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Claire Konkes

UTAS Home Dr Claire Konkes

Claire Konkes

Head of Discipline, Media
Senior Lecturer
Media | School of Creative Arts and Media

Room 215 , The Media School, Salamanca

+61 3 6226 2938 (phone)

Claire.Konkes@utas.edu.au

Dr Claire Konkes is researching how different forms of media contribute to people’s understanding of environmental policy and law.

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"When you observe how communication flows around an idea, you start to see where decisions are being made."

Claire Konkes -

In her current project, Claire Konkes is observing how debates about climate change are crystallizing around places like the Great Barrier Reef and how we understand complex issues like climate change through place.

“My work looks at how different groups are ignored or promoted in news coverage during environmental campaigns.”

“If you have ever wondered why there is not much political pressure to respond to big issues, such as climate change, we can look at how media, especially news media, communicates these problems.”

Dr Konkes has always felt a buzz when difficult or new concepts are explained well – and so naturally, she gets a buzz from getting the opportunity to help explain the tricky stuff.

“For many people outside our discipline, media is not well understood, so people are frustrated when they think journalists are getting things wrong or that social media is to be blamed for bigger societal problems.

“Being able to explain to people how media works, especially to people trying to communicate using media, helps people find better solutions to problems that need better communication.”

Unsurprisingly Dr Konkes has spent her life working in media and communications: formally as a journalist and now as Head of Discipline at the University of Tasmania’s Media School.

Her love for well executed communication has driven much of her teaching practice.

“Teaching people about communication often includes helping students see that their diverse curiosities, maybe it is science and film, or journalism and environmentalism, as not choices they have to make in their studies or careers but great opportunities to bring two different worlds closer together to solve interesting problems.”

Another component of Dr Konkes’ research examines the relationship between media and criminal acts, with a particular focus on the role of the media in portraying gendered and sexual violence.

The rise of social movements like, the #MeToo movement and, in Tasmania, the #Letherspeak campaign, which has resulted in a victim of crime being the 2021 Australian of the Year, is changing how society understands such crimes.

Dr Konkes’ said, “Media is playing an important role in these massive social changes we are seeing in Australia and elsewhere.”

“There are big questions that seem impossible to solve and they involve a lot of different aspects of society, such as politics and the courts and the work of scientists, that are turning like so many cogs in the massive body of the problem. I like to take case studies and observe the cogs turning and to see how improved communication can be part of the solution.”

Dr Konkes career as a print journalist has seen her work published at both a local and national level, with her journalism appearing in The Mercury, The Monthly and The Australian.

She is also a judge for the annual Tasmanian Media Awards. “It’s a pleasure to see the work being done – often by former students of our program – and being part of an industry that celebrates innovation and excellence.”

“Some writers collect rejection slips. I have a collection of thank you cards and emails from people who appreciate my work. Some are students thanking me for getting them started, one is from a mathematician who liked how I explained her work. I’ve received a tweet from the late great journalist Mark Colvin who liked something I wrote and told his many thousand followers,” said Dr Konkes

“In all these moments, big and small, I sense being part of the flow of communication that might make a small difference.”

Claire Konkes is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Discipline at The Media School, University of Tasmania. Her PhD focused on news media coverage of how a high-profile crime contributed to reforming Tasmania’s age of consent laws. Her research continues to explore news media’s contribution to public debate, especially in environmental and criminal matters. In these spaces of civil discourse and deliberation, she investigates the ways in which news and other media contribute to sense-making and problem-solving. She is an affiliated researcher with the Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISC) at the University of Tasmania and some of her recent projects have looked at media representations of environmental public interest litigation and Australian environmental policy.

Biography

Fiercely curious about how we communicate and debate complex and difficult subjects, Claire has worked both an environmental campaigner and journalist. She worked on some of the early climate change campaigns in the 1990s before joining the newsroom at The Australian newspaper in 1999 as a reporter. In these various roles, Claire observed how access to media is central to how society understands, and acts, on, the challenges we face. Her journalism has appeared in a number of News Corps mastheads, but more recently in The Monthly magazine.

Achievements

Claire Konkes was awarded a PhD in Media at the University of Tasmania in 2015.  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. Before joining UTAS, Claire worked as a newspaper reporter for publications The Australian and Hobart’s Mercury.

