Dr Martin Scott is a Lecturer in Media and International Development in the School of International Development (DEV). He is author of Media and Development (Zed Books, 2014) and has written academic articles and book chapters on the subjects of celebrities and development, representations of Africa, mediated cosmopolitanism and the role of popular culture in politics. See ‘research’ tab for further details.

He teaches on courses in media, politics and development at undergraduate and postgraduate level and directs the MA in Media and International Development and the new BA in Media and International Development. He has been awarded both a UEA Excellence in Teaching award and a UEA award for Community and Public Engagement.

Dr Scott has produced a number of reports, guidelines and evaluations for organisations including UNESCO, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT), the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) and Mediae.

His research on celebrity, UK audiences and development has recently featured on BBC Newsnight, The New York Times, The Independent and the Daily Mail. His new book on Media and Development (Zed Books) featured in The Guardian as one of 10 recommended books for students on international development. Dr Scott has also recently become co-convenor of the Development Studies Association (DSA) ‘media and development’ study group.

Career History

Before joining the University of East Anglia as a lecturer in 2009, Dr Scott worked as a secondary school teacher. He has taught in secondary schools in the UK, Kenya and in the British Overseas Territory of St. Helena.

Academic Background

  • 2012 - PhD, University of East Anglia, The mediation of distant others. No corrections.

  • 2012 - PGCert in Higher Education, University of East Anglia.

  • 2006 - MA International Relations and Development Studies, University of East Anglia. Distinction.

  • 2005 - PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) Secondary Geography with ICT, Bath Spa University.

  • 2004 - BA Geography with Development Studies, University of Sussex.

Contact details:
Dr. Martin Scott
Room 1.66, Arts Building
School of International Development
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ
T: +44(0)1603 593373

Key Research Interests

I am the co-convenor of the Development Studies Association (DSA) Media and Development study group and have been a trustee for NEAD - the Development Education Centre in Norfolk – since 2011. I am currently supervising two PhD students - Viviane Fluck (participatory communication and social resilience) and Pablo Dalby (transformative pedagogy through global education). Links to my recent blogs can be found here. @martinscott2010  


Humanitarian news: Content and Production (2015-2016)

I am currently starting a new research project investigating the production and content of humanitarian news, with Kate Wright (University of Roehampton) and Mel Bunce (City University). 


Representations of Africa (2008 and 2014-2015)

I have, on two separate occasions, conducted research into media representations of Africa that has challenged conventional thinking on this subject. Most recently, I conducted a comprehensive scoping review of all empirical research into US and UK media representations of Africa published between 1990 and 2014. The results showed that existing research has a remarkably narrow focus on a specific number of countries, events, media and texts. Research into representations of North Africa, Francophone Africa, non-news genres, non-elite media and radio content, is particularly scarce. This, I contend, provides an insufficient basis for reaching any firm, generalizable conclusions about the nature of media coverage of Africa. The widespread belief that representations of Africa are characterised by Afro-pessimism, for example, is not substantiated. In addition, my first peer-reviewed journal article, in 2008, discussed the results of a content analysis of UK press coverage of Africa which showed that coverage of Africa was, ‘not as marginalised, negative or trivial as is often assumed’. I am also currently acting as a mentor for Dr Mel Bunce (City University) on a British Council funded project entitled - Using content analysis to explore the changing international news coverage of Africa.

  • Scott, M. (In review) Representations of Africa in the US and UK media: A comprehensive scoping review of the literature.

  • Scott, M. (In draft) The terrible ironies of research into media coverage of Africa: How not to write about writing about Africa. In M. Bunce, S. Franks and C. Paterson (eds.) (forthcoming) Africa's Media Image in the 21st Century.

  • Scott, M. (2009) Marginalised, Negative or Trivial? Coverage of Africa in the UK Press. Media, Culture and Society, 31:4. 533–557.


