Dr T.J. Thomson

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Lecturer, School of Communication

PhD, Journalism (University of Missouri), MA, Journalism (University of Missouri), Graduate Certificate, Qualitative Research (University of Missouri), BA, Communication Arts (Other)

Dr T.J. Thomson, SFHEA, is a lecturer in visual communication and media and a chief investigator at the QUT Digital Media Research Centre. He recently published “To See and Be Seen: The Environments, Interactions, and Identities Behind News Images” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). He is also an officer in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Visual Communication Division and the International Communication Association Visual Communication Studies Division.

T.J. undertakes research, postgraduate supervision, and media commentary in the following areas:

  • visual communication
  • visual journalism
  • media production
  • visual culture
  • journalism studies

Google Scholar Profile — click here

Focus and approach

T.J.’s research focuses on how visual journalism is produced—by whom, in what environments, through which processes, and with what results. He also examines visual self-representation on social media and everyday image making. His approach is based on a combination of ethnography (both physical and virtual), interviews, textual analysis, and digital media methods.

His major publications include the following books and articles:

He sits on the editorial board of the journal Visual Communication Quarterly and has, since 2017, also served as its associate editor. He is the 2019 Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year (jointly bestowed by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and the Australia and New Zealand Communication Association) and is on the advisory board of the Society for Phenomenology and Media.

Additional information

Dr. T.J. Thomson, SFHEA, has experience with both journalistic and corporate communication. Before entering academia, he worked as a freelance visual journalist and designer for a number of news outlets and organizations, including The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and the Omaha World-Herald. Corporate clients include QuickFire Networks, which was acquired by Facebook in 2015; Colorado Academy; and HotelTonight.

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Recipient of the 2019 Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year Award, awarded by the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association and the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia. This internationally competitive award recognises critical research of high academic standard and excellence in research about the fields of communication and journalism and is accompanied by a $3,000 cash prize.
Editorial Role for an Academic Journal
Reference year
Named associate editor of Visual Communication Quarterly, an international, peer-reviewed journal of theory, research, practical criticism, and creative work in all areas of visual communication, in 2017.
Advisor/Consultant for Community
Reference year
Nominated in March 2018 by Society for Phenomenology and Media founder Paul Majkut and confirmed the following month by the organisation's board of directors to serve as an advisor for the Society and provide insight on strategic priorities and operations.