CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS IN MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS

The Department of Media and Communications includes highly qualified staff with extensive media experience. Their research interests are interdisciplinary, and range from Australian Research Council funded collaborations with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Australia and The Walkley Foundation, to an interdisciplinary Public Health and Media Network, and inter-university involvement in the Cultural Research Network sponsored The Listening Project, which explores the politics, technologies and practices of listening.

Comprised of a committed group of scholars, intellectuals and practitioners, each with their own interests and direction, they collectively draw on a variety of strands of media and communications, including organisational communication, media relations, journalism studies, media policy, media history, health communication, screen studies, critical theory, as well as cultural studies and politics,

The research profile and strength of the Media and Communications Department at the University of Sydney can be enscapulated in four key, interacting, goals:

  • To contribute to and enhance theorisation of public debate, public conversations and the public sphere, through scholarly work, professional engagement and as commentators in the media.
    Selected Examples: Examining the way the media reflect world events in a globalized age (R. Stanton); Activist and non-government understandings of journalism and communications (A. Castillo, A. Mann); Media policy and media diversity (T. Dwyer); Popular feminism (M. Le Masurier); Public health and media (F. Giles, O. Werder); Cultures and technologies of listening (P. O'Donnell); Public service broadcasting (A. Dunn; F. Martin); Media ethics (A. Dunn; S. Maras; T. Dwyer); Celebrity culture (M. Brennan); Media Effects Analysis (O. Werder);Disability and the Media (G. Goggin)
  • To research and explore changes to the media culture and the mediasphere brought about through cultural and technological change, and changing patterns of media consumption and production.
    Selected Examples: Interactive media developments at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (F. Martin); New media worlds and media convergence (T.Dwyer); Celebrity and Popular Culture (M. Brennan); Popular culture and social movements (M. Le Masurier); New conditions of journalism practice and education (P. O'Donnell; R. Stanton; A. Mann; A. Dunn); Internet Histories in Australia and Asia-Pacific (G.Goggin); Spreading fictions: distributing stories in the online age (G. Goggin); Young, Mobile, Networked: Mobile Media and Youth Culture in Australia (G.Goggin); Mobile Technology and Place (G. Goggin).
  • To bridge rigorous scholarly and theoretical inquiry into media and communications with industrial and professional formations.
    Selected Examples: Studies of media relations (R. Stanton); The history, practice and theory of screenwriting (S. Maras); Criticality in theory and pactice (S. Maras; A. Dunn; P. O'Donnell); narrative and media (A. Dunn); cross media storytelling at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (A. Dunn; F. Martin); media ethics and markets (A. Dunn); history, theory, practice of magazines (M. Le Masurier); literary journalism (F. Giles; M. Le Masurier; A. Castillo); Persuasive communication (O. Werder).
  • To internationalise our understandings of media practice and media and communications research.
    Selected Examples: Media and globalisation (R. Stanton; M. Brennan); International perspectives on public service broadcasting (A. Dunn and Postgraduate Students); Internationalising media practice (P. O'Donnell; A. Castillo); Global consumer/audience response analysis (O. Werder); Internationalizing Internet Studies (G. Goggin); Global Mobile Media (G. Goggin).

Australia Research Council Funded Projects

'New Media, New Narratives: Beyond Broadcasting'

Associate Professor Anne Dunn
This project investigates the cultural and social implications of the tension between new and traditional media, in a collaborative project with ABC News. It uses a new model of training journalism cadets -often the groundbreakers for the organisational cultural change needed in a world of convergent media - and demonstrates how media organisations can innovate in what they produce, how they produce it, and in their audience relations. The project will also demonstrate the important role of public broadcasting in new media innovation and in building new relationships with audiences.

'Alcohol use and harm minimisation among Australian university students' (with Association of Heads of Australian University Colleges and Halls Inc, NSW Health, Victorian Department of Human Services)

Dr Fiona Giles (with Dr Toni Schofield, Dr Jo Lindsay, Dr Julie Hepworth, A/Prof John Germov, Dr Rose Leontini)
Alcohol-related harms cost Australians over $15.3 billion per year, and in 2008 were described by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as having reached 'epidemic proportions'. Young people are at greatest risk of alcohol-related damage and university students are among the heaviest drinkers, with up to 70% engaging in binge drinking. By examining the social dynamics of university students' drinking practices and their understanding of harm minimisation, together with the policies and measures offered by colleges and State health authorities, the proposed project will yield a new evidence base and innovative theoretical approach for developing fresh strategic harm minimisation interventions.

