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Oliver graduated from the OU with his PhD "The World-wide News Agencies: Development Organization, Competition, Markets And Product. A Study of Agence France Presse, Associated Press, Reuters and United Press, to 1975." in 1978 from the faculty of Social Science. This hard-won thesis formed the basis for his first of many books, "The International News Agencies (London: Constable)", published in 1980 and proved ground-breaking. It is still one of the main reference works of its kind today, such that Oliver is still asked to give talks and write publications on the topic. Coming from a middle-class Dublin-based family a...nd the first of them to go onto higher education, he studied sociology and, although has a tinge of regret about not studying history, he graduated with a 2:1 from Exeter University. In 1971, he was appointed as a research officer at the, then brand-new, Open University working for renowned media sociologist and a founding academic of the OU, Jeremy Tunstall who encouraged Oliver to study for a PhD. Oliver credits the OU with giving him the opportunity and encouragement to do a PhD that he might not otherwise have had the confidence to undertake. After graduating, Oliver went on to work in the OU’s School of Education for over 20 years and it was this wealth of experience that led to him being invited to set up a distance learning MA at Leicester University in 1994. In 1998 he took up a position at the California State University (Pomona), moving to the Los Angeles area with his American wife, Leah and four children. From there he became Director for the School of Media and Communication at Bowling Green state University in Ohio in 2005. He is now retired and back living in California (Ojai) but continues to write highly respected books and academic papers on media and international relations.