Dr Mary

Dr Mary Debrett

Honorary Associate, Department of Communication and Media

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Communications and Media

HU2 322, Melbourne (Bundoora)

Research centres

Institute for Human Security and Social Change


BA (Monash); Dip Ed (Melbourne); Dip Br Comm (Auckland); MLitt-Distinction (Auckland); PhD (La Trobe).



Membership of professional associations

Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (Professional Member); Australian New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA)

Area of study


Brief profile

Mary Debrett has a professional background in television and video production having worked in broadcasting and in the independent sector as a researcher and documentary-maker. Mary’s academic research interests include the media and the public sphere, documentary theory, broadcasting policy, public service broadcasting in the digital era and media representation of climate change and science communication. Mary is also a member of the editorial board of MEDIANZ: Media Studies Journal of Aotearoa New Zealand.


One of the La Trobe scholars invited to record a presentation for the university’s YouTube channel – My Big FAT  (Focused-Ambitious-Transformative) Idea – Mary’s presentation is titled ‘Media and climate change – a perfect storm of miscommunication.’ 


Mary is also the author of Reinventing Public Service Television for the Digital Future, which was published in July 2010.


In 2014 Mary received a  La Trobe University Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for: Development of a unique, media rich, cross-disciplinary approach to online teaching, facilitating flexible, engaged, independent learning, as exemplified in the subject Science in the Media.

Research interests

Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies

- Documentary Theory and Production

- Media policy; Media and Climate Change

- Public Service Media; Citizenship; Trust Studies


Researcher, writer, reviewer across the fields of communications, digital media studies and creative media

Recent publications


  • Debrett, M 2010, ‘Reinventing Public Service Television for the Digital Future’. Bristol: Intellect.

Refereed Publications

  • Debrett, M 2015, "Representing climate change on public service television – a case study." Public Understanding of Science. Published in OnlineFirst 11 August doi:10.1177/0963662515597187 http://pus.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/08/10/0963662515597187.abstract?papetoc
  • Debrett, M 2014, "Tools for Citizenship"? Public Service Media as a Site for Civic Engagement: An Australian Case Study. Television & New Media. Published online November 28.  http://tvn.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/11/27/1527476414557951
  • Debrett, M 2011 Reporting Climate Change: An Australian Perspective, International Journal of Science in Society, 2 (2) pp. 149-160.
  • Debrett, M 2011 Post Network and Post Broadcast: Television’s Third Age, Review Essay, New Media and Society, 13 (1) pp. 169-175.  
  • Debrett, M 2009, ‘Riding the Wave: public service broadcasting in the multiplatform era’. Media Culture & Society 31 (5) 807-827.
  • Debrett, M 2009, ‘Leveraging trust: The politics of accountability and risk taking at the ABC’. Refereed conference paper. Proceedings of the Australia & New Zealand Communication Association Annual Conference 2009, ed Terry Flew, QUT, Brisbane.
  • Debrett, M 2008, ‘Reinventing public service television: From Broadcasters to Media Content Companies’. Proceedings of the Australia & New Zealand Communication Association Annual Conference, Centre for Media and Law, University of Melbourne, July 5-7 2007.
  • Debrett, M 2007, ‘Professionalising Documentary Production: Third Way cultural policy conundrums in Australasia’. International Journal of the Arts in Society, 1(3) 93-99.
  • Debrett, M 2006, ‘Representing Cultural Diversity or Serving Local Industry? An Exploration of the Future Prospects of Subsidised Documentary on Television’. International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, 5 (3): 94-101.
  • Debrett, M 2005, ‘Extreme Makeover: The recurring motif of New Zealand broadcasting policy’. Media International Australia incorporating culture and policy. No. 117 (November).
  • Debrett, M 2004, ‘Branding documentary: New Zealand's minimalist solution to cultural subsidy’. Media Culture & Society 26 (1) 5-23.
  • Debrett, M 2003, ‘Reclaiming the personal as political: Three documentaries on East Timor’, Metro Magazine 138:76-82. 

Non-Refereed publications


Research projects

  • Team coordinator and developer for the interdisciplinary, cross faculty, cross campus subject – Science in the Media – for online delivery to all La Trobe campuses.