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portrait of Professor Suzanne Franks

Professor Suzanne Franks

Professor of Journalism

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Journalism

Contact Information


Visit Suzanne Franks

A131, College Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Professor Suzanne Franks was head of the department of Journalism from 2016-19 and in 2020 she returns from research leave.

She read PPE at Oxford and spent a year as a Kennedy Scholar in the Government Department at Harvard University. She worked briefly in Washington DC for a public interest group before taking up a 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.

Professor Franks was appointed to a chair in Journalism at City University London in 2012 and until 2016 she was director of the undergraduate programme. She also supervises PhD students and contributes to the research output in Journalism. She is currently participating in an EU Horizon 2020 consortium on improving the reporting of science and she leads an impact case study on female expertise in news broadcasting.
In August 2016 she was appointed to head the City Journalism Department. In 2014 she was an Erasmus visiting scholar in the Journalism School, University of California, Berkeley and in 2015 she was a visiting fellow at the Reuter's Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford.
Suzanne has published widely in books and articles, on topics including gender, the history of the media and reporting international news.

Suzanne Franks' page.

Media appearances
- Regular live broadcasting experience, including appearances on: Channel 4 News, The Politics Show, CBC Radio, Al Jazeera Press Review, German Radio, BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour, Start the Week, Broadcasting House, Thinking Allowed, The Media Show, PM, Today, Feedback, Archive Hour and the Victoria Derbyshire Show.
- 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, Times Higher Education, The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Independent, Prospect, The Scotsman, Broadcast, New Statesman, The Observer, Daily Mail, Jewish Quarterly

- Also an occasional blogger including for NiemanLab, The New Statesman, BBC Academy, The Conversation.

Suzanne Franks' BBC Academy Blog

The Conversation


  1. PhD, University of Westminster, United Kingdom, 2007
  2. MA Hons First Class in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom


  1. External Phd examiner, Cardiff University, Sep 2020 – present
  2. External assessor, University of Cyprus, Nov 2019
  3. External Assessor, University of Tartu, Oct 2018 – Oct 2019
  4. External assessor, Tallinn University, Oct 2018
  5. external examiner Phd, Goldsmiths, University of London, Mar 2017
  6. external examiner PhD, University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Nov 2016
  7. External Examiner Phd, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, Mar 2016
  8. External Examiner Phd, Goldsmiths University of London, Feb 2015
  9. External Assessor, Teesside University, Mar 2014
  10. External Examiner Phd, University of the West of Scotland, Oct 2013
  11. External Examiner, Unniversity of East Anglia, Jan 2011 – Jan 2014


French (can read, speak and understand spoken) and German (can read, speak and understand spoken).


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

Merle Van Berkum

Attendance: Oct 2020 – present, full-time

Thesis title: Reporting Climate Change in the Global South

Role: 1st Supervisor

Joanna Payton

Attendance: Sep 2020 – present

Thesis title: Creativity in Journalism education

Role: 1st Supervisor

Joshy Thumpakattu

Attendance: Oct 2017 – present, full-time

Thesis title: BBC Online coverage of India

Role: 1st Supervisor

Katie Toms

Attendance: Feb 2016 – May 2020, full-time

Thesis title: Obscenity versus objectification: a study of the impact and significance of the Leveson inquiry and report on the visual representation of women in UK print media

Role: 1st Supervisor

Further information:

Agnieszka Morris

Attendance: Oct 2012 – Jul 2016

Thesis title: BBC Polish Service during the Second World War

Role: 1st Supervisor

Further information: completed

Lisette Johnson

Attendance: Sep 2012 – Jun 2016, full-time

Thesis title: UGC and BBC Reporting of Syrian Conflict

Role: 1st Supervisor

Sunthai Constantini

Attendance: Mar 2011 – Jan 2015

Thesis title: The Political Communication of Hugo Chavez

Role: 1st Supervisor


  1. Franks, S. (2013). Reporting Disasters - Famine Aid Politics and the Media. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84904-288-8.
  2. Franks, S. (2013). Women and Journalism. I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1-78076-585-3.

