Portrait of Keith Somerville

Keith Somerville

Honorary Professor


Keith Somerville was appointed honorary professor at the Centre for Journalism in April 2016 and teaches the Communications and Humanitarianism and Propaganda - Media, Manipulation and Persuasion modules. He has taught at the Centre for five years and before that taught in the School of Politics and International Relations.

A writer and lecturer on African affairs, the history and uses of propaganda, the politics and media coverage of conservation and the history and nature of human-wildlife conflict and the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn. He founded and runs the Africa Sustainable Conservation website.

His recent books are Humans and Hyenas – Monster or Misunderstood (Routledge, 2021), Humans and Lions Conflict, Conservation and Coexistence (Routledge, 2019), Africa’s Long Road Since Independence. The Many Histories of a Continent (January 2016 – Penguin paperback published January 2017) and, Ivory. Power and Poaching in Africa (published at the end of 2016). Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred was published in 2012. 

He has recently published academic papers on the BBC wildlife documentary series Dynasties, anti-poaching strategies and the concept of just war, human-lion conflict as reflected in media coverage of the Cecil the Lion Affair, radio propaganda in South Africa under apartheid and the framing of conflict during the Cold War.  He is now working on the history and nature of human conflict with and persecution of honey badgers and jackals.

Keith is a member of the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent, a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group. and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.  His book on Ivory won the Marjan-Marsh Conservation Award in 2016.

A career journalist with the BBC World Service and BBC News for three decades before entering the academic world, Keith was a producer and radio documentary maker and then a news programme editor with the World Service. He has an established track record as a trainer and training designer for the BBC, initially with BBC World Service training and latterly with the recently-established BBC College of Journalism, where he was part of an award-winning team that produced online legal training and scenario-based journalism training tools. His knowledge of journalism theory and practice is based on three decades of reporting for, producing, presenting and editing World Service news programmes.

The major world events he has covered include running the World Service team in South Africa for the first post-apartheid elections in 1994; presenting live coverage of the attempted coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; overseeing the first 10 hours of World Service coverage of the death of Princess Diana; running of live World Service radio coverage on 9/11; and producing and presenting radio documentaries from South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica and the wilds of deepest Cardiff and Norfolk.

Research interests

The major areas of research are on media coverage of conservation and wildlife issues and the history and current nature of human-wildlife conflict in Africa. He also delves into the areas of propaganda and the media coverage of Africa. 


Keith teaches the Communications and Humanitarianism, and the Propaganda – Media, Manipulation and Persuasion modules at the Centre for Journalism.

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