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Gene Allen

Gene Allen

OfficeRCC 179
Phone416-979-5000 ext 6438
BA, University of Toronto
MA, York University
PhD (History), University of Toronto
JRN 103: Introduction to Journalism
CC 8979: Spec Topics: Technology & Commun

Gene Allen had an extensive and varied career as a television news and documentary producer and as a newspaper editor and reporter before joining Ryerson’s Journalism faculty in 2001.

From 1997 to 2001, he was director of research and a senior producer of the CBC/Radio-Canada television series Canada: A People’s History. The series was broadcast nationally on CBC in 2000 and 2001 and won a Gemini Award for Best Documentary Series. He also edited both volumes of the best-selling companion book to the series, Vol. I of which was recognized by the Canadian Booksellers Association as Non-fiction Book of the Year for 2000.

During his 10-year career at the CBC, he also worked as a producer and writer on the award-winning television documentary series Dawn of the Eye, assignment desk producer for CBC Radio’s Morningside, assignment editor for CBC national TV news, and a writer on The National. Between 1979 and 1991 he worked at the The Globe and Mail, holding positions as foreign editor, Queen’s Park reporter, assistant city editor and copy editor, among others.

Gene is currently the Velma Rogers Research Chair in the School of Journalism. He is the author of Making National News: A History of Canadian Press (2013) and co-editor of Communicating in Canada’s Past: Essays in Media History (2009). He is currently working on a biography of Kent Cooper, general manager and executive director of the Associated Press news agency from 1925 to 1951. Gene was the founding director (2007-2010) of the School’s Master of Journalism program; he is also a member of Ryerson’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and a faculty member in the York/Ryerson Joint Graduate Programme in Communication and Culture, where he has supervised several Master’s and PhD projects and theses. He was co-organizer of the International Communication Association’s preconference on  “Communications and the State: Towards a New International History” (Communication History Division) in 2015, chief organizer of the international conference “Toward 2020: New Directions in Journalism Education,” held at Ryerson University in 2014, and of the first “Conference on Media History in Canada,” in 2006. From 2011 to 2015 he was an International Scholar working with colleagues at the Department of Journalism, Tbilisi State University, Republic of Georgia, under the auspices of the Academic Fellowship Program, Open Society Foundations. In the summer of 2005, he was Guest Professor of Canadian Studies at the Free University in Berlin, Germany.

  • Journalism history, media history, history of communication
  • The history of news agencies
  • Development of the international news system
  • News and the formation of national identity
  • International Communication Association
  • Canadian Historical Association

Featured Work

“North American Triangle: Canadian Press, Associated Press and Reuters, 1918-1939” , in Peter Putnis, Chandrika Kaul and Jurgen Wilke, eds., International Communication and Global News Networks: Historical Perspectives (New York: Hampton Press, 2011)

“News and Nationality in Canada, 1890-1930,” Journal of Canadian Studies 43:3 (Fall 2009), 30-68

(with Daniel Robinson) “Introduction: Media history as concept and practice”, in Communicating in Canada’s Past

“Business, Culture and the History of News,” in Elsbeth Heaman, Alison Li, and Shelley McKellar, eds., Essays in Honour of Michael Bliss: Figuring the Social (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008)

“Monopolies of news: Harold Innis, the telegraph and wire services,” in Menahem Blondheim and Rita Watson, eds., The Toronto School of Communication: Interpretations, Extensions, Applications (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008)

“News Across the Border: Associated Press in Canada, 1894-1917”, Journalism History 31:4 (January 2006), 206-216