About Dr Briant


Dr Emma L Briant

Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Journalism at University of Essex


Formerly: Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Journalism Studies at University of Sheffield, Post-doctoral Scientist at George Washington University.

Dr Emma L Briant is a sociologist/political scientist specializing in research on media, political communication and propaganda particularly in relation to international conflicts, social issues like migration and inequality debates. Her recent published research includes two books, the most recent of which, based on her doctoral research, is Propaganda and Counter-terrorism – published in 2015. For this Dr Briant analysed the coordination and increasing impacts of the digitalisation of defence propaganda and as part of this and other work she spent 11 years researching SCL Group, parent company of the controversial contractor Cambridge Analytica.

Dr Briant in 2016-2017 took special leave from her post at Sheffield to take a fantastic opportunity to do research at George Washington University in Washington DC. She is currently a visiting scholar at George Washington University and Georgetown University as she writes a forthcoming co-authored book with Prof. Robert Entman: What’s Wrong with the Democrats? Media Bias, Inequality and the rise of Donald Trump. For her research on defence propaganda, US politics and ‘Brexit’ she gained unparalleled access to interviews with senior executives at Cambridge Analytica and SCL. This formed the basis for important evidence submitted to and published by the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry into Fake News in April 2018 among other public inquiries. This was widely reported in the media internationally and Dr Briant’s evidence was discussed in the UK Parliament several times as well as the Canadian Parliament. In addition to presenting evidence that called into question Leave.EU Campaign’s conduct during the referendum that was the democratic basis for Brexit, Dr Briant’s evidence helped expose and bring about the collapse of a highly unethical company and ignite an important debate of privacy, big data ethics and how propaganda is deployed in a digital age. She has also been conducting research on the contemporary propaganda war between the US and Russia, as well as completing another project looking at the post-war reconstruction period and propaganda in Iraq.



Her prior work includes analyses of media coverage of disability and asylum in the UK with the Glasgow Media Group where she worked and studied for her PhD in Sociology prior appointment to Sheffield University in 2013. During this time she also co-authored her first book ‘Bad News for Refugees‘ with Greg Philo and Pauline Donald. She remains a proud member of Glasgow Media Group.

Information on all her books, articles and blogs can be viewed on this website using the links above.


  • PhD Sociology, jointly supervised in Politics, University of Glasgow, UK (2011)
  • Diploma in Literature & Creative Writing, Open University, UK (2010)
  • MSc Sociology University of Glasgow, UK (2007)
  • MRes (Business and Public Management Research) Glasgow Caledonian University, UK (2004)
  • BA International Relations & Politics (Hons), Coventry University, UK (2003)