Associate Professor Renee Barnes | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Associate Professor Renee Barnes

PhD La Trobe, MA(Research) La Trobe, GradCertTertTeach&Learn RMIT, BA Qld.UT

  • Associate Professor in Journalism
  • Creative Industries Honours Coordinator
  • School of Business and Creative Industries
+61 7 5430 1260
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Renee Barnes

A journalist of more than fifteen years, Renee has worked for numerous media organisations including the ABCThe Age and Australian Associated Press. Renee's passion is online journalism and her research and teaching focus is on this field. She is still heavily involved with industry and provides training and consultancy to the journalism industry on online journalism and social media.

Renee's current research is focused on online participatory practice. Her book, Uncovering Commenting Culture: Trolls, Fanboys and Lurkers, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018, examines the role of online commenting in society.

Professional memberships

  • International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)
  • Australia and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) (Secretary)
  • Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)

Professional Social Media

Dr Barnes’ research focuses on the online participatory practice. In particular, she is concerned with how we conceptualise participation online and how we can enhance the online experience. She is interested in the intersection of popular culture and political communication and also has an interest in independent, alternative and community media and the role it plays in the changing news and information ecosystem.

Research grants

Project name


Funding body



Online news and older Australians:  Ensuring the needs of Australia's ageing population are taken into account in the delivery of journalism online

Dr Renee Barnes

auDA Foundation (A$10,000)


Ensuring intergenerational equity in access to public debate by exploring barriers for older Australians in the distribution and presentation of news online

Experiential Entrepreneurship Work Integrated Learning Model 

Retha de Villiers Scheepers (Project Lead), Michael Clements and Renee Barnes



Investigating how an experiential entrepreneurship WIL model develops graduates ability to proactively navigate rapidly changing industries.

Regional Reputation and Media Portrayal

Renee Barnes, Retha de Villiers Scheepers, Noel Tracey

Moreton Bay Council ($137,000)


 Examining the development of regional reputation and identity and media’s role

Research areas

  • online participatory practice
  • fandom and participatory politics
  • online journalism
  • social media
  • alternative and community journalism
  • the audience of news

Dr Barnes welcomes enquiries from students interested in supervision in investigating any elements of online participation, in particular in relation to online news and social media. She has a particular interest in the intersection of popular culture and fan studies with political communication and participatory practice.

Teaching areas

  • Online Journalism
  • Podcasting and radio news
  • Social Media
  • Communication research methods
  • Entrepreneurial Journalism

Program coordinator

Renee's specialist areas of knowledge include online journalism, online behaviours including trolling, social media, alternative journalism, podcasting

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