I joined Melbourne from the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester, where I was a Senior Lecturer. I have held numerous research grants from organisations such as the Economic and Social Research Council, the Research Councils of the United Kingdom, the British Academy and the European Union. The total value of these grants is in excess of $6m. In 2012, I was a Mid-Career Fellow of the British Academy. In 2017 I am am Visiting Fellow at Stanford University (Symbolic Systems), and have previously been a Visiting Fellow at the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. I have published widely in the highest ranked communication and politics journals in the world, including Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication; New Media & Society (2); Press/Politics; Political Communication; Information, Communication & Society (2); Media, Culture & Society; European Journal of Communication; Journal of European Public Policy; British Journal of Politics and International Relations; Parliamentary Affairs; and the Journal of Information Technology & Politics. My research has received over 1750 citations, with an H index of 17 and an i10 index of 22.
My research focuses on political communication, political participation and journalism. Specific interests include: online deliberation; the public sphere; everyday political talk; the relationships between technology and journalism, online political participation and activism; the impact of website design on political debate; super-participants; censorship and online discussion; methods of analysing online discussion; newspaper comment fields; and data journalism. My research is multi-method, comparatively grounded, and is quantitative and qualitative - using content analysis, statistics, interviews and discourse analysis.
I have held a number of important leadership and administrative roles. I am currently the Chair of Graduate Studies in the School of Culture and Communication – one of the three overarching chair positions across all programs. I am also on the School Executive and the Faculty Board, and was previously on the Research Committee and the Higher Degrees by Research Coordinator. In each role I have offered strategic leadership and mentoring. Specific leadership examples include the development of a dual MA degree with Fudan University and the development and launch of a successful MA degree in Broadcast Journalism at UEA – the first practical media degree at the university.
At Melbourne, I teach a range of digital media research methods courses, with a strong industry-facing focus and regular guest speakers. This includes website scraping, sentiment analysis, content analysis, social network analysis and data visualisation. Teaching feedback for these courses is excellent and they are hugely popular. I have previously taught across political communication and new media and society.
I have advised a range of bodies on e-democracy initiatives from local councils to the US State Department. My research has had a broad impact, influencing the development and use of online consultations, discussion fora and political blogs by groups such as the Hansard Society; the International Centre of Excellence in Local E-democracy; Public Works and Government Services Canada, and the German Bundestag. I was Convener of the Political Studies Association Urban Politics specialist group and a member of the NSF-funded International Working Group on Online Consultation and Public Policy Making. I won a Cue East award for my engagement activities and had Beacon Status.
In my spare time, I enjoy walking Holly, my English Springer Spaniel, coffee, brunch, growing veggies, and shopping at farmers markets.