Sports journalism symposium today

12 March 2010

Written by: Lawrie Zion

La Trobe University will host a one-day symposium ‘Sports journalism and media: the state of play in research and curriculum’ today. The symposium will include a range of papers and panel discussions, the full details of which can be found below.  

Photo credit: Sanja Gjenero

This symposium is being held to coincide with the launch of a Sports Journalism Strategic Initiative at La Trobe  that will develop new curriculum to be offered in 2011.  

The one-day event will feature panel discussions on sports curriculum, sports media research trends, and the sports media industry.  

The symposium will be held in the Council Chambers at the John Scott Meeting House (see G5 on this map). Speakers and guests will include Australian and international-based academics from the journalism, media, sociology and sports management disciplines; students, sports professionals, sports journalists, and media editors and executives.  

Speaker details and the latest symposium schedule can be found below. For a printable version of the schedule and speaker details, go to the symposium program PDF.

8:30-9 Registration and coffee    
9-9:15 Welcome Professor Tim Murray, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences  
9:15-10:15 Globalisation  and the rise of soccer in Australia Joseph Maguire, Emma Sherry, Roy Hay Ramon Spaaij
10:15-10:30 Morning tea    
10:30-11:45 Reporting Bad Sports Paul Kennedy, Catharine Lumby, Michael Visontay, Francis Leach Lawrie Zion
11:45-1 Reporting Women in Sport Catharine Lumby, Emma Sherry, Nicole Livingstone Catharine Lumby
1-2 Lunch    
2-3 In conversation – Ashley Browne Ashley Browne, Founder, Matt de Neef
3-3:15 Afternoon Tea    
3:15-4:15 Community reporting Nick Richardson, Niall Seewang,  Ron Bongetti Matt Nicholson
4:15-5 Sport Journalism curricula and the future of journalism education Michael Visontay, Nick Richardson, Greg Baum, Ben Waterworth, Ben Asgari Lawrie Zion
5:00 DRINKS    

If you wish to attend this event, please send an RSVP to Lucy O’Connor on lucy.o’ by Monday, 29 March. For any other questions about the conference, please email Lawrie Zion at  


Professor Catharine Lumby is the Director of the Journalism and Media Research Centre (JMRC). The JMRC is a recent initiative of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at The University of New South Wales. The Centre undertakes research of high quality and impact across the fields of journalism, communication, and media and makes significant contribution to public debate and policy. The Centre offers rigorous and relevant education for postgraduate coursework and research students.  

Nicole Livingstone is one of the greatest backstrokers in Australian swimming history, Nicole was a member of the Australian swimming team for twelve consecutive years from 1985 – 1996. Nicole’s career achievements include a silver medal and 2 bronze medals from three Olympic appearances; 6 gold, 2 silver and a bronze from three Commonwealth Games and competing in six Pan Pacific Championships winning 4 gold 2 silver and 1 bronze medals.  She also broke a world record in the 200m backstroke (short course) in 1992. Following the 1996 Olympic Games Nicole began a career with the  Nine Network. This saw her in a variety of roles; from the host’s chair of their flagship sports programs Wide World of Sports and Sports Saturday, to hosting the Commonwealth Games and as an expert commentator/host with Nine’s Logie award winning swimming coverage. In 2009 Nicole joined Channel Ten, working on their new 24-hour digital sports channel ONE as a host and commentator on their swimming broadcast.  

Associate Professor Matthew Nicholson (Sport and Leisure Management, La Trobe University). Matthew Nicholson’s research and teaching interests focus on policy development and practice, the relationship between sport and the media and the contribution of sport and volunteering to social capital. His most recent publications include Sport and Policy: Issues and Analysis (2009), Sport Management: Principles and Applications (2009), Sport and Social Capital (2008), A National Game (2008) and Sport and the Media: Managing the Nexus (2007). Matthew is currently working on a range of research projects funded by the ARC, VicHealth, DPCD and Reclink.  

Professor Joseph Maguire is professor of the sociology of sport at Loughborough Univeristy. He is a former President of the International Sociology of Sport Association and RC27 of the ISA and currently an executive board member of the International Council for Sports Science and Physical Education. He has published extensively in the area of sport, culture and society. Areas examined include violence, pain and injury, sport and the body/emotions, sport and the media. Currently his work focuses on the area of sport and social theory and sport and globalisation. His research has examined the area of globalisation with reference to identity, the media, migration and political economy.  

Dr Nick Richardson Nick Richardson is group news editor at Leader Community Newspapers and a senior associate in the RMIT University Journalism program. He has covered a range of sports during a long career in journalism. He has a PhD in sport history from the University of Melbourne.  

Dr Ramón Spaaij (Research Fellow, La Trobe University and University of Amsterdam). Ramón worked as a lecturer in Sociology at the Universities of Melbourne, Amsterdam and Seville. He was a Visiting Professor at the State University of Campinas, Brazil. Ramón has published widely on social and cultural aspects of sport, including violence, hooliganism, racism, identity politics and social development. He is the author or co-author of six books, including Understanding Football Hooliganism (Amsterdam University Press, 2006). He is the editor of The Social Impact of Sport (Routledge, 2009). Ramón is a regular contributor to international media on issues such as soccer hooliganism and sport fan cultures.  

Dr Emma Sherry is a sport management academic at La Trobe University, teaching in the Bachelor of Business (Sport and Leisure Management). Emma’s research focus is sport development and social capital, with a particular focus on marginalised groups and the Homeless World Cup. Emma has undertaken research with a variety of sport organisations such as: the AFL, Victorian Women’s Cricket Association, Cricket Victoria, Football Federation Victoria and Bowls Australia. In addition to her role as an academic, Emma is a committee member of the Vicsport women’s advisory group and Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ).  

