A Senior Lecturer at Leeds Trinity University has published a new book on the representation of disability in the mainstream media focusing on the London 2012 Paralympic Games.


Dr Carolyn Jackson-Brown, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Sports Journalism has just published Disability, the Media and the Paralympic Games, which tells the inside story of how and why Channel 4 decided to bring disability out of the margins into the mainstream for the London 2012 Paralympic Games and onwards for Rio 2016.

The book is based on Dr Jackson-Brown’s PhD research, which shines a light on Channel 4’s ground-breaking media coverage during the Paralympic games, asking who made the decisions and why. The book investigates attitudes to disability and difference, media production, and their complex interactions with sport and wider society. 

Her research was carried out just as the Public Service Broadcaster’s Diversity Charter was being introduced to support a broader range of employees wanting to work with and for Channel 4, both onscreen and off. 

Funded by a full doctoral scholarship from the University of Leeds, Dr Jackson-Brown’s research is based on face-to-face interviews with key executives and creatives who were involved with Channel 4’s decision making. They reveal how an invisible and misrepresented group of athletes were brought into the mainstream spotlight whilst transforming the sidelined Paralympic Games into an elite, global sporting mega-event. Her research provides insight into Channel 4’s broadcasting strategy for the 2012 Paralympics and the decision to include diverse representations of athletes in 2012 and beyond.  

Dr Jackson-Brown said: “As ITV and Sky make their own media production diversity pledges this week, it has never been more vital to understand the link between diversity in the workforce and being able to produce authentic representations of ‘others’ onscreen. Having interviewed the key decision makers and heard their detailed accounts, my book pieces together how and why Channel 4 changed the game.”

Dan Jackson, Associate Professor of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University, said: “It is now clear that Channel 4’s broadcasting and promotion of the 2012 Paralympics was a turning point for disability and parasport broadcasting, which changed the conversation about disability in the UK and had lasting reverberations for broadcasters across the world. This unique book provides the definitive inside story of Channel 4’s Paralympic broadcasting strategy towards 2012 and beyond. Filled with rich insights and engagingly written throughout, this book is the most in-depth study of Paralympic broadcasting strategy to date.”

Disability, the Media and the Paralympic Games is available to purchase online, with prices starting at £33.29.

Categories: Journalism

For the media

Leeds Trinity University's Corporate Communications Officer, Zoe Shackleton, is the first point of contact for local, national and international media.

Looking to source a comment or would like to arrange an interview with one of our academic experts? Contact Zoe on +44 (0) 113 283 7100 or z.shackleton@leedstrinity.ac.uk