Professor Lawrie

Professor Lawrie Zion

Director, Transforming Human Societies Research Focus Area

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 Professor of Journalism and Director of the Transforming Human Society Research Focus Area.

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’.

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 in 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.”

His new book is The Weather Obsession, which is published by Melbourne University Publishing on July 31, 2017, explores how digital media has changed the way that we engage with weather and climate.

Research interests

Journalism Studies

- Emerging journalism

- English in Australia

- Journalism practice

Media Studies

- Cultural Studies

- Journalism education

Teaching units

  • JRN1TEJ – The Emerging Journalist

Recent publications


Zion, L. The Weather Obsession, Melbourne University Publishing, 2017.

Edited Books

Zion, L. and Craig, D. A. (eds) (2015) Ethics for Digital Journalism: Emerging Best Practices. Routledge, New York.

Scholarly book chapters

Zion, L. (2015) ‘Why best practices?’ in Zion, Lawrie. and Craig, D.A. (eds) Ethics for Digital Journalism: Emerging Best Practices. Routledge, 1-14.

Zion, L. (2013) ‘Publishing your work’, in Tanner, S. and Richardson, N. (eds), Journalism Research and Investigation in a Digital World, OUP, Melbourne: 320-329.

Zion, L. (2012) ‘Building audiences into research', in Donaldson, I. and Finnane, M. (eds) Taking Stock: The Humanities in Australian Life since 1968, UWA, 301-7.

Refereed journal articles

Zion, L., Sherwood, M., O’Donnell, P., Dodd, A., Ricketson, M., and Marjoribanks, T. (2016) ‘“It has a bleak future”: The effects of job loss on regional and rural journalism in Australia.’ Australian Journalism Review, 38, (2), 115-128.

Hanusch, F., Clifford, K., Davies, K., English, P., Lindgren, M., Zion, L., O’Donnell, P., Price, J., Richards, I., and Fulton, J. (2016) 'For the lifestyle and a love of creativity: Australian students’ motivations for studying journalism.' Media International Australia, 160, (1), 101-113.

Zion, L., Dodd, A., Sherwood, M., O’Donnell, P., Marjoribanks, T., and Ricketson, M. (2016) ‘Working for less: the aftermath for journalists made redundant in Australia between 2012 and 2014.’ Communication Research and Practice. 2, (2), 117-136.

Dodd, A., Buller, B., Castillo A., Clarke, P., Martin, H., Schwartz, L., Simons, M., and Zion, L. (2015) ‘UniPollWatch: a model for cross-campus political journalism education.’ Asia Pacific Media Educator. 25, (2), 222-237.

O’Donnell, P., Zion, L., and Sherwood, M. (2016) ‘Where do journalists go after newsroom job cuts?’ Journalism Practice. 10, (1), 35-51. Published online first on March 3, 2015 at DOI: .10.1080/17512786.2015.1017400.  FoR 1903 5-year median Impact factor: 1.59

Hanusch, F., Clifford, K., Davies, K., English, P, Fulton, J., Lindgren, M., O’Donnell, P., Price, J., Richards, I., and Zion, L. (2015) ‘Australian journalism students' professional views and news consumption.' Australian Journalism Review, 37, (1), 5-19.  FoR 1903 journal median impact factor 1.59

Zion, L. (2012) ‘”Best Practices” in the Journalism Ethics Frame: A Comparative Study’, #ISOJ Journal  (The official journal of the International Symposium on Online Journalism), 2 (2), 71-99.

Nicholson, M., Zion, L. and Lowden, D. (2011) ‘A Profile of Australian Sport Journalists (Revisited)’, Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, 140, 84-96.

Zion, L. Nicholson, M., and Spaaij, R. (2011) ‘Sport Media and Journalism: An Introduction’, Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, 140, 80-83.

Zion, L. (2010) ‘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 (

Edited journals

Zion, L., Spaaij, R., and Nicholson, M. (2011) Themed Issue: Sport, Media and Society. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, Issue 140.


Zion, L. (2014) ‘Fair is fair, but best is better.’ Walkley Magazine, Issue 83, p. 26.

Zion, L. (2013) “New Beats: Where do redundant journalists go?” The Conversation

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.
  • I am 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 weather and the media in Australia for Melbourne University Publishing that is due to be completed in 2017.