Roy Hay is an Honorary Fellow of Deakin University, where he taught for 25 years.  He is a partner in Sports and Editorial Services Australia and author or joint author/editor of The World Game Downunder, with Bill Murray, and histories of Deakin University, the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and St Joseph’s College, Geelong. He is a member and former President of the Australian Society for Sports History. He was football (soccer) writer for the Geelong Advertiser from 1991 to 2002 and since has had a regular (non-football) column there. He contributes to Goal Weekly and other football papers.  

Francis Leach is a broadcaster and journalist with one of the most diverse CV’s in the country. These days he hosts “The Run Home” drive program on 1116 SEN sports radio in Melbourne as well as being part of the stations live coverage of Soccer and AFL Football. Francis is also a regular panelist on the ABC’s TV’s Sunday morning sports show “The Offsiders”. He started his career as rocking the nation at the ABC’s youth radio network Triple J, where he also hosted the networks’ morning current affairs program. Throw in a stint at ABC Radio National where he hosted a daily art program for a year and you have the only broadcaster in the country who can lay claim to having worked with Phillip Adams and Dermott Brereton!  

Paul Kennedy is a presenter for ABC News Breakfast on ABC2.  He started his career as a copy boy for the Herald and Weekly Times in 1994, before completing a cadetship at Leader Community Newspapers.  He has worked as a television and current affairs journalist in Queensland and Melbourne for Channels 10, 9 and the ABC.  Paul produced and wrote an award-winning short film ‘Drug Game’, examining the issue of drugs in sport.  He has also contributed sports features to Inside Sports, The Australian and The Sunday Age.  In his personal time he is a football coach and married father of two.  

Greg Baum is a multi-award winning columnist and feature writer for The Age. Since starting at The Age in 1989, he has covered international cricket, football, soccer, tennis, golf, motor racing and many other sports. He has written on Olympic and Commonwealth Games, two Ashes tours, two cricket World Cups and more than 20 Grand Finals. Greg also covered various sports at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, writing columns, comments and feature articles. Baum won the WACA Test match media award for 2007-08 for his report of day one of the Australia-India Test in January 2008.  

Michael Visontay is a former Managing Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald and Deputy Editor of the Sun-Herald. During 25 years as a writer and editor in newspapers and magazines, he has reported at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, and the World Cup. In 2000 he was the Olympics Editor for Good Weekend magazine. In 2007 he won the Qantas-EU Journalism Award to research the impact of football on European integration. Michael has lectured in journalism at several universities over the past 20 years. In 2009 he developed a subject on Media, Sport and Culture at UNSW.  

Ashley Browne is a former Age sportswriter who specialised in AFL football, tennis and golf. He was a co-founder of digital sports publisher Sportal Australia and a former editor of After nearly three years as national editor of The Australian Jewish News, he is now a freelance sports journalist and editor of BackPageLead, a new online sports analysis and opinion website.  

Matt de Neef is co-editor of upstart and edits the publication’s sport section. Matt, who has a Bachelor of Arts (Communications/Philosophy) from Monash under his belt, is also completing his Graduate Diploma in Journalism at La Trobe. He blogs at both A Cursory Glance, which is a compendium of his opinion pieces, and The Climbing Cyclist, which details his encounters with some of Victoria’s most popular climbs. He has had two features published recently in The Age, the most recent of which was a LiveWire cover story about time shift viewing.  

Ron Bongetti (Director, Australian Sporting Connections). Ron Bongetti has worked in the sports industry since the 1980’s. He is a Director at vicsport and Chairman of the Northern Football League (NFL). He recently completed marketing roles at Myrtha Pools and TigerTurf and had previously held executive positions at Swimming Victoria, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne Giants and Brisbane Bullets (in the NBL). He has presented and been a panel member at a number of forums and believes that sport is relying on current sports journalism students to fix its communication issues.  

Niall Seewang is a journalist at The Border Mail in Albury-Wodonga. After completing a Graduate Diploma in Journalism at La Trobe in 2006, Niall joined the Border Mail, spending a year in news reporting, sub editing and the sports team. He recently spent two weeks at The Age on a work placement, working at the paper’s sports section during a break from Border Mail duties. Niall also co-hosts a sports chat show on 2AY every Saturday. A sports tragic, he also plies his fare on the cricket and football fields, with varying success.  

Ben Waterworth is a second year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. Ben reguarly contributes to the sport section of La Trobe’s online publication upstart. He has had numerous experiences in the media sector, including being a member of the Eastern Football League media team, a member of the Infostrada Sports media team covering the 2009 Champion’s Trophy hockey tournament and writing for a Salvation Army publication on fire. Ben has just taken up a job with Fox Sports for a new TV Show that will premiere during the 2010 AFL season.  

Ben Asgari is a first-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. Ben was a regular contributor on upstart during last season’s spring racing carnival writing on his passion for horse racing. The surprising popularity of these articles amongst upstart readers led to Ben taking up a job writing for Betfair as one of its two racing writers. A regular sports tragic, Ben spends most evenings either playing soccer or at soccer training and on weekends if he is not at the race track he is probably suffering through yet another Melbourne Football Club defeat.

Dr Lawrie Zion (Journalism Coordinator, La Trobe University). Lawrie has worked in the media for much of the last two decades, and has been co-ordinating La Trobe’s Bachelor of Journalism degree since 2006. He is also one of the co-ordinators of the new Master of Global Communications degree, and editor-in-chief of the new La Trobe online publication for emerging Australian journalists, upstart. He occasionally invests in the outcome of horse races, makes documentaries and grows chestnuts.  

Further details of the symposium will be updated at