Journalism Research Grant 2016

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As part of its overall charter to support journalism research and academics, the JERAA has initiated $6000 grants to be offered annually* to mid-career journalism academics, to support them in conducting research about a journalism-related topic. In 2016 one grant was offered.

Winner: Dr Stephanie Brookes, Monash University

Project title: Checking the facts: The impact of new sources of political information on ‘legacy’ election
coverage in Australia and the United States

Project summary:
This project will undertake a comparative case-study analysis of the online political coverage of
‘legacy’ news organisations at key moments during the 2016 election cycles in Australia and the
United States. It addresses the key research question: how does election campaign coverage
provided by ‘legacy’ or traditional news organisations compete with and incorporate the new
styles and technologies for presenting political information used by emerging digital
competitors; and what can a comparative analysis of their coverage tell us about the changing
nature of political journalism in Australia and the United States?



The grant will assist the successful applicants to conduct a small-scale research project, with outcomes that can be delivered within 24 months of the award. The aim is to help the academics to illustrate their capacity to design and manage a project, boost their research profile, and increase their leverage when applying for future research funding.

NOTE: considering the size of the grant the applicant must liaise with the head of their academic unit and preferably obtain a written commitment from the relevant administrative body at the institution (such as the research office) that no or a nominal administration fee will be charged by the university in administering the grant.

Who Can Apply?

You can apply for the JERAA Academic Development Grants if you:

  • Are a member of the JERAA who has reached Lecturer or Senior Lecturer level (or equivalent*),
  • Have commenced or completed studies at doctoral level,
  • Submit your application by the deadline of the call, addressing all questions in the application form. To access the application form, email
  • Submit your application via email to:

*You are welcome to apply if you can provide evidence that you have attained a research, administrative, academic or teaching position equivalent to that of a university Lecturer or Senior Lecturer. People who might apply potentially include:

  • Full-time researchers whose primary research focus is related to journalism,
  • People employed in a units outside the university system, whose prime function is journalism-related training or research,
  • Casual journalism academics.

Timeline of the grant

After feedback from some of the first grant recipients, it has become clear that the time line needs to be extended. One of the reasons for this is that it takes time to set up the grant from an administrative point of view (eg. transfer the grant money into a university research account, recruiting research assistants and arranging teaching buy out). Based on this the timing of the grant has been amended as follows:

  • Total project time: 24 months
  • Mid February – call for applications
  • Mid March – applications close
  • Mid April – announcement of grant recipients
  • Mid April to September 30 – setting up grant and project
  • October 1 – March 30 YEAR 2 – project execution time


  • December 31 YEAR 1 – brief progress report to the JERAA Vice President (Research)
  •  March 30 YEAR 2 – final report to JERAA Vice President (Research)
  • The grant holder must submit a minimum of one research article to the Australian Journalism Review

Applications will be assessed by a panel that will be selected by the JERAA President and made up of senior Australian journalism academics. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of:

  • alignment of your research questions or aims with the JERAA’s core goals;
  • the benefits of your research to the practice, education, scholarship or theory relating to Australian journalism;
  • the coherence and merit of your proposed topic of research;
  • the clarity, relevance and strength of your research methodology as a tool for reaching your specified goals;
  • the potential impact and significance of your intended outcomes;
  • your track record or relevant skills in the particular area of research;
  • indicators that the size and scale of the project is realistic for the budget that is allocated;
  • indicators that the timeline is realistic, and the project can be completed within 24 months of the award;
  • indicators that you will be able to use the research to launch, develop, extend or otherwise benefit your journalism teaching or research activities;
  • plans to submit articles or other outcomes to peer-reviewed scholarly journals or venues of equivalent quality before or immediately after the 24 months deadline.

The JERAA intends to offer two grants on an annual basis, but may decline to offer an Excellence in Journalism Research Grant in any given year.

History of the Grants

The grants commenced in 2011, following evidence in current research that pointed to a gap in opportunities for mid-career journalism academics to develop the research outcomes and profile needed to advance themselves into the professoriate and other higher levels of Australian universities. Compared to the overall profile of Australian academics, journalism academics are disproportionately clustered at Levels B and C. Many journalism academics spend most of their time teaching, striving with some success to be research active, and with less than average opportunities for promotion to a professorial position (Bromley, forthcoming). The research indicates a need to support further development of critical research within the journalism academy, with particular attention to the fact that research activity appears to stall at Senior Lecturer level (Bromley and Neal 2011, p. 67). Consequently, at the end of 2011, two research grants were offered to mid-career journalism academics.

No evidence has come to light that the situation described above has shifted significantly. Until evidence pointing to greater movement beyond Senior Lecturer level in the field of journalism research, JERAA will keep offering the research grants to mid-career journalism academics.


Bromley, M. (2014). Field maturation in journalism: The role of hackademics as a ‘motley crew’. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 17(1), 3-19. doi: 10.1177/1367877913483423

Bromley, M. (2013). The 'new majority' and the academization of journalism. Journalism: theory, practice and criticism, . doi: 10.1177/1464884912453285

Michael Bromley and Regan Neal (2011) ‘Publishing, participation and productivity among journalist-academics in the era of ERA’, Australian Journalism Review, 33(1): 55-72.

*  At times the grant will be reviewed and the JERAA Executive may opt to not issue calls during the review.

Previous winners of the MidCareer Grant are:

Dr Sue Joseph and Dr Carolyn Rickett - The Ethical HDR Supervision of Literary Journalism: managing long form
trauma narrative within the Australian tertiary sector

Dr Caroline Fisher - Press scretary to press gallery: managing conflict of interest and preceptions of partisanship

Dr Folker Hanusch - Examining the influence of journalists’ professional views on news content

Dr Lisa Waller - Developing a Southern approach to the study of news media and Indigeneity

Dr Kathryn Bowd - Left behind or making their own way? Online and interactive communication and small-town newspaper journalists’ professional practice

Dr Colleen Murrell - Australian and Canadian public service broadcasting: an investigation of international newsgathering capabilities on restricted budgets

Dr Zala Volcic - Continuous Battle: The Relationship between Journalists and Politicians in Slovenia