Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Christopher Anderson

Professor of Media and Communication

0113 343 5814

Clothworkers' Building North, Room 2.18

Office hours: Tuesday, 12.00pm - 2.00pm

BA (Indiana University) PhD (Columbia University)


Christopher Anderson is Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. He is also an Associate Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) (on unpaid leave) and member of the board of advisors at the Tow Center, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Chris studies journalism, politics, and how the production of public knowledge is being transformed in the digital age. He is the author, co-author, or co-editor of 4 books:  Rebuilding the News (Temple University Press), The SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism (with Tamara Witscghe, David Domingo, and Alfred Hermida); Remaking News (with Pablo Boczkowski, The MIT Press), and News: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Michael Schudson and Len Downie, Oxford University Press). He has written academic articles on digital journalism, sociology, political communication, and science and technology studies and more popular pieces for a variety of online websites and blogs. He is completing work on a manuscript tentatively titled Apostles of Certainty: Data Journalism and the Politics of Doubt (Oxford University Press). From 2001 – 2008 Chris was an editor and organizer at NYC Indymedia, one of the world’s first ”citizen journalism” websites. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 2009 under the supervision of Prof. James W. Carey and Prof. Todd Gitlin.

Research Interests

Chris’ primary research interests include:

  • journalism studies, particularly the sociology of digital news
  • the history of data journalism, and quantitative methodologies more broadly
  • the aesthetics and emotions of journalism, visuals in the news, and the ”feelings” that underlie the deployment of numerical information
  • science and technology studies
  • the sociology of knowledge
  • political theory and normative theories of the public sphere

He would welcome doctoral students interested in any of these or related subjects.


At Leeds, Chris supervises or co-supervises the following modules: COMM1320 Journalism, Politics and Society; COMM1210 The History of Communication; and COMM5655 Journalism Practice and Policy.


(from Spring 2018): Deputy Postgraduate Research Tutor.

Research Centres & Groups

At Leeds Chris is a member of the Journalism and Visual Communication Research groups and is a co-convener of the New Media research group.

External Appointments

Chris is an Associate Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) (on unpaid leave) and member of the board of advisors at the Tow Center, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He serves on the editorial board of Journalism: Theory, Practice, Criticism and Digital Journalism. He sits on the advisory board of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and is a co-editor of Public Seminar, a leading journal housed in the New School for Social Research.

PhD Thesis

Breaking journalism down: Work, authority, and networking local news, 1997–2009

This dissertation analyzes changing forms of local newswork and the shifting occupational status of news institutions during a period of cultural and economic transition. To better understand these economic, cultural, and organizational shifts in local journalism, the dissertation focuses on (1) challenges to professional journalistic status, (2) changing forms of newswork, and (3) the difficulties and possibilities of cross-institutional journalistic collaboration. These foci can be summarized as questions of how journalists work, how they work together, and how journalistic authority is changing. Given that the very definition of journalism has become highly contentious, this dissertation advances a research method known as “networked ethnographic analysis.” In this method, relevant on- and offline cultural producers in a single city (Philadelphia, Pa.) are mapped using social network analysis, which are then analyzed qualitatively through participant observation, online ethnography, archival research and in-depth interviewing.

How is newswork changing? To the degree reporting and editing in Philadelphia are changing, it is in inverse proportion to their degree of insularity from web-grounded notions of shifting concepts of news time, reporting at a distance, and increased demands for content. There are also emerging forms of newswork in Philadelphia, forms that include web production and varieties of formal and informal blogging. Journalists are also increasingly becoming conscious their audience, though in a highly quantitative fashion. How are journalists forging new collaborative chains with other institutionalized and deinstitutionalized newsworkers? They are rarely doing so. Cross-institutional collaboration between different professional and semi-professional news institutions was uncommon during the time period and in the location analyzed here, due in part to cultural barriers between institutions, and in part because of bureaucratic, organizational impediments. How is journalistic authority, finally, changing? The failure of local organizations to weave together a news production network out of the unbundled structures and practices of decomposing news institutions has resulted in a deeply fractured system of local journalistic authority.



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