Dr Peter Busch's academic background is in journalism and international history, with a PhD from the London School of Economics and Masters degrees in Journalism (University of Dortmund, Germany) and International History (LSE). Before joining the Department in 2004, he was a Senior Broadcast Journalist in the news and current affairs department of Germany's public television station, ZDF. During his career in journalism he also taught at the Free University of Berlin, the University of Erfurt and the University of Hanover.
His current research focuses on the role of social media in war reporting. He is also interested in propaganda and strategic communication, particularly from a historical perspective. In this context, he has been working with the Imperial War Museum on projects related to their large collection of international radio broadcast transcripts produced by BBC Monitoring during the Cold War.
Apart from teaching courses in the field of media and war as well as Cold War history, he has produced and presented the War Studies Podcast.
His research interests fall in three broad areas.
- Social Media: I am interested in the effect of social media on the working practices and the output of war correspondents.
- Strategic Communication: I investigate how the idea of propaganda has influenced 20th century history to the present day. This research also includes historical investigations into the use of propaganda by the West and East German governments.
- Vietnam War: Following on from my book All the Way with JFK: Britain and the Vietnam War (OUP 2003), I continue to work on topics related to the Vietnam War. This also extends to work on the post-War situation, particularly the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese border war.
He teaches on BA as well as MA courses. For second year undergraduates he convene the option module: 5SSW2054 War and Global Conflict in the Contemporary World.
His MA modules look into media-related issues:
- 7SSWM137 Reporting Wars
- 7SSWM027 Media and Intelligence
- 7SSWM012 Propaganda
He is happy to offer supervision in the broad areas of Cold War History and Media and War, with a focus on the New Media and War Reporting, International History of the Vietnam War, Propaganda and Persuasion, Visual Representation of Violence.
Current PhD students
- Philip Antony: Brown Investigative Journalism In The 21St Century: Covering The US Drone War
- Christopher Deal: Framing War, Sport and Politics: The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the Moscow Olympics (funded by AHRC CDA with Imperial War Museum)
- Addison Redfearn: Anglo-American Media Discourses On Wikileaks Disclosures Of Classified US Government Documentation
- Aidan Winn: The Ralliers: A Study of the Chieu Hoi Amnesty Program in Vietnam
Former PhD students
- Laura Johnson (completed 2013): Establishing Broadcast Monitoring as Open Source Intelligence: The BBC Monitoring Service during the Second World War (AHRC CDA with Imperial War Museum)
- Daniel Bennett (completed 2012): The Impact of Blogging on the BBC's Coverage of War And Terrorism (AHRC CDA with the BBC); led to this monograph: Digital Media and Reporting Conflict: Blogging and the BBC's Coverage of War and Terrorism (Routledge, 2013).
- Justin Anderson (completed 2009): From Faith to Foreign Policy: American Protestant Faith-Based Advocacy and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2001-2008
- Joshua Geltzer (completed 2008): Al-Qaeda as Audience: Signalling American Counter-Terrorist Strategy and the Al-Qaeda World-View. Led to this monograph: US Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View (Routledge, 2011)
Expertise and Public Engagement
He regularly engages with newspapers and broadcast journalists (for example Dutch newspaper 'Trouw' on propaganda and BBC Radio 4 programme 'document'). He was also historical adviser for Dan and Peter Snow's BBC television documentary ‘20th Century Battlefields: The Tet Offensive’, first broadcast in June 2007.
Since 2007 he has been contributing to workshops of NATO's Centre for Excellence, Defence Against Terrorism (Ankara, Turkey). He also regularly gives presentations on media and terrorism at the NATO School, Oberammergau.