Professor Natalie Fenton

Staff details

Position Professor of Media and Communications
Email n.fenton (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7620
Professor Natalie Fenton

Natalie is a Professor of Media and Communications. Her research is concerned to address one of the most complex and vital issues of our age - the role the media play in the formation of identities and democracies and why and how people seek to change the world for socially progressive ends. Located in debates on media justice, social and economic democracy and social equality her research exposes the necessity for radical reform of concentrated media and tech power and the need to re-imagine what a democratic politics might mean in a digital age.

Teaching and Supervision

I teach the following courses: Critical Perspectives in Political Communications on the MA Political Communications & Global Cultural Politics on the BA PPE.

I am interested in supervising students in the broadly defined areas: media & democracy; political economy of media & cultural industries; media power; media & political resistance; media & radical politics; civil society & the media.

Research interests

Natalie has published widely on issues relating to news and journalism, media and democracy, media reform, civil society and the public sphere, radical politics, digital media and social change. She has particular interests in issues of political transformation, rethinking our understanding of public culture and the public sphere, radical media reform and re-imagining democracy.

She has researched and directed over 20 externally funded research projects receiving funding from a range of foundations and UKRI funding bodies.

She is currently directing two projects:

• The BBC and Beyond: Re-imagining Public Media: for the Media Reform Coalition, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.
• Policing the Political in Civil Society, funded by the British Academy (completed 2021).

She is writing a book for Polity Press with the working title: Democratic Delusions: How the media hollowed out democracy and what we can do about it.

Publications and research outputs


Davis, Aeron; Fenton, Natalie; Freedman, Des (D. J.) and Khiabany, Gholam. 2020. Media, Democracy and Social Change: Re-imagining Political Communications. London: SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781526456960

Fenton, Natalie; Freedman, Des (D. J.) ; Schlosberg, Justin and Dencik, Lina. 2020. The Media Manifesto. Cambridge: Polity. ISBN 9781509538065

Curran, James P.; Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2017. Misunderstanding the Internet, 2nd edition (in Korean). Seoul, South Korea: Culturelook. ISBN 97-11-85521-06-0-94300

Fenton, Natalie. 2016. Digital, Political, Radical. Cambridge: Polity Press. ISBN 9780745650876

Curran, James P.; Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2016. Misunderstanding the Internet 2nd Edition. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138906228

Curran, James P.; Freedman, Des (D. J.) and Fenton, Natalie. 2014. Hulianwang de Wudu (Misunderstanding the Internet). Beijing: People's University of China Press.

Curran, James P.; Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2012. Misunderstanding the Internet. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-57958-2:

Fenton, Natalie; Bryman, Alan; Deacon, David and Birmingham, Peter. 1997. Mediating Social Science. London: SAGE. ISBN 978-0803975774

Corner, John; Richardson, Kay and Fenton, Natalie. 1990. Nuclear Reactions: Form and Response in Public Issue Television. University of Luton Press: Acamedia. ISBN 978-0861962518

Edited Book

Fenton, Natalie, ed. 2009. New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age. London: SAGE. ISBN 978-1847875747

Tonkiss, Fran; Passey, Andrew; Fenton, Natalie and Hems, Les, eds. 2000. Trust and Civil Society. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0333778159

Edited Journal

Calabrese, Andrew and Fenton, Natalie, eds. 2015. A symposium on media, communication and the limits of liberalism, European Journal of Communication, 30(5). 0267-3231

Fenton, Natalie, ed. 2012. Telling Tales: Press, Politics, Power, and the Public Interest, Television and New Media, 13(1).

Fenton, Natalie, ed. 2010. Special Edition: ‘Rupert Murdoch and Empire’, Television and New Media, 13(1). 1527-4764

Book Section

Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2022. Media Reform and the Politics of Hope. In: Joanna Zylinska, ed. The Future of Media. London: Goldsmiths Press, pp. 25-41. ISBN 9781913380144

Fenton, Natalie. 2021. Corruption in the Fourth Estate: How the Guardian exposed phone hacking and reneged on reform of press regulation. In: Des (D. J.) Freedman, ed. Capitalism's Conscience: 200 Years of the Guardian. London: Pluto Press, pp. 169-185. ISBN 9780745343341

Fenton, Natalie. 2020. Distracted by technologies and captured by the public sphere. In: Leah Lievrouw and Brian Loader, eds. Routledge Handbook of Digital Media and Communication. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138672093

Fenton, Natalie. 2020. Afterword: Seeking resources of hope for a different type of emancipatory future? In: Cameron McCarthy; Koeli Moitra Goel; Ergin Bulut; Warren Crichlow; Brenda Nyandiko Sanya and Bryce Henson, eds. Spaces of New Colonialism: Reading Schools, Museums, and Cities in the Tumult of Globalization. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 363-377. ISBN 9781433152481

Fenton, Natalie. 2019. The Scandalous Power of the Press: Phone Hacking in the UK. In: Howard Tumber and Silvio Waisbord, eds. Routledge Companion to Media and Scandal. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780815387596

