Dr Mark Balnaves

Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries
School of Arts and Social Sciences

+603 5514 6000 (General Line)
Room 2-6-05

Mark Balnaves joined the School of Arts & Social Sciences as Senior Lecturer in Creative Industries.  Dr. Balnaves’ professional background is in print and TV journalism and strategic communication.  His academic background is in social science and media.   Dr. Balnaves is particularly interested in how contemporary audiences, citizens, viewers, readers, digital personae, are mobilised through social media and also, now, what is called 'big data'.  This interest overlaps with his work on the Creative Industries, which is increasingly reliant on digital networks.

As an academic, Dr. Balnaves has taught at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Courses include cultural studies, strategic communication, media research methodology, and media audiences.. He has obtained funding for postgraduate scholarships and has supervised a number of PhDs, Masters and Honours students, as well as examining at all levels.

Dr. Balnaves’s research interests  include digital ethnography, the creative industries, the cultural history of media research, and media audiences. He is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA), the European Consortium of Communication Research (ECCR), and the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). He has been the chief or lead investigator on grants totalling more than $3million, the majority from commercial sources plus ARC LIEF, Linkage and Discovery grants. He has published over 80 refereed papers, including book chapters, with leading journals and publishers in the field. He has published a number of books with Penguin, Sage, Bloomsbury Academic and Palgrave MacMillan. These include Mobilising the Audience (2002), Media Theories and Approaches: A Global Perspective (2008), A New Theory of Information and the Internet: Public Sphere Meets Protocol (2011) and Rating the Audience: The Business of Media (2011).

In 2011 he was invited as a ‘World Thinker’ to the annual Festival of Thinkers in the United Arab Emirates to debate and discuss media issues.  His current media interviews with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Channel 9 in Australia have covered the dramatic rise of conspiratorial thinking in social media discourse, its extent and its effects.


  • PhD (RMIT)
  • BA Communication (University of Canberra)
  • Graduate Diploma TESOL (University of Canberra)

Research Interests

Dr Balnaves’s work covers media audiences (all kinds), internet hypergiants, media measurement, the creative industries, and digital identity.

Research Projects 

The Sovereign Citizen

This project investigates public social media conversations that highlight problems of misinformation and disinformation and the styles of reasoning behind them.  This brings in, in particular, how digital identities  are created and affected by these styles of reasoning and those that promote them.  Sovereign Citizens or “Sov Citz” are famous in the United States for rejecting government authority.  Its ideas and its language, however, have spread worldwide, used even when social media users are not, strictly, “Sov Citz”.  The project is in collaboration with Associate Professor Daniel Baldino, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Western Australia, and uses Facebook’s CrowdTangle resources, among others.

Super Aggregators

Dr. Balnaves  has an ongoing working interest in the role of super aggregators such as Google in shaping markets and audience behaviour.  This includes everything from “ramp control” where aggregators slow services of users that represent a potential market threat to internet metrics that are not transparent.

Creative Industries

Malaysia has an exciting future ahead in the creative industries.  Dr. Balnaves has an extensive record on creative industries research, including a major study on the Hunter region in New South Wales, Australia.  He will be undertaking research in Malaysia on the role of digital networks in promoting the creative industries.

Climate change

Dr. Balnaves is a member of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, climate change advisory group and research node.


Dr.Balnaves has a PhD in social science and media and a professional background in print, TV and strategic communication  He has taught in undergraduate and postgraduate courses and supervised Honours, Masters and PhD candidates.  His teaching, below, has covered many of the professional media areas at theoretical and practical levels.

​​Gulf University of Science and Technology

Media Management

Communication Theory

University of Newcastle University

Advanced Public Relations

Audience Studies

Writing for the Media

Edith Cowan University

Communication and Culture

Advanced Communication Research Methods

Publication: preparation, research and writing

Issues and Crisis Management

Perception Management

Introduction to Public Relations

Professional Placement

Communication Research

Murdoch University

Mass Communication II (journalism and public relations)

Media Audiences

Media Planning (in conjunction with AIS Elliott Matthews)

Media Research

Writing for the Media

University of Canberra

Intercultural Communication

Media Research (UG, Honours and PG)

Writing for the Media



Media Research

Power: its use and abuse

Professional memberships 

Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) journalism section

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA)

European Consortium of Communication Research (ECCR)

International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)


Balnaves M, Wilson M, A new theory of information and the Internet: Public sphere meets protocol, Peter Lang Publishing, Bern, Switzerland, (2011)

Balnaves M, O'Regan T, Goldsmith B, Rating the audience: The business of media, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, United Kingdom, 224 (2011)

Balnaves M, Donald S, Shoesmith B, Media theories and approaches: A global perspective, Palgrave Macmaillan, London, United Kingdom, 339 (2008)

Journal and conference articles

O’Regan T, Balnaves, M Super aggregators and the media supply chain’ Media International Australia  180(1) (2021)

The Journalist as Digital Persona

Balnaves, M, ‘The Journalist as Digital Persona: incorporating the methodology of social media influencers’ in JCE curricula at the Journalism and Communication Education in the Context of Media Convergence, 3rd International Forum for Yuelu Media and Culture Development1st-3rd November in Changsha, China (2019)

Balnaves, M, ‘Super aggregators (hyper giants) and the media supply chain’, International Forum on Media Convergence in the Omnimedia Era, School of Languages and Media of Anhui University of Finance & Economics (2020).

