​We are all familiar with the activities of political spin doctors, yet much of our knowledge is filtered through reports by journalists whose image of them is often not flattering. In this paper I use interviews with 28 media advisers to Labor and Coalition governments to try to assess the influence of spin doctors on the news. Among other issues I will discuss the co-operation (as well as conflict) between media advisers and journalists and the way in which news is a result of negotiated process. Finally I will examine Tiffen’s notion of spin as a two edged sword which sometimes produces the opposite result to that intended.

Dr David McKnight is an associate professor at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia.  He is the author of a number of books on the media, politics and history. They include his latest book, Big Coal, (co-authored)  and Rupert Murdoch: an investigation of political power, as well as  Beyond Right and Left: New Politics and the Culture War which discusses renewal of the progressive political vision.   His current research areas cover political spin as well as  climate change and politics. He was formerly a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald and on ABC TV’s Four Corners as well as the weekly Tribune

About Research Seminar and Workshop Series

The research seminar and workshop series' occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

The seminars occur on a Friday afternoon from 3-4 pm in Room 601 in the Michie Building (#9).

Semester 2, 2017 Seminars & Workshops


Friday, 11 August

Technologies for the Analysis of Communication

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Dan Angus

Friday, 18 August

Hotel October: The Deaths and Dates of Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Prof. John Schad
(Department of English Literature and Creative Writing, Lancaster University)

Friday, 1 September

The Writer on the Road

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr James Cowan

Friday, 15 September

Birds of a feather? Trump, Chavez and the populist communication style in times of discursive disruption

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Elena Block


Friday, 29 September

Making Hollywood Mobile: Labour in Global Film and Television Production

Room 740, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Kevin Sanson
(School of Communication, QUT)
Friday, 13 October

The Datafication of Religious Media:
Pulpit Plagiarism and the Spiritual Commons in American Sermons

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Andrew Ventimiglia
(TC Beirne School of Law, UQ)
Friday 27 October

Cirrus: Innovative, Digitally Engaged Assessment for High Level Thinking

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Natalie Collie, Dr Jennifer Clement, Kerry Kilner
Friday, 3 November

"The State of Fun": How Singapore's Fun Campaigns Legitimise an Emerging Casino Economy

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Juan Zhang

Friday, 10 November

Historical Moods in Film

Room 601, Michie Building (#9)

Dr Robert Sinnerbrink
(Macquarie University)


Room 601, Michie Building (#9)