Fenton, Natalie. 2018. Media Activism: Media Change? In: Graham Meikle, ed. Routledge Companion to Media and Activism. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138202030

Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2017. Fake Democracy, Bad News. In: Leo Panitch and Gregory Albo, eds. Rethinking Democracy. 54 London: The Merlin Press, pp. 130-149. ISBN 9781583676714

Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2014. The Politics and Possibilities of Media Reform: Lessons from the UK. In: Toby Miller, ed. The Routledge Companion to Global Popular Culture. London & NY: Routledge, pp. 458-470. ISBN 978-0415641470

Fenton, Natalie. 2012. The Internet and Social Networking. In: James P. Curran; Natalie Fenton and Des (D. J.) Freedman, eds. Misunderstanding the Internet. Abingdon and New York: Routledge, pp. 123-148. ISBN 978-0-415-57956-8

Fenton, Natalie. 2012. De-democratizing the News? New Media and the Structural Practices of Journalism. In: Eugenia Siapera and Andreas Veglis, eds. The Handbook of Global Online Journalism. London: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 119-134. ISBN 978-1444338553

Fenton, Natalie. 2011. Multiplicity, autonomy and the mediated politics of new social movements. In: L Dahlberg and S Phelan, eds. Discourse Theory and Media Politics. London: Palgrave, pp. 178-200. ISBN 978-1137305947

Fenton, Natalie and Witschge, Tamara. 2010. 'Comment is free, facts are sacred': Journalistic ethics in a changing mediascape. In: G Meikle and G Redden, eds. News online : transformations and continuities. London: Palgrave, pp. 148-164. ISBN 9780230233454

Fenton, Natalie. 2010. NGOs, New Media and the Mainstream News: News from Everywhere. In: Natalie Fenton, ed. New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age. London: Sage, pp. 153-169. ISBN 9781847875747

Fenton, Natalie. 2009. Drowning or waving? New media, journalism and democracy. In: Natalie Fenton, ed. New Media, Old News: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age. London: SAGE, pp. 3-16. ISBN 978-1847875747

Fenton, Natalie. 2009. ‘New Media, Politics and Resistance’, in J. Downing and M. Pajnik (2009) (eds.) :. In: J Downing and M Pajnik, eds. Alternative Media and New Public Settings,. Ljubljana: The Peace Institute., pp. 61-81.

Fenton, Natalie. 2009. New Media, Politics and Resistance. In: John D H Downing and Mojca Painik, eds. Alternative Media and New Public Settings. Ljubljana: The Peace Institute.

Fenton, Natalie. 2009. News in the Digital Age. In: S Allan, ed. Routledge Companion to News and Journalism Studies. London: Routledge, pp. 557-568. ISBN 978-0-415-66953-5

Fenton, Natalie. 2009. ‘Re-imagining democracy: new media, young people, participation and politics’ in P. Dahlgren and T. Olson (2009 - Nov), Young Citizens, ICT’s and Democracy. In: , ed. Young Citizens, ICT’s and Democracy. Sweden: Nordicom Press, pp. 19-35. ISBN ?

Fenton, Natalie. 2007. Bridging the Mythical Divide: Political Economy and Cultural Studies Approaches to the Analysis of the Media. In: Eoin Devereux, ed. Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates. London: SAGE, pp. 7-31. ISBN 978-1412929837

Fenton, Natalie. 2006. Contesting Global Capital, New Media, Solidarity, and the role of Social Imaginary. In: Bart Cammaerts and Nico Carpentier, eds. Reclaiming the Media: Communication Rights and Democratic Media Roles. Bristol: Intellect, pp. 225-242. ISBN 9781841501635


Fenton, Natalie; Freedman, Des (D. J.) ; Khiabany, Gholam and Williamson, Milly. 2023. Critiquing the Vocabularies of the Marketized University. Media Theory, 7(1), pp. 277-298. ISSN 2557-826X

Fenton, Natalie. 2023. Critique is Dead – Long Live Critique: A response to Finlayson and Cusset. Media Theory, 7(1), pp. 63-74. ISSN 2557-826X

Fenton, Natalie. 2023. Understanding Civic Participation and Realizing Data Justice. International Journal of Communication, 17, pp. 3660-3678. ISSN 1932–8036

Fenton, Natalie. 2022. A commentary: Communication, democracy and social change in crisis times – Disrupting power, dismantling injustices. Media & Jornalismo, 22(41), pp. 21-39. ISSN 1645‑5681

Fenton, Natalie. 2020. Indymedia and the long story of rebellion against neoliberal capitalism. Media, Culture & Society, 42(6), pp. 1052-1058. ISSN 0163-4437

Fenton, Natalie. 2018. Regulation is Freedom: phone hacking, press regulation and the Leveson Inquiry – the story so far. Communications Law, 23(3), ISSN 1746-7616

Fenton, Natalie and Freedman, Des (D. J.) . 2018. Democracia fake, más notícias. Comunicação & Educação, 23(1), pp. 107-126. ISSN 2316-9125

