Rodney Benson

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Rodney Benson is an associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. He is also an affiliated faculty member in the NYU Department of Sociology and has been a visiting scholar or invited lecturer at universities in France (Institut d’etudes politiques, Toulouse; Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales, Paris), Germany (Universities of Bremen and Weimar), Denmark (Copenhagen Business School, Roskilde University), and Norway (University of Oslo). Before joining the NYU faculty, he was an assistant professor of international communications at the American University of Paris.

Benson is a leading scholar of comparative news media systems, specializing in studies of journalism in the U.S., France, and other western European countries. His most recent book Shaping Immigration News: A French-American Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2013) offers a comprehensive portrait of French and American journalists in action as they grapple with how to report on the topic of immigration. He also has written extensively about news coverage of cultural globalization, alternative media, and the social theories of Pierre Bourdieu and Jürgen Habermas. He is the co-editor, with Erik Neveu, of Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Cambridge, UK: Polity), a widely cited book that helped introduce the work of Pierre Bourdieu to media and communications research. Goldsmith’s-University of London professor Nick Couldry wrote of the book: “Media research inspired by field theory, when at its most original (as represented by many essays in this fine volume), is an indispensable tool for understanding [many aspects of contemporary media]: we are all in Benson and Neveu’s debt for putting this tool into wider circulation.”[1]

Benson is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Press/Politics.[2] His comparative media research has been featured in the Columbia Journalism Review,[3] on Jay Rosen’s Pressthink blog[4] and on the website of the media reform organization Free Press.[5] He received a “Top Paper” award at the International Communication Association’s annual conference in 2005 for a comparative study of the French and U.S. press (co-authored with UC-San Diego political scientist Dan Hallin, and subsequently published in the European Journal of Communication).[6] Benson is the recipient of a major research grant from the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation to support study of forms of media ownership in the U.S., France, and Sweden.[7]


  • Ph.D. Sociology at UC-Berkeley, 2000
  • MA Sociology at UC-Berkeley, 1994
  • MIA International Affairs at Columbia University, 1994
  • BA Journalism and Mass Communications Iowa State University, 1983

Notable publications[edit]

Shaping Immigration News: A French-American Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

"Commercialism and Critique: California's Alternative Weeklies." In J. Curran and N. Couldry, eds., Contesting Media Power: Alternative Media in a Networked World (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003): 111-127. view

“Bringing the Sociology of Media Back In.” Political Communication, 21 (2004): 275-292. view

(with Erik Neveu, Eds.) Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2005). view

“Constructing Social Problems in an Age of Globalization: A French-American Comparison.” (with Abigail C. Saguy). American Sociological Review 70, 2 (2005): 233-259. view

“How States, Markets and Globalization Shape the News: The French and U.S. National Press, 1965-1997.” (with Daniel C. Hallin). European Journal of Communication 22, 1 (2007): 27-48. view

“What Makes for a Critical Press? A Case Study of French and U.S. Immigration News Coverage.” International Journal of Press/Politics, 15, 1 (2010): 3-24. view


External links[edit]