Gillian Brooks

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Gillian Brooks is an LSE Fellow in Media and Communications. She is currently completing her PhD in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Communication, Culture and Technology at Georgetown University.  She has training in several social science disciplines including sociology, psychology, social psychology, anthropology and politics.

She has experience working as a publicist at a Canadian media relations firm with clients in the public sector, financial and business markets, and the mining industry. She has worked as a journalist for The National Post and is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists. She is also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Professional Communications. Gillian’s research focuses on the sociology of media, journalism, public opinion formation, notions of legitimacy, and media industries. She has conducted ethnographic research at numerous organizations, including, Condé Nast (GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines), Gawker, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Politico, The Sartorialist, The Washington Post, and The White House.

Gillian has a MA (with distinction) in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University and a BA (honours) in Communication Studies and Comparative Literature from McMaster University.

Research Interests

Her PhD examines the driving forces that shape the field of online media, granting legitimacy to key players and organizations. She defines the factors that contribute to the legitimation of an online news organization, using qualitative research (interviews and participant observation) that she conducted at prominent U.S. media organizations in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. Her theoretical framework is borrowed from Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of the field and applied to her understanding of the key resources of legitimacy and reputation formation that determine the conditions under which certain media organizations can participate in the field.


Gillian is leading seminars for Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications (MC408). Her previous teaching experience includes teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University in a graduate course she developed titled, “The Business of Branding”. She has also supervised undergraduate students in Sociology, Anthropology and Political Science at the University of Cambridge in the following courses: (i) “Human Societies: The Comparative Perspective”; (ii) “Social Theory”; (iii) “Social Anthropology: Political Economy and Social Transformations”. She was also a lecturer in “Advertising and Media” at Jesus College for the Oxbridge Academic Program, University of Cambridge Summer Program.