Rodney Benson

Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

Rodney Benson

Phone: 998 5820

Rodney Benson is associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. He is also an affiliated faculty member in the NYU Dept. of Sociology and has been a visiting scholar or invited lecturer at universities in France (Toulouse IEP, Paris EHESS), Germany (Universities of Bremen and Weimar), Denmark (Copenhagen Business School, Roskilde University), Norway (University of Oslo), and Finland (University of Helsinki). 

Benson's research lies at the intersection of the sociology of culture, the sociology of globalization, political communication, and journalism studies.

Benson is the author of Shaping Immigration News: A French-American Comparison (Cambridge, 2013) and co-author (with Matthew Powers) of the Free Press policy report Public Media and Political Independence (2011). He is also the editor (with Erik Neveu) of Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Polity, 2005).

His numerous articles on comparative media research, media and immigration, the U.S. and French (and other European) news media, and the theories of Bourdieu and Habermas have been published in such journals as Press/Politics, The American Sociologist, Poetics, Political Communication, American Sociological Review, European Journal of Communication, Media, Culture & Society, Theory and Society, French Politics, Culture & Society, and Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales. He has also published articles of media criticism in the Christian Science Monitor, AlJazeera.com, and Le Monde Diplomatique.

Benson has also written book chapters on U.S. alternative newsweeklies in Contesting Media Power (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003, J. Curran and N. Couldry, eds.), comparative media research in The Routledge  Companion to News Media and Journalism Studies (Routledge, 2009, S. Allan, ed.), journalism and the internet in New Media, Old News (Sage, 2009, N. Fenton, ed.), reconceptualizing media sociology in Media Sociology: A Reappraisal (Polity, 2014, S. Waisbord, ed.), and de-westerning media theory in Internationalizing International Communication (Michigan, in press, C.C. Le, ed.).

He serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Press/Politics and Politiques de Communication.

Benson has taught the PhD and MA core theory seminars, a PhD/MA course on comparative media systems/production of culture (cross-listed with sociology), and undergraduate courses on media and globalization, public relations and the public sphere, and production of culture. 

Prior to joining the NYU faculty, he was assistant professor of international communications and sociology at The American University of Paris. He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California-Berkeley. 

Selected Presentations


  • 2010 : Axel and Margaret Ax:Son Johnson Foundation (Sweden) Grant for Research on Media Ownership
  • 2008 : NYU Global Fellowship (Paris research)
  • 2008 : NYU Steinhardt Methodology Award (online news media research)
  • 2007 : NYU Humanities Council Grant
  • 2005 : "MediaCity" European Union Fellowship, Bauhaus University, Weimar, Germany
  • 2005 : Top Paper Award (one of three awarded; co-authored with Dan Hallin), Political Communication Division, ICA conference, New York
  • 2005 : Top Journal Article Nomination (one of six articles nominated), Political Communication Division, ICA conference, New York.
  • 2005 : NYU University Challenge Fund Grant
  • 2004 : NYU Steinhardt Challenge Fund Grant
  • 2002 : Council for European Studies, Young Scholars Network Travel Grant


  • PhD Core Theory Seminar
  • MA Core Theory Seminar
  • PhD/MA Seminar (cross-listed with Sociology): Comparative Media Systems / Production of Culture
  • Undergraduate Course: Media and Globalization
  • Undergraduate Senior Seminar: Public Opinion
  • Undergraduate Senior Seminar: Public Relations and the Public Sphere
  • Undergraduate Senior Seminar: Production of Culture

