Prof Kurt Barling


Prof Kurt Barling
NameProf Kurt Barling
Job titleTheme Director & Professor of Journalism (Practice)
Research institute
Primary appointmentSchool of Arts
Email addressK.Barling@mdx.ac.uk
ORCIDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2233-2044
Contact categoryResearcher

Biography

Biography

Professor Kurt Barling (Academic, Broadcaster, Author)

I began my career as an academic at the London School of Economics where I was a lecturer and researcher in International Relations.  In 1989 I began a career as a BBC journalist and over a 26-year career I worked in war zones, covered famines and natural disasters, reporting from dozens of countries worldwide, cheating death on at least one occasion.  I interviewed scores of senior politicians including Presidents and Ministers (including the only British interview with President Francois Mitterrand), senior military and business figures as well as some of the most notorious criminals in recent British history.  I am most proud of the number of awards I received for reporting on issues of diversity from Africa, the Caribbean, North America and Europe.

I became a journalist after getting caught up in the 1985 Broadwater Farm riots, on which subject I reported regularly over many years including the award-winning ‘Who Killed PC Blakelock?’ BBC drama-documentary in 2005.  I was part of the team responsible for the first BBC documentary made from the former East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and spent 25 years working across News and Current Affairs.  Most notably I reported and produced for Assignment, The Money Programme, Today, Newsnight, Money Box, Black Britain, The One Show, BBC News and finally as the Special Correspondent for BBC London News. 

Since 2015 I have been the Professor of Journalism at Middlesex University and am now part of the senior leadership team as Theme Director for Enterprise and Culture.  I am a multi-award-winning investigative journalist and documentary-maker who built a reputation for incisive journalism working on major investigations (sometimes undercover) into terrorism, child abuse in religious institutions, deaths in custody and modern child slavery.  My groundbreaking investigations into the Lakanal Fire (2009-13) foreshadowed the work that has been done in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.  I reported more than 2000 stories for the BBC. 

I am the author and editor of 4 books including Darkness over Germany published in Germany (2016), the UK (2017) and the United States (2018).   I was twice invited to present first editions of the German and English versions of this book to HM Queen Elizabeth.  In 2015 I published the book described by the Times as an "eloquent polemic”, The R Word: Racism and in 2014 a revelatory book on the security services’ role in sheltering Abu Hamza from scrutiny in the early noughties, before Hamza was finally deported and convicted in New York in 2014 for terror related crimes.  

Since 2021 I have been on the board of Park Theatre in Finsbury Park North London noted as a pioneering venue for hard hitting and challenging theatre.  I am a regular contributor to international TV and Radio News stations commenting on international affairs and equality, diversity and inclusion among other subjects.  My latest long-form appearance is on the international Franco-German documentary 3-part series for Arte in September 2023 Europe: Land of Jihad

I earned a first-class degree in Languages and Politics (1984) before winning scholarships to study for a Masters degree in Comparative Government (1985) and a PhD in International Relations (1989) from the London School of Economics and Sciences Po (Paris).  I remain fluent in French and German.

My current research work looks at the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the future of journalism and I have been an adviser to a Silicon Valley start-up Knowherenews.com which found a successful exit when it was acquihired in 2022 by the world’s largest Venture Capital company in AUM, A16z.   I have written on inequality in the media and the issues of diversity in broadcasting.

I am an active judge on numerous national Media Awards from the RTS, to BAFTA and the Press Gazette Awards, Regional Journalism Awards and the Orwell Prize.  I joined forces with Robert Peston, at the outset of the latter’s Speaker4Schools programme, and regularly give motivational talks in comprehensive schools.

Fellow Royal Society of Arts

Trustee, Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, London

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

Teaching

PhD Supervision - Digital Transformations in The Media Landscape

MSc Digital Journalism. JCM4003 Technological Advance, Trends and Innovation in an Age of Digital Disruption

BA Creative Writing & Journalism

Employment

Senior Broadcaster
BBC
01 Sept 1989
31 Mar 2014

Education and qualifications

Grants

Prizes and Awards

External activities

Research outputs

Automated journalism in UK local newsrooms: attitudes, integration, impact

Thäsler-Kordonouri, S. and Barling, K. 2023. Automated journalism in UK local newsrooms: attitudes, integration, impact. Journalism Practice. https://doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2023.2184413

Racial economic inequality: the visible tip of an inequality iceberg

Barling, K. 2022. Racial economic inequality: the visible tip of an inequality iceberg. in: Schifferes, S. and Knowles, S. (ed.) The Media and Inequality London Routledge.

Connecting theory and practice through experiential learning: a co-curricular case study from the ‘Journalism Conversation Series’

Barling, K. and Knowles, S. 2019. Connecting theory and practice through experiential learning: a co-curricular case study from the ‘Journalism Conversation Series’. 5th World Journalism Education Congress. Paris

News: fact or fiction?