Books (5)

  1. 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.
  2. 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. London, New editions 2008, 2014, 2020: Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-341-1.
  3. Franks, S. (1999). Das Märchen von der Gleichheit. Deutscher Verlag Anstalt. ISBN 978-3-421-05312-1.
  4. Franks, S. (1999). Having None of It. Granta Books. ISBN 978-1-86207-164-3.
  5. Chippindale, P. and Franks, S. (1991). Dished! Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-71077-4.

Chapters (12)

  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.
  2. Franks, S. (2017). Reporting Humanitarian Narratives: Are We Missing Out on the Politics? In Andersen, R. and de Silva, P. (Eds.), The Routledge companion to media and humanitarian action New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-68857-5.
  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. Franks, S. (2015). From Pictures to Policy. How Does Humanitarian Reporting have an influence? In Cottle, S. and Cooper, G. (Eds.), Humanitarianism Communications and Change (pp. 153–166). Peter Lang. ISBN 978-1-4331-2526-3.
  5. Franks, S. (2015). Women Finding Their Place at the BBC. In Mair, J., Tait, R. and Keeble, R. (Eds.), The BBC Today. Future Uncertain (pp. 244–253). Abramis. ISBN 978-1-84549-656-2.
  6. Franks, S. (2014). Sweet Partings. Is the BBC in Crisis? Aramis.
  7. Franks, S. (2011). Time to go beyond stale stereotypes. In Berger, G. (Ed.), Media in Africa. Twenty Years after the Windhoek Declaration Media Institute of Southern Africa.
  8. Franks, S. (2011). What is 'foreign reporting'? At Home and Abroad - No longer 'here and not there' but everywhere. In pińska, A.S. (Ed.), News in Europe, Europe on News Logos. ISBN 978-3-8325-2703-7.
  9. Franks, S. (2008). The BBC and Trust - Lessons from History. In Mair, J. (Ed.), Beyond Trust Abramis. ISBN 978-1-84549-341-7.
  10. Franks, S. (2006). 'Lacking a Clear Narrative: Foreign Reporting after the Cold War. In Lloyd, J. and Seaton, J. (Eds.), What can be done? Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-3693-8.
  11. Franks, S. (2000). Unsichtbare Arbeit: Der Geschlechter-Evergreen? In Engelmann, J. and Wiedemeyer, M. (Eds.), Kursbuch Arbeit ISBN 978-3-421-05427-2.
  12. Franks, S. (2000). Re-thinking Work. In Rutherford, J. (Ed.), The art of life Lawrence And Wishart Ltd.

Conference paper/proceedings

  1. Maiden, N., Zachos, K., Franks, S., Wells, R. and Stallard, S. (2020). Designing Digital Content to Support Science Journalism.

Journal articles (30)