Balnaves, M. ‘Digital economy planning in Kuwait’  11th CMI International Conference: Prospects and Challenges Towards Developing a Digital Economy within the EU (2018)

Balnaves M, Kerrigan S, King E, McIntyre K, Williams C, 'Creative Industries Entrepreneurship: the Hunter', Refereed proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association conference: Creating Space in the Fifth Estate (2016)

Dean S, Williams C, Balnaves M, 'Living dolls and nurses without empathy', Journal of Advanced Nursing, (2016)

James MB, Balnaves M, Fulton J, 'Situational Theory of the Digital Persona: public relations for non-human internet agents', Refereed Proceedings of The ANZCA Conference 2015: Rethinking Communication, Place and Identity. (2016)

Kerrigan SM, Williams CL, Balnaves M, Hutchinson S, King E, McIntyre K, 'How creative, how industrial: Attitudes to the term creative industries in the Hunter Region', Refereed proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association conference: Creating Space in the Fifth Estate (2016)

Balnaves M, Holmes K, Wang Y, 'Red Bags and WeChat (Weixìn): Online collectivism during massive Chinese cultural events', Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, 9 (2015)

Dean S, Williams C, Balnaves M, 'Practising on plastic people: Can I really care?', Contemporary Nurse, 51 257-271 (2015)

Balnaves M, 'Domestication of Anglo-Saxon Conventions and Practices in Australia', Television Audiences Across the World: Deconstructing the Ratings Machine, Palgrave Macmillan, London 164-178 (2014)

Book chapters

Baldino, D, Balnaves M ‘Sticky ideologies and non-violent heterodox politics’ Routledge Handbook of Non-Violent Extremism (in press)

Balnaves M ‘A Return to the Good Old Days: Populism, Fake News, Yellow Journalism, and the Unparalleled Virtue of Business People’ In: Bowden B, McMurray A (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Management History. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.  (2019) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62348-1_45-1

Balnaves, M, Willson, M, Leaver, T, Online money and fantasy games - an applied ethnographic study into the new entrepreneurial communities and their underlying designs. Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage LP110200026 1/01/2011 – 31/12/2013 AU$120,000

Stratton, J, Balnaves, M, Lucy, N,  $160,000 A cultural history of West Australian popular music, 1945 to 2010. Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery DP1201026781/01/2012 – 31/12/2017 AU$160,000

Hartz-Karp, J, Balnaves, M, Marinova, D $358,000. Transitions to a sustainable city - Geraldton WA: an applied study into co-creating sustainability through civic deliberation and social media. Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage  LP100200803. 1/01/2010 – 31/12/2010 AU $358,000

Mcintyre, P, Balnaves, M, Kerrigan, S,  Creativity and cultural production in the Hunter: an applied ethnographic study of new entrepreneurial systems in the creative industries. Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage  LP130100348 AU$180,000

Balnaves, M, O’Regan, T, The emergence, development and transformation of media ratings conventions and methodologies in Australia, 1930-2008. Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery 1/01/2006 – 31/12/2006 AU $265,000

Green, L, Balnaves, M Australian responses to the images and discourses of terrorism and the other: establish a metric of fear. Australian Research Council (ARC) 1/01/2005 – 31/12/2005  AUD $146,000

Areas of Research & Supervision

Digital identities, creative industries, digital and media policy, media audiences

Postgraduate (Other Universities)

Wang, Yini

Social media interactions and Chinese identities: A comparative ethnographic study of Chinese youth and rural women’s identity constructions

University of Newcastle

2014 - 2018

Jack, Victoria

Communication as aid: giving voice to refugees on the Thai-Burma border


University of Newcastle

2012 - 2016

Awards, Recent Keynotes and Media


Adjunct Research Fellow, University of Notre Dame, Australia

China Research Fellow, Wuhan University

Research Fellow. Centre for Research in Culture and Communication, Murdoch University


Hunan University, 2019, The Journalist as Digital Persona: incorporating the methodology of social media influencers’ in JCE curricula at the Journalism and Communication Education in the Context of Media Convergence, 3rd International Forum for Yuelu Media and Culture Development1st-3rd November in Changsha, China.

Anhui University of Finance and Economics (2020) ‘Super aggregators (hyper giants) and the media supply chain’, International Forum on Media Convergence in the Omnimedia Era, School of Languages and Media.


A Current Affair, Channel 9 Australia, How experts are separating COVID-19 facts from fiction.


6 Sept 2021

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) COVID-19 is accelerating the rise of conspiracy and sovereign citizens

20 Aug 2021 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-21/covid-19-accelerating-rise-of-conspiracy-movements-in-australia/100393666

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Don’t just focus on the things you want to hear

17 Nov 2020