Career summary

Qualifications

Degree

Thesis title

University

Country

Awarded

PhD

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

University of Tasmania

Australia

14/08/2015

BA

 

Deakin University

Australia

1995

Memberships

Professional practice

  • Executive Committee Member, Australian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA)
  • Advisory Group Member, Mindframe Journalism and Public Relations Educators
  • Member, International Association for Communication and Media Research (IAMCR)
  • Member, International Environmental Communication Association (IECA)
  • Member, Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA)
  • Affiliated Researcher, Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISC), University of Tasmania

Teaching

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

Teaching expertise

Claire brings her professional experience, industry connections and research expertise in news media to her teaching in journalism, especially news and feature writing. Her research interests in environmental and science communication informs her design and coordination of HEJ111 Communicating Sustainability and HEJ308 Media, Power and Communication.

Research Appointments

  • Executive Committee Member, Australian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA)
  • Advisory Group Member, Mindframe Journalism and Public Relations Educators

View more on Dr Claire Konkes in WARP

Expertise

Claire’s research advances our knowledge in how media and communication is vital to the understanding and development of environmental policy and law. Using methods, such as critical discourse analysis and frame analysis, her research analyses news media representation and the communication flows between various groups and networks, including those of news media, science, industry, politics and activism, to better understand not only how we talk about environmental issues, but who influences decision-making. Her quantitative and qualitative research into how media facilitates deliberation about Australian environmental policy and law has been published internationally.

Collaboration

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

Claire is currently exploring various facets of environmental communication, media and journalism on the Great Barrier Reef, including news representations of climate change litigation, environmental lawfare and the politics of Reef science communication.

Fields of Research

  • Media studies (470107)
  • Journalism studies (470105)
  • Communication and media studies (470199)

Research Objectives

  • The media (130204)

Publications

Claire publishes in  leading international media journals, including Journalism Practice (IF: 2.345 JCR); Crime Media Culture (IF: 1.750 JCR); Environmental Communication (IF: 1.787 JCR); International Communication Gazette (IF: 1.877JCR); and Public Understanding of Science (IF: 2.338 JCR) –all are ranked as Q1 by Scimago.

Her research in media criminology, which informed her doctoral work, includes publications co-authored with colleagues in Media, and independently cited in influential international journals, such as Health and Social Care in the Community (IF: 2.050 JCR) and Perspectives on Politics (IF: 2.398 JCR) resulting in a h-index of 4 and more than 50 citations.

Her work with A/Prof Kerrie Foxwell-Norton (Griffith University) investigates the interconnection between news media and other communication, environmental politics and policy development, and includes three published articles and a book chapter. As part of this work, our investigation of the politicisation of science communication by analysing Peter Ridd’s use of science communication to denigrate his colleagues at James Cook University was published in Public Understanding of Science (IF: 2.338 JCR).

As part of this research agenda, her article published in Environmental Communication (IF: 1.787) in 2018 led to invitations from two journals, Laws and Queensland Review to submit further work on the intersection of environmental law reform and news media.

Total publications

34

Journal Article

(11 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2021Foxwell-Norton K, Konkes C, 'Is the Great Barrier Reef dead? Satire, Death and Environmental Communication', Media International Australia pp. 1-10. ISSN 1324-5325 (In Press) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

2021Konkes C, Foxwell-Norton K, 'Science communication and mediatised environmental conflict: a cautionary tale', Public Understanding of Science pp. 1-14. ISSN 1361-6609 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/0963662520985134 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

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2021Konkes C, Nixon C, Lester L, Williams K, 'Coal versus coral: Australian climate change politics sees the Great Barrier Reef in court', Queensland Review ISSN 1321-8166 (In Press) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Nixon C; Lester L; Williams K

2021Nixon C, Konkes C, Lester L, Williams K, 'Mediated visibility and public environmental litigation: the interplay between inside and outside court during environmental conflict in Australia', Laws, 10, (2) Article 35. ISSN 2075-471X (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/laws10020035 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Nixon C; Lester L; Williams K

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2021Ross A, Lester L, Konkes C, 'Audience perspectives on paying for local news: a regional qualitative case study', Journalism Studies, 22, (8) pp. 1066-1082. ISSN 1461-670X (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2021.1916985 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lester L

