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School of Communications

Research Interests and Expertise

Media and Democracy

Media and Democracy

This research group focuses on the media as part of the ‘public sphere’, exploring the media’s role in providing information to citizens, its effect in shaping agendas and framing issues, and its status both as a forum and participant in debate. Broad research questions include:

  • What role should media play in free societies, in particular at times of economic and political crisis?
  • What is the relationship between media decisions and the influence of state, political and commercial entities?
  • How can traditional media with fragmenting audiences reinvent themselves as pillars of democracy?
  • What will be the role of new media (and ‘social media’) in encouraging participative citizens, engaging wider audiences and transforming politics?
  • Women Media and Democracy the importance of gender balance

As part of DCU’s commitment to the 3U Partnership, this group will affiliate and work closely with the National Centre for Media, Power and the Public, which is currently a collaboration between DCU School of Communications and the Centre for Media Studies at NUIM.

Projects run by or linked to this group:

The Worlds of Journalism Study (WJS)

Members of the Research Group

Dr. Roddy FlynnDr. Roddy Flynn is an expert in Irish and European audiovisual policy and has written several books on Irish film. He is the School of Communications Research Convenor and co-director of the National Centre for Media, Power and the Public.

Roddy is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: Audiovisual Policy in Ireland, Europe and the US, Telecommunications Policy, Broadcasting Policy, Social History of Communications, Political Economy of the Media and History of Media Technology.


Dr. Eugenia Siapera Dr. Eugenia Siapera teaches, researches and has published extensively on online journalism, blogging and social media. Formerly a member of the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Media Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Eugenia’s research focuses on the political potential of new media and the changing nature of journalism in the digital age.

Eugenia is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: Social media and politics, social media and ethnic/cultural/gender identities, media and cultural diversity, social media and journalism.


Dr. Jane SuiterDr. Jane Suiter is an expert in political communication as well as participate and deliberative communication and referendum campaigns and voting. She is deputy research director of the Constitutional Convention, a board member of Transparency International and on the advisory board of and womenonair. Jane is a frequent contributor to broadcast and print media and is a former journalist having worked as Economics Editor at The Irish Times and for other papers such as The Sunday Times and Sunday Independent and as a presenter on Agenda on TV3.

Jane is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: political communication, political reform ,participative democracy, citizen assemblies,, referendums, pork barrel politics and economic voting as well as gender representation.

Media and Social Change

Media and Social Change

This research group focuses on the relationship between media and society beyond the scope of politics and power, drawing on long-established DCU expertise in audience research and the representational politics of popular culture. Change is addressed here both in terms of social concerns about media influence (cyberbullying, pro-anorexia websites, new media literacy, sexualisation and commercialisation of children, the representation of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ageing in advertising, 'pornification' [sexualisation?] of popular culture) as well as in new media's potential to transform how we learn and communicate (ICTs and digital games in education, online campaigns to combat racism, homophobia, depression and suicide, etc. and developments in health communication, e.g. effectiveness of online treatment programmes for eating disorders).

Broad research questions for the Centre for Media and Social Change include:

  • How are new communication technologies such as Skype, Facebook and Twitter transforming family and close social relationships?
  • How are new forms of information search, storage and processing such as Google and Wikipedia transforming the acquisition of knowledge and understanding?
  • How is the evolving interaction of old and new media transforming global creative and entertainment industries?

Members of the Research Group

Dr. Debbie Ging

Dr. Debbie Ging's research focuses on all aspects of gender and sexuality in the media. She has published extensively on men and masculinity in the media and in Irish cinema. She is a member of the International Advisory Board for the journal Men and Masculinities and of the Editorial Board of Gender, Sexuality and Feminism .

Debbie is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: gender, sexuality and ethnicity in the media, cyberbullying, sexualisation of children, digital games in education, audience research.

Debbie Ging's personal homepage

Dr. Miriam Judge

Dr. Miriam Judge has worked in the audio visual industry as a Corporate Video Producer/Director, researcher and scriptwriter and in the computer industry in a training and instructional design capacity. She is an expert in the area of ICT in Education and e-learning and published a number of important national studies on this topic.

