About the Department

Media and Communication Welcome

The Department of Communication and Media aims to develop work-ready journalists and communicators. Our staff are all industry professionals so our students benefit from a learning environment where industry meets practice.

In 2015, six staff from our department were awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award for Supporting Student Employability for work with upstart, our Strategic Communications Agency, and the overall quality of our internship program.

Communication & Media Studies subjects at La Trobe rank in the top 200 internationally and in the top 20 in Australia (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016).

Undergraduate study options

The Bachelor of Media and Communication encompasses four distinct majors: journalism, sport journalism, media industries and public relations. All majors include opportunities for work-integrated learning and internships. Our students have interned at organisations and publications including the ABC, SBS, the Herald Sun, The Age, SEN, Crikey, Melbourne WebFest and the Kings XI Punjab.

Our Journalism students have the opportunity to publish on upstart, our flagship publishing platform for emerging journalists. The Journalism 101 project (watch video) has been developed to accompany lectures in the first year subject, The Emerging Journalist. The project has been funded by La Trobe's Radical Learning Initiative.

Media Industries students have the opportunity to present their work through a number of public digital forums including the La Trobe TV production The Real Series – a documentary series created by students, with an audience reach of more than 45,000 via broadcast on channel C31.

Our Public Relations stream is accredited by the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA). Students complete two semesters working for our on-campus Strategic Communication Agency in their final year, where they are given an introduction to real work pressures over two semesters by undertaking projects for external clients. Past clients have included Carlton Football Club, Youth Projects, BWM Agency, City of Greater Bendigo, Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Online Hate Prevention Society.

Postgraduate study options

Our two industry-focused postgraduate degrees Master of Communication (Journalism Innovation) and Master of Communication (Public Relations) have been designed by professionals for professionals with industry advisory boards.

For more information about Journalism postgraduate study contact Hugh Martin.

For more information about Public Relations postgraduate study contact Dr Kevin Brianton.

Higher degrees by research

We also supervise a range of Masters and PhD thesis topics across a broad spectrum of topics in journalism, media, and strategic communications. We are especially interested in hearing from prospective candidates who are interested in developing practice-based research projects. For further information, please contact Dr Steinar Ellingsen on (+61 3) 9479 2442.

Staff Research

At the Department of Communication and Media, our key research focuses on charting the changing communication practices between audiences and institutions.

As a department consisting of teacher-scholars and practitioners with diverse research interests, we strive to contribute to high-quality scholarship through our research projects ranging from theory-driven pure research to practice-based applied research. With an emphasis on research-informed teaching, we also aspire to equip our students with specialised knowledge to succeed in the fast-changing world through our research projects.

Our journalism team, consisting of experts in journalism, sports journalism and media industries, have employed both traditional academic research methods and practice-based journalism in their research. This includes research on digital media and ethics, sports media, mass redundancies in Australian journalism and their consequences, as well as practice-based projects that use innovative digital strategies. The journalism team are also expert practitioners skilled in content production, and have a wide range of media industry contacts.

Our public relations team, which includes three teacher-scholars with vastly different expertise, employs both qualitative and quantitative methods to study public relations as both a practice and an academic discipline. The team is currently working on several research projects, including the implications of the use of focus groups as a method for formative and evaluative research, exploring the impact of the changing landscape of communication on political campaigns and issue management and constructing an internationally applicable framework for conceptualising relational public diplomacy. The public relations staff are skilled in strategic communication and public relations analysis, and already work with an extensive range of stakeholders – from government agencies to professional sports teams.

As a department, we are interested in applying both traditional research methods and our practice-based skills to research projects.

Some of our recent research projects include:

  • The ARC-funded New Beats project that explores the mass journalism redundancies undertaken in Australian from 2012 to 2014, and the effects of those redundancies on the media industry.
  • An examination of UniPollWatch, a multi-University innovative curriculum project based on the 2014 Victorian state election.
  • Exploring corporate social responsibility and public diplomacy in relation to public relations.
  • The Inland Sea web series, an award-winning documentary web series chronicling a ten-week odyssey in Australia, part of a creative PhD project.
  • A Hidden Legacy, a creative PhD project that examines what the legacy of the Anzac legend is for the Turkish-Australian community – told through the eyes of an Australian-Turkish journalist – returning to Gallipoli for the centenary commemorations.