Communication about Media and Development (2013-2014)

I have recently published a book, based largely on my teaching, entitled Media and Development (2014 Zed Books). The aim of the book is to help the reader acquire an informed and critical understanding of the multiple roles that the media can have in development. It provides concise and original introductions to the study and practice of communication for development (C4D), media development and media representations of development. In doing so it highlights the increasing importance of the media, whilst at the same time emphasising the varieties, complexities and contingencies of its role in social change. This book has been positively reviewed, with Lilie Chouliaraki describing it as ‘insightful and eloquent’ and The Guardian including it in their 2014 list of 10 recommended books for students on international development. 

  • Scott, M. (2014) Media and Development. Zed Books. London.


The Mediation of Distant Suffering – Online and via Celebrities (2012-2014)

After completing my PhD I wrote two further articles focussed on how audiences respond to the mediation of distant suffering. The first article discussed the results of a two month study of UK internet users’ online behaviour. The results revealed, not just a general resistance to using the internet to develop a cosmopolitan consciousness, but also the dominant modes of avoidance research participants used to justify their inactivity. I conclude that the potential for digital cosmopolitanism appears to be primarily governed, not by the peculiarities of individual texts or even the properties of the technology, but by the nature and acceptability of pre-existing discursive resources and how they are deployed by users. In the second article, I discussed data which indicated that while celebrities certainly help to shape our mediated experiences of distant suffering, they are generally ineffective in cultivating a cosmopolitan engagement in such circumstances.

  • Scott, M (2014) The role of celebrities in mediating distant suffering. International Journal of Cultural Studies. (Online First)

  • Scott M (2013) The ironic spectator: Solidarity in the age of posthumanitarianism. Critical Discourse Studies 10(3): 344–346

  • Scott, M. (In review) Distant suffering online: The unfortunate irony of cyber-utopian narratives


The Mediation of Distant Others (2008-2012)

My PhD was concerned with how UK television regulates spectators’ mediated experiences of Others from foreign countries. My research involved a number of content analyses, a large scale audience study involving two phases of focus groups separated by a two-month diary study, as well as discourse analysis involving an adapted version of Lilie Chouliaraki’s analytics of mediation. The results showed that research participants’ mediated experiences of distant suffering were generally characterised by indifference and solitary enjoyment, with respect to distant and dehumanised distant others. However, the results also signalled that, in various ways, non-news factual television programming offers spectators a more proximate, active and complex mediated experience of distant suffering than television news. Alongside my PhD I wrote a number of publications, on the same subject, for the Department for International Development (DFID), the International Broadcasting Trust (IBT) and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA).

  • Scott, M. (2014) The Mediation of Distant Suffering: An Empirical Contribution Beyond Television News Texts. Media, Culture and Society. 36:1, 3-19.

  • Scott, M. (2014) Encountering Distant Others? Reconsidering the Appearance of International Coverage for the Study of Mediated Cosmopolitanism. In Y. Aybige and R. Trandafoiu (eds.) Media and Cosmopolitanism. Peter Lang.

  • Scott, M. (2013) More News is Bad News: Expanding the Scope of Studies of ‘the Public Faces of Development’ and ‘Media and Morality'. In D. Lewis, D. Rodgers & M. Woolcock (eds.) Popular Representations of Development: Insights from Novels, Films, Television and Social Media. Routledge.

  • Scott, M. (2011) Outside the Box: UK Television Coverage of Developing Countries, IBT.

  • Scott, M. (2009) The World in Focus: How UK Audiences Connect with the Wider World and the International Content of News in 2009. CBA / IBT.

  • Scott, M. (2008) Screening the World: How the UK Portrayed the Wider World in 2007-8. IBT, DFID.


From Entertainment to Citizenship (2009-2011)

I worked as the research associate for the ESRC funded project - From entertainment to citizenship? A comparative study of the political uses of popular culture by first-time voters. The principal investigators were Prof. John Street and Dr. Sanna Inthorn.The aim of this project was to investigate how young people connect the pleasures of popular culture to the world at large. For them, popular culture is not simply a matter of escapism and entertainment, but of engagement too. Our research revealed how the young use shows like X-factor to comment on how power ought to be used, and how they respond to those pop stars - like Bono and Bob Geldof - who claim to represent them. The primary outputs of this research were a book - From Entertainment to Citizenship (Manchester University Press, 2013) and a number of co-authored, peer-reviewed journal articles.