  1. Franks, S. (2018). ‘Please send us your money’: The BBC’s evolving relationship with charitable causes, fundraising and humanitarian appeals. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 38(4), pp. 863–879. doi:10.1080/01439685.2017.1412919.
  2. Franks, S. and O'Neill, D. (2018). This sporting life. Why so few women sports writers. Journalism Education, 6(3), pp. 42–53.
  3. Franks, S. (2017). We have seen his type before. British Journalism Review, 28(1), pp. 27–29. doi:10.1177/0956474817697584.
  4. Franks, S. (2016). Gender Imbalance on Sports Desks at UK Newspapers. Media Report to Women, 44(1), pp. 12–24.
  5. Franks, S. and O'Neill, D. (2016). Women reporting sport: Still a man's game? Journalism, 17(4), pp. 474–492. doi:10.1177/1464884914561573.
  6. Franks, S. (2014). Famines are not a simple story. British Journalism Review, 25(3), pp. 61–67.
  7. Franks, S. (2013). Inserting Political Understanding into the Humanitarian Narrative. Sociological Della Comunicazione, 45.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. Franks, S. (2010). The neglect of Africa and the power of aid. International Communication Gazette, 72(1), pp. 71–84. doi:10.1177/1748048509350339.
  12. Franks, S. (2010). Why Bob Geldof has got it wrong. British Journalism Review, 21(2).
  13. 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).
  14. Franks, S. and Ribet, K. (2009). China-Africa media relations. Global Media and Communication, 5(1), pp. 129–136. doi:10.1177/1742766508101318.
  15. Franks, S. and Seaton, J. (2009). Is Saving the World journalism's job? British Journalism Review, 20(2).
  16. Le Grand, J., Wilson, R., Franks, S., Burns, A., Moore, M. and Barnett, S. (2008). Trustworthiness: The commentators. Political Quarterly, 79(3), pp. 314–323. doi:10.1111/j.1467-923X.2008.00934.x.
  17. Franks, S. (2008). Aid Agencies - are we trusting too much? Political Quarterly, 79(3).
  18. Franks, S. (2008). Getting into Bed with Charity. British Journalism Review, 19(3).
  19. Riddell, P., O'Neill, O., Hutton, W., Franks, S., Moore, M., Purvis, S. … Tench, D. (2007). Tony Blair's 'media' speech: The commentators. POLITICAL QUARTERLY, 78(4), pp. 488–498. doi:10.1111/j.1467-923X.2007.00878.x.
  20. Franks, S. (2007). The Media and the charitable impulse. Political Quarterly, 78(4).
  21. Franks, S. (2007). India's Angst. It's access all areas. British Journalism Review, 18(2).
  22. Franks, S. (2006). The CARMA report: Western media coverage of humanitarian disasters. Political Quarterly, 77(2), pp. 281–284. doi:10.1111/j.1467-923X.2006.00771.x.
  23. Franks, S. (2006). Western Media Coverage of Humanitarian Disasters. Political Quarterly, 77(2).
  24. Franks, S. (2006). How Famine Captured the Headlines. Media History, 12.
  25. Franks, S. (2005). Our Common Interest. Reporting of the Commission for Africa. Political Quarterly, 76(3).
  26. Franks, S. (2005). Reporting Africa: Problems and Perspectives. Westminster Papers in Culture and Communication, Special Issue.
  27. Franks, S. (2005). The Neglect of Africa. British Journalism Review, 16.
  28. Franks, S. (2004). The World on the Box: International Issues in News and Factual Programmes. Political Quarterly, 75.
  29. Franks, S. (1995). Televising Parliament: Five Years on. Parliamentary Affairs: devoted to all aspects of parliamentary democracy, 48.
  30. Franks, S. (1987). The lost tribe of Manipur. Jewish Quarterly Review, 34(3), pp. 32–34. doi:10.1080/0449010X.1987.10703771.


  1. Davies, S.R., Franks, S., Jensen, A.M., Mannino, I., Schmidt, A.L., Wells, R. … Zollo, F. Project QUEST: D1.1: Summary report: European Science Communication today..


Undergraduate Teaching

Humanitarian Communication
Dissertation and Project Supervision

Other Activities

Events/conferences (33)

