PhD Research

My PhD explores the relationships between the interlocking fields of news media, and film and television drama. While each of these cultural fields are defined by their particular forms and inherent possibilities, their boundaries are permeable and each functions as part of the network of sense making structures available to postmodern “nomadic subjects” (Braidotti 1994; Brown 1996).

Specifically the study focuses on an analysis of eschatological narratives of apocalypse in a series of case studies across these fields. Although it does not focus exclusively, or primarily, on texts that explicitly evoke the events of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre, this event and the subsequent “war on terrorism” provide a compelling contemporary political and cultural context for an examination of apocalyptic narratives.

The study’s aims are both theoretical and expository. It aims to develop a range of theoretical heuristic devices as well as deploy them in the series of cases studies. Thus while the cases studies might be regarded as data that points to an emerging contemporary narrative of the apocalyptic, this data is also used to demonstrate the theoretical robustness of an analytical framework that addresses contemporary media narratives more broadly.

Specifically the aims of the study are as follows:

  1. To develop a model of journalism as popular culture, which reads it intertextually with other forms of cultural production.
  2. To further develop an effective model of myth as a heuristic device for journalism and screen culture, building on my previous work (O’Donnell 2003, 2004a; 2004b). Specifically, to establish a theory of multimodal mythic clusters as a way of understanding contemporary mythic discourse.
  3. To delineate a contemporary typology of the apocalypse myth.
  4. To develop a set of case-study readings, consistent with the theoretical model outlined, of the apocalyptic in contemporary journalism, film, and television. In these case studies I explore the multimodal mythic clusters of the city; the president; the smart warrior; new-world-new-self and the mystic-redeemer-mediator.

For more information: Remediating the Apocalypse

Teaching and Learning Research

Reflections and practice research projects have formed an integral part of my development as a journalism educator and academic.

Current projects include

  • investigation of assessment practices in journalism and the creative arts education
  • models of journalism as research
  • convergence as a model for innovation in new approaches to education and media
  • integrating academic and professional standards in journalism education

Further details of some of these projects are available at

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