'Internet History in Australia and the Asia-Pacific' (2010 - 2013)

Professor Gerard Goggin

Other Investigators: Dr Haiqing Yu, School of Languages and Linguistics, UNSW; A/Prof Mark McLelland, School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication, University of Wollongong (UW); Dr Kwang Suk Lee, UW.

Internet History in Australia and the Asia-Pacific will compare the development and uses of the Internet in Australia, with those of China, Korea, and Japan, key trading partners and innovators. This internationally significant project will provide an up-to-date history of the Internet in the world's most dynamic economic region, the Asia-Pacific. Internet infrastructure and technology is critical to Australia's economic, social, and cultural future, and this project aims to provide critical and timely insights to take forward national debate, policy, and practice. Findings will be reported through an innovative website, industry report and workshop, and targeted academic and general publications.

'Young, Mobile, Networked: Mobile Media and Youth Culture in Australia' (2008 - 2010)

Professor Gerard Goggin

This three-year study with Associate Professor Kate Crawford investigates how young Australians aged 18-30 are using mobile media. From from voice calls and text; messaging, to mobile music, cameras, video and television. This will be the first systematic, national study of mobile media and youth. It will provide detailed qualitative and quantitative data on the uses of new mobile technology in major capitals, regional centres, and remote towns; examine how mobile media and youth culture are being promoted and represented; study the everyday uses of mobile media by a range of different youth cultures in big cities and small towns; and observe the effects of mobile media on friendships, family and working life in Australia

'Young, Mobile, Networked: Mobile Media and Youth Culture in Australia' (2008 - 2010)

Professor Gerard Goggin

This three-year study with Associate Professor Kate Crawford investigates how young Australians aged 18-30 are using mobile media. From from voice calls and text; messaging, to mobile music, cameras, video and television. This will be the first systematic, national study of mobile media and youth. It will provide detailed qualitative and quantitative data on the uses of new mobile technology in major capitals, regional centres, and remote towns; examine how mobile media and youth culture are being promoted and represented; study the everyday uses of mobile media by a range of different youth cultures in big cities and small towns; and observe the effects of mobile media on friendships, family and working life in Australia

Spreading fictions: distributing stories in the online age (2010-2013, with Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Australia)

[http://sydney.edu.au/arts/media_communications/staff/gerard_goggin.shtml||Professor Gerard Goggin]]

Other Investigators: Prof Jock D Given, Prof Gerard M Goggin, Ms Fiona Cameron, Mr Michael Brealey. Administering Organisation Swinburne University of Technology

As the first systematic, large scale, public analysis of audiovisual distribution in Australia, Spreading Fictions will greatly improve understanding of a vital area for Australia's economic and cultural future. The high priority governments give to policies encouraging local audiovisual productions reflects a belief in their cultural resonance at home and abroad and the economic significance of creative work. This project will help to maximise the effectiveness of those policies. As digital TV switchover proceeds and the National Broadband Network is built, data about how Australians are using more powerful, functional mobile devices and faster, cheaper fixed line access will be critical

'From Rivers of Gold to the Clickstream: Newspapers and Quality Journalism in the Internet' (with The Walkley Foundation)

Dr Penny O'Donnell
This project will enhance Australian democracy by providing a scholarly basis for public discussion about the ways that quality journalism can survive in the Internet age. It will create knowledge about the specifically Australian experience of newspapers' transition to online media services and will thus help Australian citizens and journalists engage in global debates about journalism futures. It will create knowledge about the workplace conditions that foster quality journalism. It will showcase Australian research in international scholarly debate within the field of Journalism Studies.

Other Funded Projects

Reuse and Repurposing in Australian Online News: Trends, Convergent Journalism Workflow and Ethical Guidelines’
Dr Tim Dwyer, Dr Fiona Martin
This APC-funded project analyses trends in online news production and cross-platform publishing in key member organisations. It aims to provide a report on the state of convergent news publishing and discussion of ethical and legal issues in online news production (including attribution and copyrights; linking, metatagging and aggregation practices; use of social media; user generated content, moderation and reputation management). The researchers will develop policy advice on the applicability of current APC Principles and Standards to online media publishing environments, and guidelines for any proposed updates to those policies.

‘Tracking Diversity in Digital News Production: Recycling, Reversioning and Repurposing’
Dr Tim Dwyer, Dr Fiona Martin
News content is increasingly being reused across multiple media publications in multichannel environments but the affect of news-sharing on the provision of information diversity is not well understood. This research uses innovative data analytics and industry interviews to investigate trends in online news re-use by two major Australian media services, News Digital and Fairfax Digital, and impacts on content diversity. Funded by a University of Sydney Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences FARSS grant, the project builds on a recent pilot study tracking the levels and forms of content reuse across four Fairfax Digital news services.