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Personal profile

Personal Statement

I research media reporting of trauma, death, bereavement, mental health and suicide. My work focuses on journalistic processes, ethical issues and media representations and I have published several journal articles and book chapters in these areas.

I am the co-creator of the suicidereportingtoolkit.com, an online resource for journalists, journalism educators and students, aimed at encouraging responsible suicide reporting. The toolkit has been recognised as an invaluable tool for suicide prevention by the American Association of Suicidology, the USA’s leading non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of understanding and prevention of suicide and support for those who have been affected by it. It has also been selected as a finalist for Research Project of the Year in the Herald Higher Education Awards 2021.

I was an invited plenary speaker at the annual conference of the American Association of Suicidology, in April 2021. I recently took part in an #ElevateTheConvo Twitter chat about my presentation on the Suicide Reporting Toolkit for the AAS conference, which had 14.39 million impressions.

I also revised media reporting guidelines for the UK’s National Union of Journalists on Responsible Reporting of Mental Health, Mental Illness and Death by Suicide and gave evidence to the Health, Social Care and Sports Committee at the Welsh Assembly on media reporting of suicide. I have run several workshops to professional organisations on media reporting of suicide and mental health issues. 

I co-authored a book, Reporting Bad News, on the decisions journalists undertake when covering death and presented evidence on media intrusion to the Leveson Inquiry. I am currently writing a book on ethics for journalists. 

I am also an editor of the online, peer-reviewed journal, Journalism Education (https://journalism-education.org/)

I welcome applications from PhD candidates interested in media reporting of death, trauma, bereavement suicide and mental health. 

I am currently supervising students working on:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the Scottish media 
  • hesitancy towards childhood vaccinations and its relationships to online media consumption. 

I have previously supervised projects on:

  • media coverage of school shootings
  • the art of the immersive feature: text, context and code.

I am currently programme director of the MLitt Digital Journalism degree where my role is to oversee the delivery, organisation and external relations of the course.

Prior to becoming an academic I worked as a journalist in the Scottish weekly press for many years, covering everything from local council meetings to high profile murder cases, after having completed postgraduate studies at Cardiff University’s prestigious journalism school. 

Research Interests

Media Reporting of Suicide

Media Reporting of death, trauma and bereavement

  • Co-author of Reporting Bad News: Negotiating the boundaries between intrusion and fair representation in media coverage of death (2017, New York: Peter Lang)
  • Submitted evidence on media reporting of the bereaved to the Leveson Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press 
  • Particular interest in journalists’ reporting of ordinary citizens and their individual stories, whether in the context of a single tragic incident or in a humanitarian crisis
  • Doctoral thesis investigated the pressures placed on journalists during their reporting of traumatic events, specifically issues relating to intrusion caused by the “death knock”, where a reporter is sent to interview the bereaved relatives of a person who has died unexpectedly.

Editor of the academic journal, Journalism Education



Teaching Interests

I am Programme Director for the MLitt Digital Journalism degree. I also teach the following classes:

  • Media Ethics (Masters)
  • Entrepreneurial Journalism and Innovation (Masters)
  • Feature writing (Year 3, undergraduate)
  • Journalism Portfolio (Year 4, undergraduate)
  • Ethical Issues in Journalism (Year 4, undergraduate)
  • Digital Journalism Academic Dissertation (Masters)
  • Digital Journalism Production Dissertation (Masters)
  • Journalism Special Project

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Association for Journalism Education, having served for six years on their executive committee. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Glasgow Caledonian University

Award Date: 15 Feb 2005

Master of Arts, Cardiff University

Award Date: 3 Jul 1989

Bachelor of Arts

Award Date: 9 Jul 1980


  • trauma reporting
  • media reporting of suicide
  • media reporting of mental health
  • bereavement
  • death reporting
  • digital journalism
  • storytelling
  • suicide reporting toolkit
  • journalism ethics


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