Fenton, Natalie. 2018. Fake Democracy: The Limits of Public Sphere Theory. Javnost - The Public, 25(1-2), pp. 28-34. ISSN 1318-3222

Fenton, Natalie. 2016. Post-democracy, Press, Politics and Power. The Political Quarterly, 87(1), pp. 81-85. ISSN 0032-3179

Fenton, Natalie. 2015. Left Out? Digital Media, Radical Politics and Social Change. Information, Communication & Society, 19(3), pp. 346-361. ISSN 1369-118X

Fenton, Natalie and Titley, Gavan. 2015. Mourning and Longing: Media Studies learning to let go of liberal democracy. European Journal of Communication, 30(5), pp. 554-570. ISSN 0267-3231

Fenton, Natalie. 2014. Defending Whose Democracy? Media Freedom and Media Power. Nordicom Review, 35, pp. 31-43. ISSN 2001-5119

Fenton, Natalie. 2013. News Journalism, New Media, Democracy and the Public Interest. Medienjournal, 3, pp. 19-38.

Fenton, Natalie. 2012. Telling Tales: Press, Politics, Power and the Public Interest. Television and New Media, 13(1), pp. 3-6. ISSN 1527-4764

Fenton, Natalie. 2011. Cosmopolitanism as Conformity and Contestation: the mainstream press and radical politics. Journalism Studies, 14(2), pp. 172-186. ISSN 1461-670X

Fenton, Natalie. 2011. Deregulation or democracy? New media, news, neoliberalism and the public interest. Contiuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 25(1), pp. 63-72. ISSN 1030-4312

Barassi, Veronica and Fenton, Natalie. 2011. Alternative Media and Social Networking Sites: the Politics of Individuation and Political Participation. Communication Review, 14(3), pp. 179-196. ISSN 1071-4421

Fenton, Natalie. 2011. Deregulation or democracy? New media, news, neoliberalism and the public interest. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 25(1), pp. 16-22. ISSN 1030-4312

Fenton, Natalie. 2009. My Media Studies: Getting Political in a Global Digital Age. Television and New Media, 10(1), pp. 55-57. ISSN 1527-4764

Fenton, Natalie. 2008. Mediating Hope: New Media, Politics and Resistance. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 11(2), pp. 230-248. ISSN 1367-8779

Fenton, Natalie. 2008. Mediating Solidarity. Global Media and Communication, 4(1), pp. 37-57. ISSN 1742-7665

Fenton, Natalie and Downey, J.. 2007. Global Capital Local Resistance? Trade Unions National Newspapers and the Symbolic Contestation of Offshoring in the UK. Current Sociology, 55(5), pp. 651-673. ISSN 00113921

Fenton, Natalie and Downey, John. 2003. New Media, Counter Publicity and the Public Sphere. New Media & Society, 5(2), pp. 185-202. ISSN 14614448

Fenton, Natalie and Downey, J.. 2003. Counter Public Spheres and Global Modernity. Javnost - The Public, 10(1), pp. 15-32. ISSN 13183222

Conference or Workshop Item

Barassi, Veronica and Fenton, Natalie. 2010. 'Alternative Media and Social Networking Sites: The Politics of Individuation and Political Participation'. In: Community and Communication Section at the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). Braga, Portugal.


Freedman, Des (D. J.) ; Fenton, Natalie; Metykova, Monika and Schlosberg, Justin. 2010. Meeting the News Needs of Local Communities. Project Report. Commissioned by Media Trust.

Freedman, Des (D. J.) ; Witschge, Tamara and Fenton, Natalie. 2010. Protecting the News: Civil Society and the Media. Project Report. Carnegie UK.

Further profile content

Professional projects

As an engaged and critical scholar Natalie constantly combines her research with activism beyond the academy: she was Vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the campaign group Hacked Off for 7 years and a founding member and former Chair of the UK Media Reform Coalition. She is currently on the Board of Declassified UK an investigative journalism website for in-depth analysis on British foreign policy.

Research projects

2021: The BBC and Beyond: Imagining a Media Commons
The BBC and Beyond is a campaign from the Media Reform Coalition. Combining interviews and 9 'town-hall' events (watched by 30,000 people) we produced a Manifesto for a People’s Media

Media engagements

2017: Investigating the Echo Chamber
Portland's Deirdre Livingston interviews Natalie about the effects on the world from our everyday lives to democracy


2019: How the British media helped Boris Johnson win
Opinion piece

2020: Covid-19 and the ownership and control of the media
Opinion piece

2022: Media Matters
A short film made by Carl Joyce and Mike Quille, with the support of the Communication Workers Union.

2022: How the UK Media Could Serve the Public Interest
A piece discussing ideas for media reform from 'A Manifesto for a People's Media'

Conferences and talks

2016: Media and Politics
Sage Video Experts

2021: Misinformation in News
Public Talk

2021: Media Reform

2021: How the media let the government get away with over 100,000 deaths
Owen Jones Show

2023: Interview with Miriam Lewis of Defensoria del Publico
Interview with Defensoria del Publico de Argentina (Spanish translation)

Articles related to Professor Natalie Fenton