  1. Future of Journalism Conference Cardiff. Cardiff University (2019). Panel Member.
    Paper: Use of AI in Reporting Science
    Author: Franks S
    Co-authors: Wells R
  2. World Conference on Journalism Education. Paris (2019). Panel Member.
  3. York Festival of Ideas. York University (2019). Panel Member.
    Paper: Discussion on Fake News
  4. AEJMC. (Conference) Washington DC (2018). Panel Member. Invited speaker.
    Paper: Online Safety of Female Journalists
    Author: Franks S
  5. World Food Programme symposium on the use of images in reporting hunger and famine. World Food Programme Rome (2017).
  6. Web Summit. Lisbon (2017). Panel Member. Invited speaker.
    Paper: Tech, Media and Politics. Will the Circle be Broken
  7. The Moral Economy of Famine. (Workshop) University College London (2016).
    Paper: Reporting the F..... Word. Aid and the Media
  8. ECREA 2016. Prague (2016).
    Description: Panel on Africa's image in the International Media
  9. IAMCR 2016. Leicester (2016).
    Description: Panel and event on launch of 'Africa's Media Image in the Twenty First Century'
  10. ICA 2016. Fukuoka, Japan (2016).
    Description: Paper on the history and evolution of charitable appeals by the BBC.
    " Please send us your money."
    Panel on Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century.
  11. Everyday Humanitarianism. LSE (2016).
    Description: Plenary panel on Celebrity Humanitarianism
  12. Reporting the Refugee Crisis. Frontline Club (2015).
    Description: Participated in Panel debate on the refugee crisis for the launch of the 2016 Orwell Prize
  13. Humanitarianism and the Media 1900 - 2015. St Anthony's College Oxford (2015).
    Description: Presented paper on Public Service Broadcasting and Humanitarian Crises
  14. ICA San Juan 2015. San Juan, Puerto Rico (2015).
    Description: Presented a paper on 'Women Reporting Sport, Still a Man's Game?'
  15. Twenty Five Years After. Prague (NYU Campus) (2014).
    Description: Presented paper on Changing Narratives in reporting developing world after the end of the Cold War.
  16. ECREA conference Lisbon 2014. Lisbon (2014).
    Description: Panel presentation on women and media across Europe
  17. Is the BBC in Crisis? Media Society - Adam Street Club (2014).
    Description: Book launch and panel discussion
  18. Stumbling Over Humanity. Kings Place (2014).
    Description: Public Talk
  19. Reporting Africa Impartiality Seminar. (2013).
    Description: Presentation to BBC Trust.
  20. Reporting Food Insecurity in the Horn of Africa. (2013).
    Description: Presentation to Chatham House Seminar.
  21. The Internet and The Making of the Modern Self - Presentation on Online Abuse. Frontline Club London (2013).
    Description: Event to Launch Orwell Prize 2014.
  22. ICA Annual Conference London 2013. London (2013).
    Description: Presented paper to panel on Afro-Pessimism.
  23. Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism seminar series. Oxford University (2012).
    Description: Presented paper on Women and Journalism.
  24. African Studies Association Conference. University of Leeds (2012).
    Description: Presented paper on Reporting Famine.
  25. China Africa Network. Oxford University (2012).
    Description: Presentation on Chinese media interventions in Africa
  26. Humanitarian Reporting. Missing out on the Politics? Brno, Czech Republic (2012).
    Description: Media and Politics Section of Political Studies Association, November 2012
  27. Axess programme on Journalism and Democracy. Oxford (2011).
    Description: Panels on media and development and media ownership.
  28. Axess programme on Journalism and Democracy. Stockholm (2010).
    Description: Panels on media and development and media ownership.
  29. Global Media and the War on Terror Conference. Westminster University (2010).
    Description: Presented paper on coverage of Africa.
  30. Political Studies Association, Media and Politics Conference on Trust. Strathclyde University (2009).
  31. The Crisis in Journalism Conference. Coventry University (2009).
  32. Conference on Foreign News on TV: Proximity and Distance. Adam Miciewicz University, Poznan (2009).
  33. International Association of Media History, biennial conference. Aberystwyth University (2009).

Keynote lectures/speeches (5)

  1. Making News and Shaping Reviews. Riding the rollercoaster of the Digital Revolution. Sunway University, Kuala Lumpa (2020). Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Lecture series.
  2. Global Humanitarian and Media Culture. University of Sussex (2015). Keynote lecture to conference on Humanitarianism and Media Culture.
  3. Media and Cultural Studies, Where are we now? Bournemouth University (2014). Keynote address to MECCSA annual conference
  4. From Pictures to Policy. Reporting Famine and Other Disasters. City University London (2013). Inaugural Professorial Lecture
  5. Beyond Humanitarian Narratives. Bologna (2013). Keynote speaker to Symposium at Bologna University.