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2019Dodd B, Konkes C, Reid D, Lester L, 'A freelance-based foreign exchange programme: Tasmanian students' professional development on WORLDREP', Australian Journalism Review, 41, (1) pp. 85-102. ISSN 0810-2686 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1386/ajr.41.1.85_1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Dodd B; Reid D; Lester L

Tweet

2019Foxwell-Norton K, Konkes C, 'The Great Barrier Reef: News media, policy and the politics of protection', International Communication Gazette, 81, (3) pp. 211-234. ISSN 1748-0485 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/1748048518767800 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 7

Tweet

2018Hawley E, Clifford K, Konkes C, 'The Rosie Batty effect' and the framing of family violence in Australian news media', Journalism Studies, 19, (15) pp. 2304-2323 . ISSN 1461-670X (2018) [Refereed Article]

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

Citations: Scopus - 15Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: Hawley E; Clifford K

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2018Konkes C, 'Green lawfare: environmental public interest litigation and mediatized environmental conflict', Environmental Communication, 12, (2) pp. 191-203. ISSN 1752-4032 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2017.1371054 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 41

Tweet

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]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Lester L

Tweet

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 - 5Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Lester L

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Chapter in Book

(2 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2021Foxwell-Norton K, Konkes C, 'Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: Environmental Protest, Climate Science, and New/s Media', Climate Change and Journalism Negotiating Rifts of Time, Taylor & Francis Ltd, H Bodker and HE Morris (ed), Australia, pp. 234. ISBN 9780367547226 (2021) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

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2019Konkes C, 'Sex Crimes, Cover-Ups and Conspiracy Theories', Sex and Journalism: Critical, Global Perspectives, Bite-Sized Books, S Joseph and RL Keeble (ed), Goring, United Kingdom, pp. 55-61. ISBN 9781695107212 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

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Review

(2 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2012Konkes C, 'Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice', Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture and Policy, 145 pp. 161. ISSN 1329-878X (2012) [Review Single Work]

[eCite] [Details]

2012Konkes C, 'Law and Ethics for Professional Communicators', Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture and Policy, 143 pp. 169. ISSN 1329-878X (2012) [Review Single Work]

[eCite] [Details]

Conference Publication

(3 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2019Konkes C, 'No such thing as a dead reef: communicating climate change through crisis', Proceedings of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference, 7-11 July 2019, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain (2019) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2018Konkes C, 'Are we getting better at communicating climate justice?', Imagining a Different Future: Overcoming Barriers to Climate Justice, 8-10 February 2018, Hobart (2018) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Konkes C, 'A Dying Reef: Is communicating threats to Great Barrier Reef killing it too soon?', Proceedings of Consuming the Environment, 4-5 December 2017, University of Gavle, Sweden, pp. 16. (2017) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Thesis

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

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(15 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2021Konkes C, 'Massive corporate tantrum', The Mercury, News Corp, Tasmania, 19 February (2021) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2021Konkes C, 'Radio interview', Breakfast with Ryk Goddard, ABC Radio Hobart, Hobart, Australia, 24 June (2021) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2020Konkes C, 'Talking point: Journalism has never been more important', The Mercury, Newscorp, Hobart, Tasmania, 30 April (2020) [Newspaper Article]

[eCite] [Details]

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2020Konkes C, 'What could the future of journalism look like?', Telum Media, Singapore (2020) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2020Konkes C, 'International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists', Breakfast with Ryk Goddard, ABC Radio Hobart, Hobart, Tasmania, 2 November (2020) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

2020Konkes C, 'Talking Point: When journalists are intimidated, free speech falters', The Mercury, Newscorp, Hobart, Tasmania, 6 November (2020) [Newspaper Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2020Konkes C, 'King Island Courier newspaper publishes its last edition with no-one to take up the 'pen'', ABC News, ABC, Australia, 12 November (2020) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2020Konkes C, 'Does a global resurgence of local news offer hope for journalism?', ABC Breakfast with Ryk Goddard, ABC Radio, Hobart, Tasmania, 31 July (2020) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

