He is the author of Shaping Immigration News: A French-American Comparison (Cambridge, 2013), winner of four book awards: the 2020 Doris Graber American Political Science Association Award for the Best Book of the Decade in Political Communication; the 2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Best Book Award; the 2014 Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC) Tankard Book Award; and the 2014 NYU Steinardt Daniel Griffiths Research Award.
Silvio Waisbord, 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.” Shaping Immigration News was translated into French as L'immigration au prisme des médias (Presses universitaires de Rennes, Res Publica, 2018, preface by Erik Neveu; translated by Bruno Poncharal).
Benson is also editor (with Erik Neveu) of Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field (Polity 2005; Chinese translation summer 2017) and co-author (with Matthew Powers) of Public Media and Political Independence (Free Press, 2011).
His current 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 in-depth interviews, systematic content analysis, and extensive organizational data from Sweden, France, and the United States, the book goes beyond the standard media concentration debate to explore how different forms of media ownership (hyper-commercial, private, civil society, and public) facilitate different practices of journalism.
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 and an MA in international affairs from Columbia University. His research and theoretical articles have appeared in many leading sociological and media/communications journals, including the American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, American Sociologist, Poetics, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Communication, Journalism, Political Communication, and International Journal of Press/Politics. He has also written articles for Le Monde Diplomatique, The Conversation, and the Christian Science Monitor.
- Timothy Neff and Rodney Benson. 2021. “News you can use to promote your interests: Media ownership forms and economic instrumentalism.” Journalism Studies 22(5): 2103-2121.
- Rodney Benson. 2020. "Journalism and Inclusion." In M. Powers and S. Vera-Zambrano, eds., Rethinking Media Research for Changing Societies (Cambridge Univ. Press): 91-104.
- Rodney Benson. 2019. “Rethinking the Sociology of Media Ownership.” In L. Grindstaff, Ming-Cheng M. Lo, and John R. Hall, eds., Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology (London: Routledge): 387-396.
- Rodney Benson. 2019. “Paywalls and Public Knowledge: How Can Journalism Provide Quality News for Everyone?” Journalism 20(1): 146-149.
- Rodney Benson. 2018. “Can Foundations Solve the Journalism Crisis?” Journalism 19 (8): 1059-1077.
- Rodney Benson, Timothy Neff, and Mattias Hessérus. 2018. “Media Ownership and Public Service News: How Strong are Institutional Logics?” International Journal of Press/Politics 23(3): 275-298.
- Rodney Benson, Matthew Powers, and Timothy Neff. 2017. “Public Media Autonomy and Accountability: Best and Worst Policy Practices in 12 Leading Democracies.” International Journal of Communication 11: 1-22.
- Rodney Benson. 2012. “Murdoch in the United States: Kingmaker or Ringmaster?” Global Media and Communication, 8, 1: 4-7.
- 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.
- Rodney Benson. 2006. “News Media as a ‘Journalistic Field’: What Bourdieu adds to New Institutionalism, and Vice Versa.” Political Communication 23, 2: 187-202.
- 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.