Staff profile

Professor Lawrie Zion

Professor of Journalism, Head of Department: Communication and Media

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce
Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of Communications and Media

HU2 318, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA (Hons-Melbourne) PhD (Monash).

Membership of professional associations

Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia, Melbourne Press Club, International Association for Media and Communication Research, Australian and New Zealand Communication Association

Area of study


Brief profile

Lawrie Zion is the head of the Department of Communication and Media and is co-founder of the online magazine, upstart which showcases student writing, and provides a forum for emerging journalists.

He graduated in History from the University of Melbourne in 1981 and went on to write a PhD at Monash University examining the pop music scene in Australia during the 1960s. He has over 25 years of experience in the media, including a nine-year stint at ABC radio, where he was based at Triple J, setting up the station's Hottest 100 listener poll. His radio documentaries include a two-part feature on Barry Humphries, and a profile of Crowded House while the band was touring the USA in 1994. He has worked as a writer, researcher and interviewer for ABC TV documentary series ‘Long Way To The Top’ and ‘Love Is In The Air’. In 2006, he worked on the Crowded House Farewell to the World DVD, hosting the commentary track and conducting interviews.

From 2004 to 2006 he was the film writer for The Australian, prior to which he wrote for a range of publications including The Age, the US-based trade paper The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone Australia and HQ. He was also a regular guest on the Ten Network's The Panel. He continues to appear regularly on ABC radio and on ABC TV’s News Breakfast.

During 2006 he joined forces with Princess Pictures to write and research a one-hour documentary about the Australian accent called The Sounds of Aus. The program was first broadcast on ABC TV on November 8, 2007. In 2008 it was awarded Chicago's Hugo prize for best international documentary and was nominated for a Logie. It was also a finalist in the category Best Documentary Social & Political Issues in the 2008 Enhance TV ATOM Awards.

Lawrie is the co-editor of Ethics for Digital Journalists: Emerging Best Practices  (Routledge: 2015).

He also leads the team of the research project New Beats: A study of Australian journalists who became redundant during and since 2012, which aims to track what happens next to the more than 1,500 journalists whose positions became redundant in the Australian media. This project has been awarded an ARC Linkage Grant and an ARC Discovery Grant.

In 2013 he and Dr Christopher Scanlon received Office for Learning and Teaching citation for Teaching and Learning “for the development of an authentic learning environment in the discipline of journalism through the website upstart ( and its integration into our curriculum.”

