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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Kate Wright

Kate Wright
Dr Kate Wright
Chancellor's Fellow in the Cultural and Creative Industries Co-Investigator on AHRC Humanitarian Journalism project
B.05 21 George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
0131 651 5592
Research Interests
Media, Global justice, Humanitarian intervention, Norms, organizations and institutions, Rights, digital publics and counterpublics

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Thursday 1300-1400, 1530-1630 Room B.05, 21 George Square. As this is a busy time of year, I have created a Doodle poll so you can sign up for an appointment ( Please note that those who have an appointment take precedence over those who drop in.


PhD, Media and Communications (Goldsmiths College, University of London)

PGCHE, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (University of Roehampton)

MA, Postcolonial Studies (University of Sussex)

MA, English Literature (University of Edinburgh)


I became an academic after a lengthy career as an award-winning journalist, working on top Scottish, UK and international news programmes at the BBC, as well as on arts features and investigative documentaries. I am particularly interested in the media representation of Africa because of the time I spent producing the pan-African bulletin, which is broadcast by BBC World Service Radio, and which involved me liaising extensively with the Arabic, French, Hausa, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Portugese, Swahili and Somali services.

My research sits at the intersection of media, activism and global governance, with a particular emphasis on constructions of “Africa”. I have published on the roles played by staff and freelance journalists, NGOs and multinational businesses in media production processes, as well as on the interaction of social and mainstream media texts. I am interested in the media representation of suffering, but also in other kinds of representations, including “Africa Rising” narratives.

I am a Co-Investigator for an AHRC project funded on Humanitarian News ( This area of interest has been shaped by my broader experience of covering disasters, terror attacks and wars, as well as the personal experiences of asylum seekers, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and those with experience of state-sponsored torture. 

I am currently  a member of the Newton Tech4Dev Network, which is funded by the British Council Newton Fund. Previously, I was the Media Fellow on an ESRC project about Non-Governmental Public Action at the LSE’s Centre for Civil Society and the Visiting Scholar at the NODE Centre for Research into News and Opinion in the Digital Era at Karlstad University in Sweden.


(Forthcoming) Who is Reporting Africa Now? Journalists, Non-Governmental Organisations and Multimedia. Single-authored monograph contracted for Peter Lang.

(In print) 'Doing Good and Looking Good in Global Humanitarian Reporting: Is Philanthrojournalism good news?' In F. Enghel and J. Noske-Turner (Eds.) Communication in International Development. London: Routledge (Rethinking Development series) (co-authored with Martin Scott and Mel Bunce)

(In print) 'Humanitarian Journalism'. In L. Chouliaraki and A. Vestergaard (Eds.) Handbook of Humanitarian Communication. London: Routledge (co-authored with Martin Scott and Mel Bunce)

(In print). "Helping our beneficiaries tell their own stories?"  International aid agencies and the politics of voice in news production. Global Media and Communication

(2017). 'Public-Commercial Hybridity at BBC News Online: Covering Non-Governmental Organisations in Africa'. In A. Davis (Ed.) The Death of Public  Knowledge? London: Goldsmiths/MIT Press

(2017) Donor power and the news: The influence of foundation funding on international public service journalism. International Journal of Press/ Politics (co-authored with Martin Scott and Mel Bunce)

(2016) "It was a simple, positive story of African self-help" (manufactured for a Kenyan NGO by advertising multinationals)'.In M. Bunce, S.Franks and C.Paterson (Eds.) Africa's Media Image in the Twenty-First Century: from the 'Heart of Darkness' to 'Africa Rising'. London: Routledge.

(2016). Moral economies: interrogating the interactions of NGOs, journalists and freelancersInternational Journal of Communication 10 pp.1-19

(2015). 'These Grey Areas': Freelancers and the blurring of INGOs and news organisations. Journalism Studies. DOI. 10.1080.1461670X.2015.1036904

(2014)  'Should Journalists be 'Virtuous'? Mainstream News Production, Complex Media Organisations, and the Work of Nick Couldry'Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism 15 (3) pp.364-381

(2012) 'Educating Rookies: Might Guided Problem-Based Learning Help First Year Journalism Students Learn to Inter-relate Theory and Practice?', Journalism Education 1(2) pp. 8-25

(2012) 'Listening to Suffering: What does Proper Distance have to do with Radio News?', Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 13 (3) pp.284-302

(2011) 'Reality without Scare Quotes: Developing the Case for Critical Realism in Journalism Research'Journalism Studies, 12 (2) pp.156-171

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome applications from doctoral candidates interested in studying all aspects of the media, especially that which is to do with Africa. I'm particularly interested in the production, funding and reception of journalism, but I also have expertise in political communications and strategic communications, non-governmental work and mediated activism. I am happy to co-supervise with colleagues in other disciplines to help students secure the supervisory team they require, including colleagues working in international politics, international development, digital sociology, digital media design, digital media, documentary-making, peace-building and religion. Students are welcome to contact me to discuss this if they wish.

If you are interested in being supervised by Kate Wright, please see the links below for more information:

PhD In African Studies; PhD in Politics; PhD in International Development