Award-winning journalist, author and academic Margaret Simons will join the journalism department in Monash University’s School of Media, Film and Journalism in July.
Head of School of Media, Film and Journalism, Associate Professor Mia Lindgren, said Associate Professor Simons’ appointment was a boost for the school and Monash University.
“Margaret is an award-winning journalist with extensive experience in journalism research and teaching,” Associate Professor Mia Lindgren said.
“She joins a strong team of journalism scholars and educators at Monash University. Margaret’s knowledge and leadership will directly benefit our students as they prepare to shape the future of journalism.”
Associate Prof Simons is currently the Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne, a position she has held since 2011.
Associate Prof Simons was the founding chair and remains a board member of the Public Interest Journalism Foundation, which was established in 2009 at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research to promote and enable innovation in public interest journalism.
Associate Prof Simons holds a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the University of Technology Sydney.
As well as her significant contribution to academia, Associate Prof Simons is a freelance investigative journalist and feature writer. With photojournalist Dave Tacon, she won the 2015 Walkley for Social Equity Journalism for her essay Fallen Angels, published in The Monthly.
This article also won the 2015 Quill Award for best feature. Her long-form journalism has been published in The Monthly, Inside Story and The Age.
Her investigation into the then Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, entitled, Latham’s World: The New Politics of the Outsiders, was published as a Quarterly Essay in the lead up to the 2004 federal election.
Associate Prof Simons has also written extensively about the media for numerous publications and was the retained media commentator for Crikey from 2005 to 2014.
Associate Prof Simons is the author of 13 books. Her co-authored biography, Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs (2010), won both the Book of the Year and the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2011.
Associate Prof Simons’s unauthorised biography Kerry Stokes: Self-Made Man was published by Penguin in 2013 and nominated for best non-fiction book at the 2014 Walkley Awards, and won the history prize in the WA Premier’s Literary Awards.
Other book titles include her prize-winning 2003 book The Meeting of the Waters, which examined the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair; The Content Makers: Understanding the Future of the Australian Media (2007); and Journalism at the Crossroads (2012).
Associate Prof Simons’s most recent book, Six Square Metres, was launched in October 2015.
Associate Prof Simons has also led a cross-disciplinary team in the Australian Research Council-funded project “Violence Against Women: A Media Intervention” which has shed light on the media’s role in primary prevention of domestic violence.
This has included the innovative website and social media presence Uncovered, which directly engages journalists in conversations, debate and education on the challenges and issues involved in reporting VAW.
Associate Prof Simons leads the cross-institutional industry-funded research project The Civic Impact of Journalism, which has investigated through a series of case studies how journalism impacts civic society, and how this is changing.
Arising out of this project, Associate Prof Simons has also overseen the development of the Wakul database and app, which aims to aggregate and amplify the voices of Indigenous users of new media. This is currently the subject of an ARC Linkage Grant application with The Guardian in Australia as an industry partner.
Various publications have followed from these projects.
Both in her earlier post at Swinburne University and at University of Melbourne, Associate Prof Simons has convened the annual New News Festival, now in its eighth year, which has become one of the leading forums for public discussion of the present and future of journalism.
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