Media appearances (11)

  1. Feedback Radio 4. Interview on the reporting of the Extinction Rebellion protests about climate change
  2. BBC 1 News at Ten. Interviewed about Conservative Leadership Debates and 'controversies about members of the public' who are selected to ask questions
  3. Victoria Derbyshire Show. DIscussion on media coverage of Meghan Markle and royals
  4. Discussion on Fake News. Today Programme discussion on Fake News
  5. Al Jazeera the Listening Post. Contributor to Item on Murdoch bid for takeover of Sky
  6. Al Jazeera Press Review. International Womens Day Press Review
  7. BBC Radio 4 Women's Hour. Discussion on BBC gender pay revelations
  8. The Media Show Radio 4. Interview and discussion hosted by Steve Hewlett about women in news and current affairs, arising from House of Lords enquiry.
  9. The Female Pioneers. Women on Air. 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.
  10. The Today Programme, BBC Radio 4. Discussion on new exhibition on Propaganda at the British Library
  11. BBC World News. Interviewed about dismissal of female editors of New York Times and Le Monde

Online articles (9)

  1. Guardian Development network blog on reporting of Famine. (2014). Guardian Article in paper and online on 30th anniversary of BBC reporting of Ethiopian Famine
  2. Guardian Development Network. (2014). Guardian Article on use of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls and its impact
  3. Life Before and After Facebook. (2015). Guardian
  4. Women Hit the Headlines in Sport. Why aren't there more writing about it? (2016). Guardian
  5. Why are there (almost) no women in sports journalism? (2015). European Journalism Observatory
  6. Touching Every Aspect of Life
    Review of Media Education Manifesto.
    (2019). Times Higher Education
  7. Apostles of Certainty - book review. (2019). Times Higher Education
  8. Review of Democracy without Journalism. (2020). Times Higher
  9. Objectively Engaged Journalism: An Ethic. (2020). Times Higher Education

Radio programmes (2)

  1. BBC RAdio 4 PM programme. Radio 4 Interview on media reporting of knife crime
  2. Archive Hour. BBC Radio 4 Britain and Biafra - 50 years on

Television programmes (6)

  1. Newsnight. BBC 2 Television Future of BBC in the light of DG Tony Hall decision to leave
  2. Al Jazeera Press Review. Al Jazeera Arabic Interviewed for the Press Review slot on the news channel
  3. Press review. Al Jazeerah REview of international press and interview on the proposed takeover by Trinity Mirror group of Express titles
  4. Today Programme. BBC Radio 4 Discussion about avoiding the news and whether that is desirable
  5. BBC Breakfast News and BBC News. BBC 1 Interviewed on the changing consumption of news - on the occasion of the 20th annivesrary of BBC Online and BBC News 24
  6. BBC Newswatch. 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 (9)

  1. External evaluator University of Cyprus, University of Cyprus (Nov 2019).
  2. World Food Programme symposium on the use of imagery in representation of food insecurity
    Rome December 2017.
  3. Competition and Markets Authority consultation on the proposed takeover of Sky by Fox - gave evidence to the session on media plurality
    October 2017.
  4. Brexit and the Media Conference October 10 2019
    Panel on lessons to be learned...

    Organsied by UK in a Changing Europe.
  5. Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe OSCE
    Talk at Conference about Online Safety of Female Journalists -

    Vienna February 12th 2019.
  6. Guest Lecture at Tampere University, November 2013..
  7. Guest lecture at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, December 2013..
  8. 21 October 2014
    Gave evidence to House of Lords Communications select Committee enquiry into Women in News and Current Affairs Broadcasting..
  9. Phd Examiner Goldsmiths University of London October 2018.