Barling, K. 2022. News: fact or fiction? in: Harrison, J. and McKernan, L. (ed.) Breaking The News London British Library Publishing. pp. 179-188

Seeing is believing

Barling, K. 2022. Seeing is believing. in: Harrison, J. and McKernan, L. (ed.) Breaking The News London British Library Publishing. pp. 150-163

In the public interest

Barling, K. 2022. In the public interest. in: Harrison, J. and McKernan, L. (ed.) Breaking The News London British Library Publishing. pp. 125-136

Putting the black in Britain back on the BBC

Barling, K. 2022. Putting the black in Britain back on the BBC. Critical Studies in Television. 17 (2), pp. 154-169. https://doi.org/10.1177/17496020211067745

Making local public interest journalism viable again: an opportunity for human computer interaction?

Barling, K. and Thäsler-Kordonouri, S. 2021. Making local public interest journalism viable again: an opportunity for human computer interaction? Future of Journalism Conference: Overcoming Obstacles in Journalism. Cardiff/Online 23 - 24 Sep 2021

Putting the black into Britain

Barling, K. 2021. Putting the black into Britain. Representology: The Journal of Media and Diversity. 2, pp. 18-23.

Is local journalism failing? Local voices in the aftermath of the Grenfell and Lakanal fire disasters

Barling, K. 2020. Is local journalism failing? Local voices in the aftermath of the Grenfell and Lakanal fire disasters. in: Thorsen, E. and Matthews, J. (ed.) Media, Journalism and Disaster Communities Cham, Switzerland Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 165-177

Can Untold Stories be told with the demise of local journalism

Barling, K. 2019. Can Untold Stories be told with the demise of local journalism. AJE UK - Untold Stories - Association Journalism Education, 1st international conference held prior to 5th World Journalism Education Congress/. Paris, France 08 - 11 Jul 2019

A topic model analysis approach to understand Twitter public discourse: Grenfell Tower Fire case study

Barling, K. and Chamil, R. 2018. A topic model analysis approach to understand Twitter public discourse: Grenfell Tower Fire case study. Internet, Policy & Politics Conference: IPP2018 Long Live Democracy!. St Anne's College, Oxford University 20 - 21 Sep 2018

Foreword to Darkness Over Germany Audiobook

Barling, K. 2018. Foreword to Darkness Over Germany Audiobook. in: Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History by E. Amy Buller Audible Studios.

Is our curriculum too white? Don't BAME me....

Barling, K. 2018. Is our curriculum too white? Don't BAME me.... HEA Annual Conference 2018,Teaching in the spotlight: Learning from global communities. University of Aston, Birmingham 03 - 05 Jul 2018

Experiential learning: is critical reflection a bridge from practice to theory?

Barling, K. 2018. Experiential learning: is critical reflection a bridge from practice to theory? AJE Annual Conference 2018. Canterbury Christ Church University 29 Jun 2018

Grenfell Tower - social media & public narrative

Barling, K. 2017. Grenfell Tower - social media & public narrative. Fourth International Conference on Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Sciences (ERPBSS-2018). Dubai 16 - 18 Jan 2018

Script Consultant [for End of the Pier By Danny Robins]

Barling, K. 2018. Script Consultant [for End of the Pier By Danny Robins]. London Playdead Press.

Foreword to Darkness Over Germany

Barling, K. 2018. Foreword to Darkness Over Germany. in: Darkness Over Germany: A Warning from History by E. Amy Buller Northampton Massachusetts USA Interlink Books. pp. vii-xxxvi

We've been here before

Barling, K. 2017. We've been here before. British Journalism Review. 28 (3), pp. 30-35. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956474817730766

Investigation of Lakanal House Fire

Barling, K. 2017. Investigation of Lakanal House Fire.

Foreword to Darkness Over Germany

Barling, K. 2017. Foreword to Darkness Over Germany. in: Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History by E. Amy Buller London Arcadia Books. pp. vii-xxxiv

Urge to Paint

Barling, K. 2017. Urge to Paint. Goldsmiths University

Finsternis in Deutschland: Was die Deutschen dachten. Interviews einer Engländerin 1934-1938

Buller, A. and Barling, K. Barling, K. (ed.) 2016. Finsternis in Deutschland: Was die Deutschen dachten. Interviews einer Engländerin 1934-1938. Munchen Elisabeth Sandmann Verlag GmbH.

The 'R' word: racism

Barling, K. 2015. The 'R' word: racism. London, UK Biteback Publishing.

Hidden heroes: soldiers from the empire

Barling, K. 2015. Hidden heroes: soldiers from the empire. Bruce Castle Museum, London 01 Oct 2015 - 30 Jun 2016

Abu Hamza: guilty: the fight against radical Islam

Barling, K. and Hassaïne, R. 2014. Abu Hamza: guilty: the fight against radical Islam. London Redshank Books.

Hidden Histories: Soldiers from the Empire

Barling, K. and Garfield, J. 2014. Hidden Histories: Soldiers from the Empire.

Economic development in Africa: international efforts, issues and prospects

Akinrinade, O. and Barling, K. 2013. Economic development in Africa: international efforts, issues and prospects. UK Bloomsbury Academic.

Nigeria: the edge of the abyss

Barling, K. and Akinrinade, O. 1998. Nigeria: the edge of the abyss. The World Today. 54 (7), pp. 200-202.
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