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2019Konkes C, 'Avoiding click-hate: lessons for the terror trial: Interview with David Williams', Newsroom, Newsroom Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand, 22 August, pp. 1-8. (2019) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2019Konkes C, 'Talking Point: Treating journalism as a crime', The Mercury, News Pty. Ltd., Hobart, Tasmania, 7 June, pp. 1-3. (2019) [Newspaper Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2019Konkes C, 'When law is mightier than the pen', The Mercury, News Pty. Ltd., Hobart, Tasmania, February 16, pp. 22-23. (2019) [Newspaper Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2019Konkes C, 'New Clark MP Madeleine Ogilvie's PR tactics labelled bizarre': Interview with James Kitto', The Mercury, News Pty. Ltd., Hobart, Tasmania, 12 September (2019) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2019Konkes C, 'Friday Forum: Interview with Leon Compton', ABC Radio Hobart, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Hobart, Tasmania, 13 September (2019) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

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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]

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants

2

Total funding

$20,402

Projects

What is knowable in science and elsewhere? A cross-disciplinary approach to distinguishing science from scientism. (2018)$10,455
Description
The ongoing public debate around anthropogenic climate change makes one thing clear: scientists can have a hard time getting their message across to the public. Various explanations have been given for the lack of public acceptance of the reality of anthropogenic climate changefrom individual biases to manipulation of the media by those with vested interests. In this project, we will explore the hypothesis that: scientists have trouble communicating their findings to the public due to many members of the public having overly simplistic understandings of the nature of natural science. In particular, for example, we are interested in the apparently paradoxical idea that such resistance by the public can be the result of Scientisman excessive or dogmatic belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques. Those who view science this way may hold scientific discussion to an unrealistically high standard, and when a theory inevitably falls short of this standard (e.g. when there is seen to be disagreement among experts on climate change), the theory is dismissed as unsettled or a result of bad science. Alternatively, scientific claims may be dismissed as presumptuous or arrogant.In this project a multidisciplinary team will:1.Provide epistemic insights through the exploration of what is knowable in science from a cross-disciplinary perspective.2.Gather baseline data about:(i) the extent to which academic staff teachers, and cohorts of students from across disciplines, understand the nature and process of science;(ii) any correlations between overly simplistic understandings of science and dismissive attitudes towards particular theories, and/or the scientific enterprise in general.This is a pilot for a larger study which will gather a larger data set, and test the effectiveness of one or more interventions that will be designed to aid in the development of a more sophisticated view of science.
Funding
University of Tasmania ($10,455)
Scheme
Grant - CALE Hothouse Alignment Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Fraser SP; Chase JK; Coady DA; Corry RL; Hinds M; Konkes C; Wood G; Seen AJ
Year
2018
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) for Higher Education: How do we teach what we know? (2018)$9,947
Description
The study investigates Pedagogical Content Knowledge ( PCK) for lecturers across a broad range of disciplines in higher education. It poses three questions:1. Which aspects of their own discipline knowledge do university educators consider crucial for effective teaching? Do lecturers consciously consider this question and, if so, what guides their choices?2. How do dominant beliefs about particular disciplines influence the PCK needed to teach a particular discipline?3. How might a shared understanding of PCK across our disciplines enhance teaching and learning in higher education?
Funding
University of Tasmania ($9,947)
Scheme
Grant-CAL Hothouse Research Enhancement Program
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Oates GN; Beswick K; Chase JK; Fraser SP; Hinds M; Konkes C; Ross K
Year
2018

Research Supervision

Claire has supervised, or is currently supervising, Masters and PhD candidates on the following topics:

  • The translation of environmental knowledge to policy
  • The changing role of public broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific
  • The impact of personalised newsfeeds on the quality, diversity and impact of political news in regional Australia
  • The Radical tradition in Colonial Tasmanian newspapers

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 communication
  • Emerging news media practices among environment groups and other NGOs
  • Media discourses on sustainability, especially extractive industries

Current

3

Completed

1

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
PhDHow Personalisation is Transforming Civic Participation: A regional digital ethnographic case study2019
PhDTranslation of Environmental Knowledge to Policy: Bridging the gap between scientists and societal behavioral change2019
PhDHolding Tasmanian Colonial Administrations to Account: Gilbert Robertson (editor of The Colonist and the True Colonist) and the administrations of Lt.Gov. George Arthur and Lt.Gov. Sir John Franklin2019

Completed

DegreeTitleCompleted
PhDAustralia's 'Smart Power' Challenge: Its use of international broadcasting, and the contested role of public interest media
Candidate: Geoffrey Wilson Heriot
2021