  • Street, J. Inthorn, S. & Scott, M. (2013) Entertainment to Citizenship: Politics and Popular Culture. Manchester University Press. 

  • Scott, M. Street, J. & Inthorn, S. (2011) From Entertainment to Citizenship: A Comparative Study of the Political Uses of Popular Culture by First-Time Voters. International Journal of Cultural Studies. 14:5, 499–514.

  • Inthorn, S. Street, J. & Scott, M. (2012) Popular Culture: A Resource for Political Engagement. Cultural Sociology.  7:3, 336-351.

  • Street, J, Inthorn, S. & Scott, M. (2011) Playing at Politics? Popular Culture as Political Engagement. Parliamentary Affairs. 6, 1–21.


Public Service Broadcasters, Media Literacy and User-Generated Content (2008-2009)

In 2008 and 2009 I produced a report and a set of guidelines for UNESCO and the Public Media Alliance concerning the role of public service broadcasters in promoting media literacy and user generated content. The guidelines have been used in projects by broadcasters in Latin America and Southern Africa and have been translated into Spanish, French and Arabic and converted into an e-book.

  • Scott, M. (2009) Guidelines for Broadcasters on Encouraging Media and Information Literacy and User-Generated Content. UNESCO / CBA.

  • Scott, M. (2008) Media Literacy from the Perspective of Broadcasters and User-Generated Content Producers around the World. UNESCO / CBA.


Conference papers

  • Scott, M. (2015) Representations of Africa in the US and UK media: A comprehensive scoping review of the literature. Global Humanitarianism and Modern Culture. Sussex. February 2015.

  • Scott, M. (2014) How not to write about writing about Africa. Development Studies Association UK. London. 1 November 2014.

  • Scott, M. (2014) The terrible irony of research into media coverage of Africa. African Studies Association UK. Sussex. September 2014.

  • Scott, M. (2014) Introduction, co-chair and book launch at - Sensational(ising) Development: Analysing media representation of international development. Development Studies Association: Media and Development Study Group Workshop. London. 19 June 2014

  • Scott, M. (2014) Bringing the World to the UK: Communicating Research and the Challenges of Impact. Academia 2.0: challenges of impact, communication, and relevance. Manchester. 29 April 2014.

  • Scott, M. (2014) Distant suffering online: The unfortunate irony of cyber-utopian narratives. International Symposium on Sustainability and the Celebrity-Business-Development Nexus. Copenhagen. 9 May 2014.

  • Scott, M. (2013) Problematising ‘Africa Rising’. Development Studies Association UK. Birmingham. 16November 2013.

  • Scott, M. (2013) How not to write about (media coverage of) Africa: Challenging research into Afro-pessimism and the international media. International Communication Association. London. 17-21 June 2013.

  • Scott, M. (2013) ‘It's all false to me’: The role of celebrities in mediating distant others. International Communication Association. London. 17-21 June 2013.

  • Scott, M. (2012) Putting celebrity advocacy in context: A study of audience responses. Capitalism, Democracy and Celebrity Advocacy Symposium. Manchester. 19-20 June 2012.

  • Scott, M. (2012) The role of celebrities in mediating distant others. Orecomm Festival. Copenhagen. 17-21 August 2012.

  • Scott, M. (2012) Media Matters – But Why? Opening presentation. Media Matters Student Conference. Cambridge. March 2012.

  • Scott, M. (2011) More news is bad news: Expanding the scope of studies of mediated cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism, Media and Global Crisis. Kingston University. 4 June 2011.

  • Scott, M., Inthorn, S., Street, J. (2008) From entertainment to citizenship A comparative study of representations of citizenship in television, video-games and music. CRESC Conference, Culture and Citizenship. Oxford. 3-5 September 2008.

Teaching Interests

I am the programme director for a Masters and an undergraduate degree in Media and International Development and I teach on courses in media, politics and development. I have received a UEA award for Excellence in Teaching and I currently supervise two PhD students. I have recently taught on modules including;

  • Media and International Development
  • Media and Development in Practice
  • Media and Society
  • Governance, Development and Democracy
  • Geographies of Development
  • Politics and Development
  • Wars, Humanitarian Crises and Aid