Law, Humanities and The Arts


Stephen Tanner

Current Positions:

Professor of Journalism, Faculty of Creative Arts


Professor Stephen Tanner has worked as a journalist, political adviser and academic. After graduating from the University of Tasmania, he worked as a newspaper journalist and freelance contributor to lifestyle magazines. In the mid 1980s he was appointed as researcher, then press secretary to the Premier of Tasmania. In early 1990 he returned to journalism, editing a business newspaper, while also juggling roles as a political consultant and tutor in politics at the University of Tasmania. By 1993 he was teaching politics full time. In 1999 he was appointed to a lectureship in journalism at the University of Queensland, and in 2002 to a senior lectureship in journalism at Murdoch University in Western Australia. In June 1995 he was appointed Associate Professor and Head of the School of Journalism and Creative Writing in the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. He was appointed professor in 2008, and remained as Head of School until 2011.

Professor Tanner is an active researcher, with a particular focus on the development of educational resources. Since 2002 he has co-authored and edited six textbooks. He has also authored (and co-authored) more than 30 journal articles and book chapters on a range of topics, including teaching pedagogy, disability and the media, media coverage of political corruption, and politics.

Professor Tanner is currently working on a literary Journalism/biographical book on recovering from trauma.

His full list of publications can be found here:

Research Grants:

(1) He is currently chief investigator on a $120,000 ALTC/OLT grant (with Professor Kerry Green from UniSA, A. Prof. Trevor Cullen from ECU, and Dr Marcus O┬┐Donnell from UoW) entitled: `Graduate Qualities and Journalism Curriculum Renewal: Balancing Tertiary Expectations and Industry Needs in a Changing Environment.┬┐

(2) From 2009-12 he was a joint lead researcher in a five university consortium that received a $50,000 ARC Linkage Grant to investigate media coverage of vulnerable groups within society.


Professor Tanner has designed and taught into a number of on-shore and
off-shore training programs involving Journalists from PNG, Indonesia, Fiji, the Cook Islands and East Timor. The programs have covered a range of topics, including: (1) Developing Investigative Journalism Skills; (2) Uncovering and Reporting on Political Corruption: (3) Covering Democratic Elections; and (4) Journalism Ethics.


He has presented papers at a significant number of international conferences across a broad range of issues, although predominantly on journalism education in recent years. His teaching interests are broad, and include political journalism, journalism ethics, investigative journalism and feature writing.

Stephen has been a member of the judging panel for the following awards:
National Press Club/ National Australia Bank Student Journalism Awards;
Royal Agricultural Society (NSW Foundation JB Fairfax Award for Rural Journalism since 2009.

Research Interests:

Media coverage of disability; Media coverage of politics; Media coverage of corruption; Media ethics

Professional Activities:

President, Journalism Education Association (till December 2006). From December, 2006 - December 2008: Vice President, JEA; Treasurer, JEA 2000-05.


2008: Recipient, with Dr Marcus O'Donnell, of an ALTC Citation for their work on the design of the new Bachelor of Journalism degree.

Future Research Topics:

Whatever takes his fancy at the time.

Research Students

  • Julie Posetti : Towards an intersectional model of policy development, advocacy and journalism: Negotiating freedom of expression in public.
  • Shawn Burns : Did the end justify the means? An exploration of how Australian newspapers portrayed people with disability when reporting on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and what people with disability say about the coverage.