Claire Konkes

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Claire Konkes

Lecturer, Journalism, Media and Communications
School of Social Sciences

Room 537, Social Sciences, Sandy Bay Campus

+61 3 6226 2938 (phone)

Before joining the University of Tasmania in 2010, Claire worked as a journalist. Her work has appeared in several publications, including  The Australian and The Monthly.  She continues to work with the news industry at a local and national level and has been a judge for the Tasmanian Media Awards since 2011.

Dr Claire Konkes is a lecturer in Journalism, Media and Communications and is the program’s News and Journalism stream coordinator. Her research interests include news media’s contribution to public debate and governance, especially in environmental matters and crime. She is an affiliated researcher with the Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISC) at the University of Tasmania and her recent projects have looked at Australian media representations of environmental public interest litigation and media representations of Australian environmental policy in relation to the Great Barrier Reef and Australia media discourses about family violence.


Before joining the University of Tasmania in 2010, Claire worked as a journalist and freelance writer. Her journalism has appeared in several publications, including The Australian and The Monthly. She continues to work with the media industry at local and national and including being a judge for the Tasmanian Media Awards since 2011.


Claire Konkes completed a PhD in Journalism, Media and Communications at the University of Tasmania in 2014.  Her PhD thesis, entitled 'The Age of Consent: News, crime and public debate' was both an examination of the news coverage of a complex and controversial criminal matter and an attempt to theoretically understand the relationship between contemporary journalistic practice and representations of crime, controversy and conspiracy.

Her research interests include the role of journalism in public deliberation, media representations of crime and other legal matters, and the emergence of conspiracy theories in news. Before coming to UTAS, Claire worked as a reporter for publications including  The Australian,  The Daily Telegraph and the  Mercury. She has also worked as a researcher and campaigner for ENGOs including Greenpeace, Tarkine National Coalition and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust

Career summary



Thesis title



Date of award


'The Age of Consent: News, crime and public debate

University of Tasmania





Deakin University




Professional practice

  • Member, Australian and New Zealand Communications Association
  • Member, Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia
  • Affiliated Researcher, Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISC), University of Tasmania


Journalism; socially-useful news; news media; mediatised conspiracy; feature writing; strategic communications; media and politics; mediatised conflict.

Teaching expertise

Claire has taught in the area of news media and journalism since 2010. In that time, she has contributed to the Bachelor of Media by ensuring the degree provides the core skills of journalism in a way that reflects the changes in technology and professional practice of an industry undergoing digital disruption to its business models. Her news media units focus on providing the core skills in media literacy that are essential for anyone engaging in media to understand the wider world.  Claire supervises research higher degree candidates working in the areas of journalism and news media.

Teaching responsibility

Units Coordinated:

HEJ160 Writing Media: Stories and content

HEJ140 Making Media: Filming, Editing and Design

HEJ255 News: Contemporary Practice and Analysis

HEJ415 Communication for Change

View more on Dr Claire Konkes in WARP


Claire’s research identifies and examines how media, and in particular news media, inform and contribute to public understanding, policy development and legislative and judicial decision-making about society and crime and, in particular, the environment.  Her research includes analysis of media texts and investigations of the professional logics and practices of the social and political actors that seek to influence mediatised debate. In these spaces of civil discourse and deliberation, Claire’s investigates the ways in which journalism and other forms of news media contributes to sense-making and problem-solving and, in some cases, devolves into controversy, conspiracy and misinformation.

Research Themes

Claire’s research is aligned with two of the University's key themes. Her research in media’s contribution to public debate and democratic deliberation about crime and other legal matters aligns with the research them of Creativity, Culture and Society. Claire is interested in how journalism and news media content help us to understand and engage in civil society, including policy, legislative and judicial decision-making. Her recent work, in collaboration with Dr Katrina Clifford and Dr Erin Hawley, examined how Australian media contributed to the ‘Rosie Batty effect’ during 2015 & 2016 when the advocacy work of Rosie Batty was pivotal in shifting national and local policy on family violence.  Claire’s research on Australian media representation of public interest litigation bridges a gap in environmental criminology by looking at how claims and counter-claims are represented, and therefore understood, when environmental conflict reach the courtroom.  Her work, in collaboration with Professor Libby Lester (University of Tasmania) and Dr Kerrie-Foxwell Norton (Griffith University) on media representations of the Great Barrier Reef aligns with the key them of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. This longitudinal study, which maps key moments in Australian environmental policy and law, investigates how changing media landscapes are informing mediatised debates about Australian environmental policy and, more widely, the transnational response to climate change.


Claire is collaborating with Professor Libby Lester (University of Tasmania) and Dr Kerrie-Foxwell Norton (Griffith University) on media representations of the Great Barrier Reef .

Current projects

Media representations of the Great Barrier Reef:

This research examines the parallel and intersecting processes of modern environmental policy and news media practice in the context of the Great Barrier Reef to map changes in how media communicates Australian and transnational environmental policy.

It explores significant, and troubling, changes in how ‘protection’ policy is reported in Australian media and, by examining the role of news media in different geographic contexts, highlights the complex politics of protection of protecting the Reef in the context of global environmental crisis.  

Media representation of environmental law:

The role of protest politics  in mediatised environmental conflict is well documented and research into has made considerable progress in the analysis of the strategies that various actors use to influence environmental policy. Less is known about the role of environmental litigation as an activist strategy or how news representation of the legal strategies employed by environmental non-government organisations (ENGOs), informs public opinion and mobilisation, or policy formation.

Fields of Research

  • Media Studies (200104)
  • Journalism Studies (190301)
  • Journalism and Professional Writing (190399)

Research Objectives

  • The Media (950204)


Claire’s research examines how news media and journalism informs public debate about environmental policy and law.

Total publications


Journal Article

(4 outputs)
2017Hawley E, Clifford K, Konkes C, 'The Rosie Batty effect' and the framing of family violence in Australian news media', Journalism Studies ISSN 1461-670X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2017.1343096 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Hawley E; Clifford K


2017Konkes C, 'Green Lawfare: Environmental Public Interest Litigation and Mediatized Environmental Conflict', Environmental Communication pp. 1-13. ISSN 1752-4032 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2017.1371054 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2


2017Konkes C, Lester L, 'Incomplete knowledge, rumour and truth seeking: when conspiracy theories become news', Journalism Studies, 18, (7) pp. 826-844. ISSN 1461-670X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2015.1089182 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lester L


2016Konkes C, Lester L, 'Justice, politics and the social usefulness of news', Crime, Media, Culture: an international journal, 12, (1) pp. 17-35. ISSN 1741-6590 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/1741659015599975 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Lester L



(1 outputs)
2015Konkes C, 'The Age of Consent: News, crime and public debate' (2015) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(2 outputs)
2017Konkes C, 'Bender's choice: Tasmanian salmon, from farm to court', The Monthly, online, October 2017 (2017) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2016Konkes C, 'Geert by sea', The Monthly: Australian politics, society and culture, October 2016 (2016) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Research Supervision

Claire is currently supervising Masters and HDR candidates on the following topics:

  • Contemporary journalistic practice
  • The changing role of public broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific

Claire is keen to supervise research Masters or PhDs on the following topics:

  • Emerging journalism practices in response to digital technologies
  • The use of courts for strategic environmental communications
  • Emerging news media practices among environment groups and other NGOs
  • Media discourses on the environment
  • Media coverage of rape and other sexual crimes during conflict and/or natural disasters




PhDAustralia's Soft Power Challenge, its Use of International Broadcasting and the Contested Role of Public Interest Media2017