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Anthony Smith (producer)

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Anthony Smith (producer)

Professor Anthony Smith, CBE, is a British broadcaster, author and academic, who was President of Magdalen College, Oxford, between 1988 and 2005.


He was born in 1938 and attended Harrow County School for Boys (now Harrow High School), from 1949 to 1956. He read English at Brasenose College, Oxford.

Anthony Smith had a long career in broadcasting starting as a producer of BBC current affairs programmes in the 1960s. He became responsible for running the nightly news programme Twenty-Four Hours.

In the early 1970s, he became a Research Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford. He worked for the Annan Committee on The Future of Broadcasting, and became deeply engaged in the national debate which led to the foundation of the UK's Channel 4.[1] He was subsequently appointed a Board Director of Channel 4 (1981–1985).

He also carried out research for the McGregor Commission on the Press, which presented its report in 1976.

Between 1979 and 1988 he was Director of the British Film Institute and was involved in the conception and establishment of the Museum of the Moving Image on London's South Bank.

In 1988 he was appointed President of Magdalen College, Oxford University, and he retired from this position in 2005.[2]

He was made CBE in 1987, and was awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Arts) by Oxford Brookes University in 1997.

He served for four years as a Member of the Arts Council of Great Britain and he has had a long association with the Writers & Scholars Educational Trust, (which produces Index on Censorship), acting for several years as its Chairman. He served for ten years as a member of the Cambodia Trust for the rehabilitation of landmine victims, and served also for a decade as Chairman of the Jan Hus Educational Foundation which was active in helping intellectuals and academics in the Czech and Slovak Republics in the years before and after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

Smith currently serves as Patron of the London Film School, Trustee of the Prince of Wales's School of Traditional Arts, and as a Board Member of the British Institute of Florence, of the Choir of the Sixteen and of the Medical Research Foundation.

He is also currently chair of the Hill Foundation, which provides scholarships for very able Russian students to study at Oxford University, and is also chair of the Oxford-Russia Fund, which provides scholarships for students attending universities within Russia, provides English-language books to Russian universities and also sponsors public discussion of topics affecting higher education in Russia.


Smith has written extensively on broadcasting and the Press, and on the modern information industries in general. His books include:

  • British Broadcasting (ed) (David & Charles, 1974), ISBN 978-0-7153-6326-3
  • The British Press Since the War (ed) (David & Charles, 1974) ISBN 978-0-7153-6573-1
  • The Shadow in the Cave : a Study of the Relationship Between the Broadcaster, his Audience and the State (Quartet Books, 1976) ISBN 978-0-04-791029-6
  • Subsidies and the Press in Europe (ed) (PEP, 1977) ISBN 978-0-85374-156-5
  • The Politics of Information : Problems of Policy in Modern Media (Macmillan, 1978) ISBN 978-0-333-23610-9
  • The Newspaper : an International History (Thames and Hudson, 1979) ISBN 978-0-500-27286-2
  • Television and Political Life : Studies in Six European Countries (ed) (Macmillan, 1979) ISBN 978-0-333-24328-2
  • Goodbye Gutenberg : the Newspaper Revolution of the 1980s (Oxford University Press, 1980) ISBN 978-0-19-502709-9
  • The Geopolitics of Information : How Western Culture Dominates the World (Faber & Faber, 1980) ISBN 978-0-19-520208-3
  • Licences and Liberty : the Future of Public Service Broadcasting (Acton Society, 1985) ISBN 978-0-85000-021-4
  • Impacts and Influences : Essays on Media Power in the Twentieth Century (ed with James Curran and Pauline Wingate) (Methuen, 1987) ISBN 978-0-416-00602-5
  • Broadcasting and society in 1990s Britain (W.H. Smith, 1990)
  • The Age of Behemoths : the Globalization of Mass Media Firms (New York : Priority Press, 1991)
  • Books to Bytes : Knowledge and Information in the Postmodern Era (British Film Institute, 1993) ISBN 978-0-85170-402-9
  • Disinterested Bystanders : Reconciling Media Freedom and Responsibility (John Stuart Mill Institute, 1996) ISBN 978-1-871952-11-7
  • Software for the Self : Technology and Culture (Oxford University Press, 1996) ISBN 978-0-19-503900-9
  • Television : an International History (ed with Richard Paterson). (Oxford University Press, 1998) ISBN 978-0-19-815928-5


Academic offices
Preceded by
Keith B. Griffin
President of Magdalen College, Oxford
Succeeded by
David Clary
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