Research interests

Journalism Studies

- Emerging journalism

- Journalism education

- Journalism ethics

- Journalism practice

Media Studies

- Cultural Studies

- Documentary production

- English in Australia

Teaching units

  • JRN1TEJ – The Emerging Journalist
  • JRN3AJP - Advanced Journalism Practice

Recent publications

  • Hanusch, Folker, Clifford, Katrina; Davies, Kayt; English, Peter; Lindgren, Mia; Zion, Lawrie; O’Donnell, Penny; Price, Jenna; Richards, Ian; Fulton, Janet. 'For the lifestyle and a love of creativity: Australian students’ motivations for studying journalism.' Media International Australia, Accepted for publication.
  • Zion, Lawrie; Dodd, Andrew; Sherwood, Merryn; O’Donnell, Penny; Marjoribanks, Timothy; & Ricketson, Matthew. ‘Working for Less: the aftermath for journalists made redundant in Australia between 2012 and 2014.’ Communication Research and Practice. Accepted for publication.
  • Dodd, Andrew; Buller Brad; Castillo Antonio; Clarke, Peter; Martin, Hugh; Schwartz, Larry; Simons, Margaret; & Zion, Lawrie. ‘UniPollWatch: a model for cross-campus political journalism education.’ Asia Pacific Media Educator. 25, 2, 2015. pp. 222-237.
  • O’Donnell, Penny; Zion, Lawrie, and Sherwood, Merryn. ‘Where do journalists go after newsroom job cuts?’ Journalism Practice. 10, 1, 2016, pp. 35-51. Published online first on March 3, 2015 at DOI: .10.1080/17512786.2015.1017400.
  • Hanusch, Folker; Clifford, Katrina; Davies, Kayt; English, Peter; Fulton, Janet; Lindgren, Mia; O’Donnell, Penny; Price, Jenna; Richards, Ian; & Zion, Lawrie. ‘Australian journalism students' professional views and news consumption.' Australian Journalism Review, 37,1, 2015, pp. 5-19.
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘Fair is fair, but best is better.’ Walkley Magazine, Issue 83, August, 2014, p. 26.
  • Zion, Lawrie. “New Beats: Where do redundant journalists go?” The Conversation, December 2, 2013 also republished by mUmBRELLA at
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘Publishing your work’, in Stephen Tanner, Nick Richardson (eds), Journalism Research and Investigation in a Digital World, OUP, Melbourne, 2013.
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘Best Practices” in the Journalism Ethics Frame: A Comparative Study’, #ISOJ Journal (The official journal of the International Symposium on Online Journalism), 2(2), 2012, 71-99.
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘Building audiences into research' in Ian Donaldson and Mark Finnane (eds) Taking Stock: The Humanities in Australian Life since 1968, UWA, 2012, pp. 301-7.
  • Zion, Lawrie, Nicholson, Matthew; and Spaaij, Ramon. ‘Sport Media and Journalism: An Introduction’ co-authored with Matthew Nicholson and Ramon Spaaij, Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 140, Aug 2011: 80-83.
  • Nicholson, Matthew; Zion, Lawrie & Lowden David. ‘A Profile of Australian Sport Journalists (Revisited)’ with Matthew Nicholson and David Lowden, Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 140, Aug 2011: 84-96.
  • Zion, Lawrie. Interview with Peter Beinart, Melbourne Writers Festival,September 2010. and
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘Upstart: An innovation to facilitate student publishing.’ Refereed article based on paper presented at the International Association for Communication and Media Research conference, Braga, 21 July 2010. Published in Refereed JRE On-Line Journal 2010, published by Journalism Research & Education Section, IAMCR
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘(Up)start from scratch: Program blog offers platform for portfolio development.’ Scholastic Source, AEJMC Scholastic Journalism Division, March 2010, pp. 3 & 5.
  • Zion, Lawrie. Interview with Andrew Donohue, the editor of the online news site, Voice of San Diego. This interview was broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Future Tense on 21 April, 2009
  • Zion, Lawrie. Building audiences into research'. Paper delivered as part of a panel discussion entitled 'How have we changed the way we communicate the results of research to our audiences?' at The 40th Annual Symposium of the Australian Academy of the Humanities 'The Humanities in Australia: Taking Stock,’ 2009 (National Library, Canberra, 19-20 November). Published as a book chapter in 2011.
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘My Hot 100 Summer’. Meanjin, 65, 2006, 147-54.
  • Zion, Lawrie. ‘Sounds of Then, Sounds of Now: Popular Music in Australia [Book Review] [online]. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy; Issue 131; May 2009; 169-170.
  • Zion, Lawrie. Pop Music in Melbourne. Multimedia installation, which is part of The Melbourne Story at the Melbourne Museum. 2006.

Research projects

  • Lead Chief Investigator, the New Beats project. This ARC-funded project explores the aftermath of journalism redundancies in Australia through surveys and interviews with journalists who took a redundancy package between 2012 and 2014.
  • In late 2015, I became a CI on the research project "Recruiting and tracing participants via social media: feasibility and ethics". The project is led by Dr Naomi Hackworth from the Judith Lumley Centre at La Trobe University. It was recently awarded a grant of $19,650 from the Transforming Human Societies Research Focus Area at La Trobe University.
  • I'm researching a book about Australian weather, culture and politics for Melbourne University Publishing that is due to be completed in 2017.

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