and Looking Good in Global Humanitarian Reporting: Is Philanthrojournalism good news? In Enghel, F. and Noske-Turner, J. (Eds.), Communication in International Development: Doing Good or Looking Good? London: Routledge.
  3. Bunce, M., Franks, S. and Paterson, C. (2016). Introduction: A New Africa’s Media Image? In Bunce, M., Franks, S. and Paterson, C. (Eds.), Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century: From the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising' (pp. 1–14). London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-96231-6.
  4. Bunce, M. (2016). The International News Coverage of Africa: Beyond the ‘Single Story’. Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century: From the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising' (pp. 17–29). London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-96231-6.
  5. Bunce, M. (2015). International news and the image of Africa: New storytellers, new narratives? Images of Africa: Creation, Negotiation and Subversion (pp. 42–62). ISBN 978-0-7190-9146-9.
  6. Scott, M., Bunce, M. and Wright, K. The Politics of Humanitarian Journalism. In Chouliaraki, L. and Vestergaard, A. (Eds.), Handbook of Humanitarian Communication London: Routledge.

Journal articles (14)

  1. Wright, K., Scott, M. and Bunce, M. (2020). Soft Power, Hard News: How Journalists at State-Funded Transnational Media Legitimize Their Work. International Journal of Press/Politics, 25(4), pp. 607–631. doi:10.1177/1940161220922832.
  2. Blumell, L.E., Bunce, M., Cooper, G. and McDowell, C. (2020). Refugee and Asylum News Coverage in UK Print and Online Media. Journalism Studies, 21(2), pp. 162–179. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2019.1633243.
  3. Cooper, G., Blumell, L. and Bunce, M. (2020). Beyond the ‘refugee crisis’: How the UK news media represent asylum seekers across national boundaries. International Communication Gazette. doi:10.1177/1748048520913230.
  4. Bunce, M. (2019). Book Review: The media and aid in Sub-Saharan Africa: Whose news? JOURNALISM, 20(8), pp. 1141–1142. doi:10.1177/1464884919862053.
  5. Bunce, M. (2019). Management and resistance in the digital newsroom. Journalism, 20(7), pp. 890–905. doi:10.1177/1464884916688963.
  6. Wright, K., Scott, M. and Bunce, M. (2019). Foundation-funded Journalism, Philanthrocapitalism and Tainted Donors. Journalism Studies, 20(5), pp. 675–695. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2017.1417053.
  7. Scott, M., Bunce, M. and Wright, K. (2019). Foundation funding and the boundaries of journalism. Journalism Studies. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2018.1556321.
  8. Bunce, M. (2019). Humanitarian Communication in a Post-Truth World. Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, 1(1), pp. 49–55. doi:10.7227/jha.007.
  9. Bunce, M., Wright, K. and Scott, M. (2018). ‘Our newsroom in the cloud’: Slack, virtual newsrooms and journalistic practice. New Media and Society, 20(9), pp. 3381–3399. doi:10.1177/1461444817748955.
  10. Scott, Martin, , Bunce, M. and Wright, Kate, (2017). Donor power and the news:The influence of foundation funding on international public service journalism. International Journal of Press/Politics, 22(2), pp. 163–184. doi:10.1177/1940161217693394.
  11. Bunce, M. (2016). Foundations, philanthropy and international journalism. Ethical Space: the international journal of communication ethics, 13(2/3), pp. 6–15.
  12. Bunce, M. (2015). Africa in the click stream: audience metrics and foreign correspondents in Africa. African Journalism Studies, 36(4), pp. 12–29. doi:10.1080/23743670.2015.1119487.
  13. Bunce, M. (2010). 'This Place Used to be a White British Boys' Club': Reporting Dynamics and Cultural Clash at an International News Bureau in Nairobi. ” The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 99(410), pp. 515–528.
  14. Bunce, M. Book review: Reimagining Journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Communication Research and Practice.

Reports (4)

  1. Scott, M., Wright, K. and Bunce, M. (2018). Foundation support for international non-profit news: Mapping the funding landscape. University of East Anglia.
  2. Scott, M., Wright, K. and Bunce, M. (2018). The State of Humanitarian Journalism. University of East Anglia.
  3. Bunce, M. (2011). The new foreign correspondent at work: Local-national ‘stringers’ and the global news coverage of Darfur. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
  4. Scott, M., Bunce, M. and Myers, M. Shining a Spotlight on Media Freedom: Media Coverage of the Global Campaign for Media Freedom..



- The International News System
- Dissertation and research methods
- Ethics


- Doctoral research supervision

Other Activities

Online articles (3)

  1. Media commentator for a range of outlets including: Al Jazeera English, BBC, The Financial Times, Africa is a Country and The Conversation.
  2. Columnist at the Evening Herald, Dublin, Ireland (2006).
  3. Columnist at the Otago Daily Times, Dunedin, New Zealand (2000-2005).