Miriam is interested in supervising masters and PhD these on: the use of technology in education, E-learning, computer mediated learning, video conferencing technology, qualitative research methodologies, instructional design and e-learning technologies, technology and society.

Dr. Neil O'Boyle

Dr. Neil O’Boyle is a member of the Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative in UCD. He was formerly the lead researcher on the IRCHSS theme-funded project 'Immigration and Social Change in the Republic of Ireland' (based in UCD) and is co-author of the report 'New Irish Politics: Political Parties and Immigrants in 2009'. Neil’s research interests include migration, communication theory and the cultural industries.

Neil is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: advertising, migration, communication theory

Dr. Declan Tuite

Declan Tuite has a background in production having worked in studio and live as a sound engineer/producer and more recently in the role of research and development in interactive TV and Web services before taking up a teaching role in DCU
Declan’s research is concerned with the effects of ICTs on society. Of particular interest are behaviours developed by people in polymedia contexts in maintaining and repairing personal and family relationships, and how these effect perceptions and interpretations of trust and intimacy.

Declan is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: eInclusion, ICT and Society, ICT and relationship repair and maintainance.

Media History and Contemporary Journalism

Media History and Contemporary Journalism

Prof Stephen Knowlton

Prof. Steven Knowlton is a former journalist and newspaper editor. His research is in the areas of International journalism studies and Journalism ethics, and he has published books on journalism education, journalist ethics and on the 19th century Irish nationalist organ, The Nation.
Steven is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: photojournalism, journalism ethics, journalism education and International journalism studies.

Martin Molony

Martin Molony is a lecturer and consultant in the corporate and voluntary sectors. His research interests are in the areas of public relations, crisis communications and digital marketing. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the School of Drama, Film & Music at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).

Mark O'Brien

Dr. Mark O’Brien’s research focuses on newspaper and media history and political communication. He is secretary of the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland and chairperson of the advisory board of the Media History Collection, DCU Library & Archive. His current research projects include a book on political communication in Ireland and a book on periodicals in twentieth century Ireland. Mark is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: Media & Journalism History, Journalism Studies, Political Communication, Conflict & Censorship and Journalism & Social Change, including political journalism, crime journalism and the role of social affairs journalism in the modernisation of society

Paul MacNamara

Paul MacNamara is interested in contemporary journalism practice. Before joining DCU, he was a journalist with Independent Newspapers on the business section of the Irish Independent and on news for the Evening Herald and Sunday Independent. Past research projects focused on international journalism education, international relations and child abuse on the internet. Paul is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: Journalism; journalism in Ireland; journalism in international contexts; journalism education; editorial and media systems; newspaper design; news form and design.

Dr John O'Sullivan

Dr. John O’Sullivan’s research interests concern communication technology and society, and have centred in particular on the interplay of journalism and the Internet, especially in relation to professional roles, media platforms and interactivity. He is a member of the editorial board of the new academic journal Digital Journalism, and was vice-chair in the founding executive committee of the Journalism Studies Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association.
John is interested in supervising masters and PhD theses on: Digital journalism, Journalism values, Media (including new media) and democracy, Media diversity, (News) media representation, Sport & society, nationally and internationally, but especially in Ireland association football and minority sports

Practice-Based Research and Professional Practice

Practice-Based Research & Professional Practice

This interdisciplinary research group uses photography, digital video and fine art to address a broad range of research themes and questions.

Members of the Research Group

Karl Grimes

Karl Grimes studied Photography and Media at New York University and the International Center Of Photography, New York. His work is exhibited and published in the United States and Europe and is represented in a number of leading international public and private collections.

Karl Grimes personal homepage

William Tuke

Will Tuke is a video production and multimedia lecturer whose main interests lie in the areas of online video, digital video production, documentary video and factual programming, video podcasts and blogs, citizen journalism, pedagogical use of video, animation, 3D modelling and DVD authoring.