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Professor Brian Cathcart

Professor in journalism, Kingston University.

Professor  Brian  Cathcart Areas of expertise

Find out more about Professor Brian Cathcart


In almost 30 years in journalism, Professor Brian Cathcart has been a foreign correspondent, book reviewer, sub-editor, defence correspondent, leader writer, sports writer, investigative reporter, award-winning author and much else besides. After starting at Reuters international news agency, he joined the Independent when it launched, rose to be deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday and went on as a freelancer to contribute articles to everything from the Financial Times to The Big Issue. He also wrote a weekly media commentary in the New Statesman magazine from 2007-2009. Most recently he has been writing for the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and Index on Censorship (

Brian joined the university as one of its founding members of the journalism department in 2003, and has watched student numbers grow to 300 in that time. He was made a professor in 2006, and teaches at all three levels on the journalism BA course.  

"People sometimes ask whether good journalists are born or taught," he says. "I tend to reply that the best journalists never stop learning and the worst are the ones who think they know it all."

Brian's best-known book is The Case of Stephen Lawrence, but he has also written a book about the life and murder of Jill Dando and Were you still up for Portillo?, about the 1997 election, amongst others.

He was specialist adviser to the Commons select committee on culture, media and sport for its inquiry into press standards, privacy and libel, 2008-10 and is currently principal investigator with the Museum Lives oral history programme at the Natural History Museum in London.


Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianCathcart




Year gained Subject
1978 BA Hons, First Class, Modern History and Political Science, Dublin University.

Career Highlights

Year Position held
2005 - Assistant editor, contributing editor, media columnist on the New Statesman.
1997 - 2005 Author and freelance journalist for The Independent, Guardian, Financial Times, Granta, Daily Mail, New Statesmen and others.
1990 - 1997 Foreign Editor, Deputy Editor, The Independent on Sunday.
1986 - 1990 Foreign Staff, Assistant Foreign Editor, The Independent.
1978 - 1986 Correspondent for Reuters in Paris, London and The Hague.
2006 - Professor in Journalism, Kingston University.
2003 - 2006 Senior lecturer in journalism, Kingston University.



The Fly in the Cathedral: How the Atom Was Split (Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US, 2005)

Rain (Granta, 2002)

Jill Dando: Her life and death (Penguin 2001)

The Case of Stephen Lawrence (Viking 1999)

Were you still up for Portillo? (Penguin 1997)

Test of Britain: Britain's Struggle for the Atom Bomb, (John Murray, 1994).

Selected Articles:

"Is Google killing General Knowledge?", Intelligent Life, Summer 2009.

"Ernest Walton: Atomic Scientist", in Nine Lives, edited by G.O'Brien and P. Roebuck (Ulster Historical Foundation, 1992)

"The case of Stephen Lawrence" in Granta 5, Autumn 1997.

"We're all tabloids now", in CUSP Review, Autumn 1997.

"Ernest Walton 1903 - 1995" in Physicists of Ireland, Precision and Passion, edited by Mark McCartney and Andrew Whitaker (Institute of Physics Press, 2003).

"Penney, William George, Baron Penney", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP 2004).

"Perrin, Sir Michael Willcox", ODNB, 2004.

"Tube Alloys, directorate," ODNB, 2006.

"T.E Allibone" and "Alan Nunn May", ODNB, 2007.


Academic Accolades

Crime Writers' Association Non-Fiction Gold Dagger 1999

Orwell Prize for political writing 2000.




Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us