My name is Janet Fulton and I am a Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media in the School of Creative Industries at the University of Newcastle.
Communication and media is an exciting, dynamic industry to research and educating students to work in this area is very rewarding.
My research focus includes creativity and cultural production, journalism, journalism education, the future of journalism, social media, and working in the digital space and I am involved in several projects that blend these interests.
I am currently working on a project titled Media entrepreneurship: alternative paths for media producers. The project is examining how media producers work in a digital environment, how they monetise their work and how they adapt their skills.
Paul Scott and I are examining the structure of journalism education in the University of Newcastle program to ascertain its efficacy in relation to work practices in the journalism industry. The view is to expand the review Australia-wide. Paul and I are also working with Dr Judith Sandner on research that is examining work integrated learning in communication studies.
I have also been part of a project run in collaboration with a number of Australian Universities including the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Technology Sydney, University of South Australia, University of Sydney and University of Tasmania. This project is entitled Journalism Students Around the Globe – Australia and examined journalism students’ attitude to journalism education and the state of the industry.
I am also collaborating with Associate Professor Marj Kibby on a project that is looking at young people’s attitudes to Facebook and surveillance.
My teaching philosophy is firmly based within a holistic approach where the student and teacher engage with and learn off each other and that engagement with students who are smart, passionate and love to argue is a challenge I relish.
I’m a big believer in the interweaving of teaching and research. It’s my job as a teacher to ensure that students have an education grounded in both theory and practice while continuing to research in the areas that will enable me to provide students with cutting edge information about the environment they will be working in.
How can we prepare students for working in a new media environment? It is crucial that students are prepared to industry expectations and while “content is still king”, being aware of and researching the different ways media producers will be producing, and preparing Communication students to work in future media environments, is an area I am interested in researching.
While my PhD research examined print journalism, I’m fascinated by and eager to research newer forms of journalism, such as online, digital and social media, and researching in these areas will help students to adapt to producing in the digital age. The digital space is an area of increasing importance in our teaching because this is where Communication students will be working. The journalism industry is in a state of flux with new media practices and platforms, as are other media industries.