Tag Archives: South Yorkshire

Dr. David Clarke – Ufologist

drwho-ClarkeDr. David Clarke

Dr. Clarke’s bio on his website is well written, so we’re just pasting it here without edits. We want you to know about him regardless. Why reinvent the wheel when a perfectly good one exists and we can just share it? He states…

I am course leader and senior lecturer in journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, South Yorkshire, UK.  The department forms part of the Media, Arts and Communication subject group.  I am responsible for nine members of staff and more than 250 students on the undergraduate Journalism course. The university also runs postgraduate courses in International Broadcast Journalism and Sports Journalism.

The journalism team also form part of the university’s CCRC (Communication and Computing Research Centre). My specialist research interests include investigative journalism, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), official secrets, censorship and media law. I teach on UG and PG modules in Investigation and Research Skills, newsroom skills and Media Law. I also mark Media Law exam scripts for the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and qualified for the NCTJ’s National Certificate in Journalism whilst training on regional weekly newspapers. I was the winner of the Yorkshire Press Awards Feature Writer of the Year (Weekly Newspapers) in 1994 for my work as Deputy News Editor on the Rotherham Advertiser.

Prior to teaching journalism skills I worked as a news reporter for The Sheffield Star and the Yorkshire Post covering a range of general news and crime stories. Included in my exclusives was a plan to fly nuclear waste over Yorkshire cities, a major corruption scandal in local government and a multi-million pound scam to re-sell contaminated meat to unsuspecting consumers.

After leaving the journalism beat I spent four years working as a Press Officer in local government as ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’. My freelance work has appeared in a variety of national and international newspapers, magazines and academic journals including BBC History, Contemporary Legend and Folklore. I continue to co-write a monthly column, Flyingsaucery, for the news-stand magazine Fortean Times.

In addition I am the author and co-author of 12 books on aspects of supernatural belief, UFOlogy and contemporary legends. In my capacity as a journalist and ‘expert’ on UFOs and modern myth, I frequently work as a consultant and contributor to a range of radio, TV and satellite programmes covering these subjects.

In 2000 I launched a campaign to persuade the Ministry of Defence to release the remaining UFO files retained in their archives (mostly post-1984).  I quickly became their most “persistent correspondent”, using firstly the Code of Practice for Access to Government Information and, from 2005, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to apply for the release of UFO-related policy documents and other papers.

During 2001 my requests led to the release of the MoD’s file on the famous Rendlesham Forest UFO incident of 1980 (known as ‘Britain’s Roswell’) and the 1951 report by the oddly named ‘Flying Saucer Working Party’, set up by the MoD to investigate reports of strange objects in the sky. This report was used to brief PM Winston Churchill during the following year when a UFO flap in Washington made headlines across the world. MoD had long maintained the report had been destroyed, but my inquiries discovered the last surviving copy and this was released to me – and to the world – in 2001.

The later stages of my campaign for UFO document disclosure coincided with the introduction of the UK’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in 2005. In the first year, the subject of UFOs became the third most popular subject for requests made to the MoD. And it was during 2005/6 that I used the FOIA to secure the release of a hefty four volume study of UFOs (or UAPs, as MoD preferred to call them), known as ‘the Condign report’. Originally classified as ‘Secret – UK Eyes Only’ the report was completed by the secretive Defense Intelligence Staff in 2000. Its release in 2006, made headlines across the world.

My work to secure full release of all surviving UFO data held by MoD continued and in 2007 the Ministry announced that it planned to transfer its remaining papers to The National Archives, in a phased programme that began in May 2008 and is still continuing.

What do you think?

Is Dr. Clarke’s work significant to the progress of Ufology? In your opinion, what do you think are the three main factors inhibiting a unified front within the Ufology community?

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