Selected Publications

  • Rodney Benson. 2013. Shaping Immigration News: A French-American Comparison (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). (link)
  • Rodney Benson. 2013. “Culture Meets Media… Media Rising.” ASA Culture Section Newsletter (December) 26, 3: 20-22. (view)
  • Matthew Powers and Rodney Benson. 2014. "Is the Internet Homogenizing or Diversifying the News? External Pluralism in the U.S., Danish, and French Press." International Journal of Press/Politics 19(2): 246-265. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2013. “On the Explanatory and Political Uses of Journalism History.” American Journalism 30, 1: 4-14. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2012. “Murdoch in the United States: Kingmaker or Ringmaster?” Global Media and Communication 8, 1: 4-7. (view)
  • Rodney Benson, Mark Blach-Orsten, Matthew Powers, Ida Willig, and Sandra Vera Zambrano. 2012. “Media Systems Online and Off: Comparing the Form of News in the U.S., Denmark, and France.” Journal of Communication 62: 21-38. (view)
  • Rodney Benson and Matthew Powers. 2011. “Public Media and Political Independence" (88 pp.). Washington, D.C. Free Press Policy Report. (link)
  • Rodney Benson. 2011. “Public funding and journalistic independence: What does research tell us?” In Robert W. McChesney and Victor Pickard, eds., Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights? (New York: New Press): 314-319. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2011. Review of Clifford Christians et al., Normative Theories of the Media (University of Illinois Press, 2009). Journalism 12: 923-925. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2010. "What Makes for a Critical Press? A Case Study of French and U.S. Immigration News Coverage." International Journal of Press/Politics, 15, 1 (January): 3-24. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2010. "Futures of the News: International Considerations and Further Reflections." In Natalie Fenton, ed., New Media, Old News (London: Sage): 187-200. (link)
  • Rodney Benson. 2010. "Comparative News Media Systems." In Stuart Allan, ed., Routledge Companion to News Media and Journalism Studies, ed. Stuart Allan (London: Routledge): 614-626. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2009. "What Makes News More Multiperspectival? A Field Analysis." Poetics, 37, 5-6: 402-418. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2009. "Shaping the Public Sphere: Habermas and Beyond." The American Sociologist, 40: 175-192. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2008. "Normative Theories of Journalism." The Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Communication (Wolfgang Donsbach, ed.): 2591-2597. (view)
  • Rodney Benson and Daniel C. Hallin. 2007. "How States, Markets and Globalization Shape the News: The French and U.S. National Press, 1965-1997." European Journal of Communication 22, 1 (March): 27-48. (view)
  • Rodney Benson and Aurora Wallace. 2007. "Space, Place, and the Changing American Mediascape." In F. Eckardt and Martina Zschocke, eds., MediaCity (Weimar, Germany: Bauhaus University Publishers): 209-226. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2006. “News Media as a ‘Journalistic Field’: What Bourdieu adds to New Institutionalism, and Vice Versa.” Political Communication 23, 2: 187-202. (view)
  • Rodney Benson and Erik Neveu, Eds. 2005. Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press). (link)
  • Rodney Benson and Abigail C. Saguy. 2005. "Constructing Social Problems in an Age of Globalization: A French-American Comparison." American Sociological Review 70, 2: 233-259. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2004. "Bringing the Sociology of Media Back In." Political Communication, 21: 275-292 (Lead article in special issue on "Political Communication and Sociology"). (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2004. "La fin du Monde?: Tradition and Change in the French Press." French Politics,Culture & Society 22, 1: 108-126. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2003. "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): 111-127. (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 2001. “Tearing down the ‘Wall’ in American Journalism.” Core: International Journal of the Humanities (Paris) 1(1). (English-language version of “La logique du profit dans les médias américains.” Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 131-132 (2000): 107-115.) (view)
  • Rodney Benson. 1999. "Field theory in comparative context: a new paradigm for media studies." Theory and Society 28, 3: 463-498. (view)
  • GRADUATE-LEVEL COURSE SYLLABUS: Comparative Media Systems/Production of Culture (spring 2013) (view)

Research Interests


  • Fields, public spheres, networks 
  • Sociology of culture and news
  • Comparative media systems
  • Production of Culture
  • Media Policy
  • Media and immigration
  • French media 
  • Alternative media
  • Cultural globalization
  • Discourse and image content analysis
  • In-depth Interviewing