Claire Konkes

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Claire Konkes

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

Room 210 , The Media School, Salamanca

+61 3 6226 2938 (phone)

Claire is a lecturer at The Media School and is the program’s News and Journalism stream coordinator. Her research interests include news media’s contribution to public debate, especially in environmental and criminal matters. 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 media representations of environmental public interest litigation and Australian environmental policy.


Before joining the University of Tasmania, Claire worked as a print journalist. Her journalism has appeared in several publications, including The Australian and The Monthly and 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 Media 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

(6 outputs)
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]

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


2018Foxwell-Norton K, Konkes C, 'The Great Barrier Reef: News media, policy and the politics of protection', International Communication Gazette pp. 1-24. ISSN 1748-0485 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/1748048518767800 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 2


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 - 4Web of Science - 28


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]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Hawley E; Clifford K


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 - 1Web of Science - 1

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 - 4Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Lester L


Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
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]



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

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

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

[eCite] [Details]


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

[eCite] [Details]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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

[eCite] [Details]


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


Total funding



What is knowable in science and elsewhere? A cross-disciplinary approach to distinguishing science from scientism. (2018)$10,455
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.
University of Tasmania ($10,455)
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
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) for Higher Education: How do we teach what we know? (2018)$9,947
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?
University of Tasmania ($9,947)
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

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
PhDMaking Media Act. Grassroots Media Practice and Nonviolent Resistance. A case study of the New South Wales movement against coal seam gas (2011-2016)2018
PhDMedia Consolidation and Personalised News Feeds: Investigating the impact on the quality, diversity and impact of political news in regional Australia2019
PhDTranslation of Environmental Knowledge to Policy: Bridging the gap between scientists and societal behavioral change2019
MastersHolding 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