Our staff

Our journalism team includes several award-winning journalists and documentary makers who continue to work as practitioners. Our public relations team also bring decades of professional experience to the classroom.

Professor Lawrie Zion worked as a journalist and broadcaster for two decades before joining La Trobe in 2006. He heads the ARC-funded New Beats project, a five-year study investigating the aftermath of journalism redundancies in Australia. His book The Weather Obsession, will be published by Melbourne University Publishing in August, 2017. He is coordinator of the Bachelor of Media and Communication and Director of the Transforming Human Societies research focus area.

Dr Steinar Ellingsen (Head of Department and Senior Lecturer, Journalism) is a world pioneer in the web series format and is the Director and co-founder of Melbourne WebFest, which has an integrated partnership with La Trobe University. For his PhD creative thesis, he wrote and produced the award-winning web-series The Inland Sea. He is the lecturer in charge of upstart magazine, which is the digital publication for emerging journalists.

Dr Nasya Bahfen (Senior Lecturer, Journalism) coordinates the Master of Communication (Journalism Innovation) degree, teaches undergraduate journalism subjects, and supervises research students. Nasya is the Department's research coordinator, responsible for all higher degree research students and for coordinating research opportunities and initiatives. Prior to teaching Nasya was a journalist and producer for ABC Radio Australia, ABC Radio National, and SBS in radio and online, and she is an AFL Multicultural Community ambassador.

Dr Kevin Brianton (Lecturer, Public Relations) has more than 30 years' experience in market research, journalism and public relations. He worked as both a consultant and as a manager in government and private industry. He coordinates both the Public Relations coordinator for the Bachelor of Media and Communication and the Master of Communication (Public Relations) degree.

Dr Merryn Sherwood (Lecturer, Sport Journalism) is a former Canberra Times journalist, also joined the team in 2015. She lectures in sport journalism and is the Sports Journalism coordinator for the Bachelor of Communications. She completed a PhD thesis on sports communications, and is a Chief Investigator for the New Beats project.

Natalie McKenna (Lecturer, Public Relations) is a media and communications professional with a background in public relations, television and radio.  Her expertise is in image development, branding and social media strategy. Natalie has lectured in public relations, strategic communication and entrepreneurship at RMIT University. Her research investigates barriers to career advancement in female professionals.

Mark Civitella (Lecturer, Public Relations) is a communications professional who, as a consultant has advised a number of major organisations. Mark specialises in political and issue communication. Together with Merryn Sherwood he manages our internship program.

Bill Bainbridge (Lecturer, Journalism) is an ABC senior producer and journalist who has joined our team for 2017. Bill is an ABC most recently worked at the ABC's Asia Pacific News Centre where he prepared and delivered material across TV, radio news and current affairs. Bill has also worked as a staff trainer at the ABC and has previously taught at both Melbourne University and Swinburne.