Anne Dunn: A Tribute
By Department of Media and Communications
2 July, 2012
Anne Dunn (1950-2012)
Anne Dunn, broadcaster and scholar, former Chair of Department, Pro-Dean, and Acting Dean of the Faculty, passed away on the weekend, surrounded by her loving family and friends. Energetic, witty, dignified and caring, she was one of those remarkable people who creates networks for change in her profession and beyond. Anne was highly respected for her work in journalism and public broadcasting, and widely loved as a mentor and collaborator. She will be remembered for her dynamism, leadership and vision, and her capacity to build bridges between industry and academe.
Anne Dunn, broadcaster and scholar, was one of those remarkable people who creates networks for change in her profession and beyond. As president of the Journalism Education Association of Australia, she was a passionate advocate for ethical standards in journalism and in 2011 won a grant to set up a national research network in the field. As a public service media researcher she investigated the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s digital transformation, and was internationally recognised for her contribution to the field. Anne managed to be both highly respected for her work, and widely loved as a mentor and collaborator. She will be remembered for her dynamism, leadership and vision, and her capacity to build bridges between industry and academe.
An alumna of the Faculty, Anne joined the Faculty of Arts at Sydney University in 2001, when she was appointed a lecturer in the fledgling Media and Communications program, the second appointment following the Foundation Director of the program Catharine Lumby. She was central to devising the very successful Masters of Media Practice degree which commenced in 2004. She became senior lecturer from 2005, and was promoted to associate professor in 2009.
Anne brought both professional and senior management experience to her academic work — she was distinctive in academia for having actually had training and experience in management. She was an extremely capable and highly regarded manager, respected for her practical wisdom. As well as serving as Associate Dean and co-chair of the undergraduate committee, she served as Chair of Department from 2006-2008, and as Pro-Dean in the Faculty of Arts in 2009. She was appointed to the acting role of dean for 2009–10, to complete Stephen Garton’s term when he resigned his deanship to become provost and deputy vice-chancellor. From 2011-2012 she was pro-dean(Academic) for the new faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Prior to taking up a full time academic career, she worked across the print, television and radio media. Her media career was wide-ranging, including stints on children’s television, midday television and Classic FM. Altogether, Anne spent some 13 years with ABC Radio and Television, in management, in policy and in broadcasting, including as a presenter, journalist and producer. She also worked for the BBC in documentaries as well as in Australian commercial television as a journalist/researcher; for SBS Television as a reporter; and as a freelancedirector, reporter and writer in both the television and print media.
After working for more than twenty years in radio and television, in 1997 she made a transition to academia (although continuing freelance work) and taught journalism in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Western Sydney and as Senior Lecturer inBroadcasting at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst. In 2004, she completed her PhD, on policy and audience construction in ABC Radio News, at the University of Canberra under the supervision of Warwick Blood.
Anne was a prodigious networker. She was President of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association in 2004-2005, and was the NSW regional representative on numerous occasions. She was also president of the Journalism Education Association Australasia 2009-2012. She was a visiting professor at the School of Journalism at Aarhus University in Denmark in 2008. She was a member of the steering group for the Radio Studies Network of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (UK). She was also a member of the international public service media scholarship network RIPE, ‘Re-visioning Interpretations of the Public Enterprise’, and was lead organizer on the RIPE 2012 conference to be held in Sydney.
Anne's contributions as a public intellectual accelerated in recent years, when she regularly commented on issues around media ethics and standards, and journalism education. She was a great defender of the idea that a media degree should offer more than vocational training, but an education that encompassed challenging forms of media practice and training, alongside ethical and intellectual inquiry. She celebrated the delights of practice, and the importance of journalism, media and communications studies to analysis of how we represent and organise our world.
Anne held an ARC Linkage Grant with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation titled ‘New Media, New Narratives: Beyond Broadcasting' looking at the impact of cross media work in broadcast news. In 2011 she was also awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) to develop a Journalism, Media and Communication (JoMeC) ‘discipline network’ which sought to establish and develop a sustainable network of discipline scholars in the fields of journalism, media and communication who would further strengthen standards in the area.
The department wishes to express our condolences to her family. We will miss her a great deal.
Anne is survived by her husband of thirty-three years, her two daughters, one grand-daughter, her parents, three siblings, and a close-knit extended family. Anne's family was by her side during her final days and have supported her greatly throughout the term of her illness. The sum of their memories attests to Anne's central place as an inspirational person and key figure within a strong family network. Anne's husband Peter and daughter's Alice and Claire have been a lifelong support and contributed to the strong, confident and happy person that Anne was, just as she has enriched their lives beyond words. Anne's mother and father have had an immeasurable influence on her great personal and professional achievements. Her father Geoff Stone has had a long history in broadcasting both in England and Australia, and Anne inherited much of her mother Elizabeth Christopher's intelligence, kindness, tenacity of spirit, and commitment to family. Anne will be greatly missed, and her entire family offer their condolences to everybody who was lucky enough to have known her.
Letters of condolence can be sent to 19 Ryries Parade, Cremorne, NSW 2090. Messages can also be left on Anne's Facebook page.
Rather than send flowers please donate to one of the charities that helped Anne during her illness. The donations page for the Cancer Council of NSW is: http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/donate/. One of Anne's daughters, Claire, will be running in a charity triathlon called Triathlon Pink (www.triathlonpink.com.au) and donations can be made there to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
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