Rodney Benson

Rodney Benson is Professor and former Department Chair of Media, Culture, and Communication and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Sociology at New York University.

His book, How Media Ownership Matters (with Timothy Neff, Mattias Hessérus, and Julie Sedel) is forthcoming from Oxford University Press in late 2023/early 2024. Drawing on interviews, organizational data, and news content analysis from Sweden, France, and the United States, the book goes beyond the standard media concentration debate to explore how different forms of media ownership (hypercommercial, private, civil society, and public) facilitate different types of journalism.

Benson’s previous book, Shaping Immigration News: A French-American Comparison (Cambridge, 2013), is the winner of the 2020 Doris Graber Award for Best Book of the Decade in Political Communication, the 2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book of the Decade Award , and the 2014 AEJMC Tankard Book Award.

Silvio Waisbord, former editor of the Journal of Communication, has praised the book as “a sophisticated, elegant, and evidence-packed cross-national analysis that will be a go-to reference for comparative media research.”

Benson is also editor (with Erik Neveu) of Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Polity 2005; Chinese translation, Zhejiang University Press 2017) and co-author (with Matthew Powers) of Public Media and Political Independence: Lessons for the Future of Journalism from Around the World (Free Press, 2011).

Benson has been a visiting scholar or invited lecturer at universities in France (EHESS-Paris, CELSA-Sorbonne, IEP-Toulouse, IEP-Rennes, University of Montpellier), Germany (Universities of Bremen, Munich, Mannheim, Weimar), Switzerland (University of Zurich), Denmark (Copenhagen Business School, University of Copenhagen, Roskilde University, University of Southern Denmark), Norway (University of Oslo), Sweden (Bonnier Professorship, University of Stockholm), and Finland (University of Helsinki).

Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Benson was assistant professor of international communication and sociology at The American University of Paris; prior to his academic career, he was chief speechwriter for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin.  He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley and an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University.

Benson is a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Press/PoliticsJournalismPoetics Sociologica, and Politiques de Communication.

Benson’s research and theoretical articles have appeared in many leading sociological and media/communications journals, including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, American Sociologist, American Behavioral Scientist, Political Communication, Journalism, Journalism StudiesInternational Journal of Press/Politics, and Journal of Communication. He has also published articles in Le Monde Diplomatique, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Conversation. His research and comments have been featured in major international news media, such as The Atlantic, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, Columbia Journalism Review, Harvard NiemanLab, Axios, Le Monde, L’Obs, Haaretz, ARD (Germany), France Culture & NPR.

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