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30th October, 2013

From Pictures to Policy: Reporting Famine and other Crises

Event Details

30th October, 2013
6.30pm - 8pm
City University London, Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB
Free but booking required

Inaugural Lecture Professor Suzanne Franks

In 1984 the reporting of a ‘biblical famine’ combined with the pop star glamour of Live Aid confirmed the predominance of TV news and changed the dynamics of the aid business forever. It defined a generation’s view of Africa and had a long term influence on the nexus of global politics, celebrity and the media. This lecture looks at the ways in which journalists report faraway disasters, in the light of this experience. It also uses fresh revelations from within government and the BBC to examine the real effects of the media reporting and offers new insights into the ongoing relationships between the media, politicians and humanitarian aid organisations, arguing the case for a greater understanding of the politics of humanity.

Suzanne Franks is a former BBC Television journalist who worked on programmes such as Newsnight, The Money Programme and Panorama. After many years she left the BBC to found an independent production company making political and current affairs programmes, including several films about Africa. Her Phd thesis was on the reporting of the Ethiopian famine and she has published widely on international news coverage and the history of broadcasting. She is also the author of a recently published book Women and Journalism (I.B. Tauris) and of Dished!: The Rise and Fall of BSB (Simon & Schuster). Suzanne still broadcasts occasionally and in 2012 she was appointed a professor at City University London where she heads the undergraduate programme. She teaches a module at City on Humanitarian Communication.   

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception where copies of Suzanne’s latest book Reporting Disasters: Famine, Aid, Politics and the Media (Hurst)  will be available.

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