About Melanie James

Melanie James is currently Head of School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle, a communication scholar, a senior communications consultant, and a creative writer. She is currently involved in three distinct research projects that respectively involve the application of Positioning Theory in communication; agile management approaches in communication; and, digital disruption in higher education relating to creative and cultural industries. Recent journal articles have appeared in Quarterly Review of Film and Video (2016), “A Uses and Gratifications Study Into the Motivations of Legal and Illegal Film Consumption ” (co-authored with Henkel and Croce); in Public Relations Review (2016) “Talking back: Reflecting on feminism, public relations and research” (co-authored with Fitch and Motion), and, in Media International Australia (2015) “Situating a new voice in public relations: The application of positioning theory to research and practice”.

Image of book cover "Positioning theory" "Melanie James" "Public Relations" "Strategic Communication"Her sole-authored academic book (Routledge, 2014), Positioning Theory and Strategic Communications: A new approach to public relations research and practice (Follow the link for information, reviews and purchase information) has been described as “thought provoking” and the “approach helps to understand communication strategies in general” (Zerfass, Vercic & Wiesenberg, 2016).

She was recently invited to write three entries (14000 words total) for the forthcoming International Encyclopedia of Strategic Communication, a joint project of the International Communication Association and Wiley Publishers, which will will be the most comprehensive collection of strategic communication knowledge ever assembled. Other past publications include “Autoethnography: the story of “doing a MOOC” or knowing “the beast” from within” (in Bennett & Kent, Eds. in press, Ashgate); “Positioning a price on carbon: Applying a proposed hybrid method of positioning discourse analysis for public relations” (co-authored with Wise) in Public Relations Inquiry (2013); “Not everyone’s aboard the online public relations train: The use (and non-use) of social media by public relations practitioners” (co-authored with Robson) in PRism (2013); and, “Autoethnography: The story of applying a conceptual framework for intentional positioning to public relations practice” (2012) in Public Relations Review.

She is also editor of the Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Public Relations Research. She is an invited contributor as a “thought leader in social media” in both the forthcoming second edition and the original 2014 edition of Lipshultz’s book, Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics (Routledge). She served from 2012-2015 on the National Educational Advisory Committee of the Public Relations Institute of Australia. She currently chairs the Living Cities Community of Practice for UrbanGrowth NSW and is chair of the MOOC Steering Committee at the University of Newcastle, overseeing the development and delivery of the university’s first MOOC with edX, a world first, being on the subject of Natural History Illustration. In addition to a string of teaching commendations and industry awards, in 2015 she won the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s “National PR Educator of the Year 2015” Award.


Zerfass, A., Vercic, D., & Wiesenberg, M. (2016). Managing CEO communication and positioning: a cross-national study among corporate communication leaders. Journal of Communication Management, 20(1).

The material or views expressed on this Blog are those of the author and do not represent those of the University.  Please report any offensive or improper use of this Blog to RPS@newcastle.edu.au.
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