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Curtin welcomes new media researcher

Media release

Respected new media academic Professor Mark Balnaves has joined Curtin University of Technology.

Professor Balnaves, of Wembley Downs, has taken up a four-year appointment as Curtin Senior Research Fellow in New Media, in the Department of Internet Studies in the School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts.

“My research passion is e-governance,” he said.

“I am working closely with Department Head Associate Professor Matthew Allen on research into how the Internet and social media can boost communication and engagement between people and governments.

“For example, I’m fascinated by the phenomena of “Obamamania” and the use of Web 2.0, blogs, and micro-blogging through Twitter and Facebook in President Obama’s campaign.

“People felt they had a genuine involvement in his campaign through the Internet and new media.

“This was a real change from other US Presidential campaigns as there was such a close ‘virtual’ connection between the people and a future President.

“This had not happened before as other campaigns were seen as tightly controlled through traditional media such as newspapers, TV and radio, rather than made more assessable through the immediacy of new media.

“At Curtin I will be looking at these trends and those sweeping Europe and Australia.

“I am keen to find out more about how they link to everyday life and how governments can use new media to map people’s feelings over issues.”

A former journalist and TV news production coordinator, Professor Balnaves has criss-crossed Australia in pursuit of his academic career.

Prior to joining Curtin he was Professor of New Media in the School of Communications and Multimedia at Edith Cowan University (2003-2008). He has held senior positions in communication at Murdoch University, the University Queensland and the University of Canberra. A prolific writer, his publications include Media theories and approaches: A global perspective, Atlas of media and information and his forthcoming book, Constructing the global audience.

Curtin Department of Internet Studies Head, Associate Professor Matthew Allen, is delighted to welcome Professor Balnaves to his area.

“Professor Balnaves is a leading researcher in the social and political possibilities of the Internet and he will strengthen our team,” he said.

Attention Editor/COS: A photograph of Professor Balnaves is available on request.