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:
- To See and Be Seen: The Environments, Interactions, and Identities Behind News Images (published by Rowman & Littlefield)
- In Front of the Lens: The Expectations, Experiences, and Reactions of Visual Journalism’s Subjects (published in Journalism and Communication Monographs)
- I “Like” That: Exploring the Characteristics That Promote Social Media Engagement With News Photographs (co-authored with Keith Greenwood and published in Visual Communication Quarterly)
- Freelance Photojournalists and Photo Editors: Learning and adapting in a (mostly faceless) virtual world (published in Journalism Studies)
- Beyond Framing: Influences of subject–photographer interactions on visual journalism (published in Journalism Practice)
- Politicians, Photographers, and a Pope: How state-controlled and independent media covered Francis’s 2015 Cuba visit (published in Journalism Studies)
- Black, White, and a Whole Lot of Gray: How White Photojournalists Covered Race During the 2015 Protests at Mizzou (published in Visual Communication Quarterly)
- Framing the migration: A study of news photographs showing people fleeing war and persecution (published in the International Communication Gazette)
- The Evolution of Story: How Time and Modality Affect Visual and Verbal Narratives (published in Visual Communication Quarterly)
- Mapping the emotional labor and work of visual journalism (published in Journalism)
- From the Closet to the Beach: A Photographer’s View of Gay Life on Fire Island From 1975 to 1983 (published in Visual Communication Quarterly)
- Image-Sharing Via Social Media: Reflections from an Ethnically-and Age-Diverse Sample of People Living with HIV in the Midwest (published in the Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services)
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.
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.
- Thomson T, (2019) To see and be seen: The environments, interactions and identities behind news images
- Thomson T, Greenwood K, (2020) Profile Pictures Across Platforms: How Identity Visually Manifests Itself Among Social Media Accounts, Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods, and Media (2nd Edition) p349-363
- Greenwood K, Thomson T, (2020) Framing the migration: A study of news photographs showing people fleeing war and persecution, International Communication Gazette p140-163
- Thomson T, (2019) In front of the lens: The expectations, experiences, and reactions of visual journalism's subjects, Journalism and Communication Monographs p4-65
- Thomson T, (2018) Mapping the emotional labor and work of visual journalism, Journalism p1-18
- Thomson T, (2018) Freelance photojournalists and photo editors: Learning and adapting in a (mostly faceless) virtual world, Journalism Studies p803-823
- Thomson T, Greenwood K, (2016) Beyond Framing: Influences of subject-photographer interactions on visual journalism, Journalism Practice p625-644
- Thomson T, Perreault G, Duffy M, (2017) Politicians, photographers, and a Pope: How state-controlled and independent media covered Francis's 2015 Cuba visit, Journalism Studies p1313-1330
- Thomson T, Greenwood K, (2017) I 'like' that: Exploring the characteristics that promote social media engagement with news photographs, Visual Communication Quarterly p203-218
- Koegler E, Thomson T, Speno A, Teti M, (2018) Image-sharing via social media: Reflections from an ethnically- and age-diverse sample of people living with HIV in the Midwest, Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services p249-262