T.J. Thomson

Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology

T.J. Thomson

Degree(s): MA '15, PhD '18

Whereabouts: Australia

What do you do?
I am a senior lecturer (equivalent to associate professor in the U.S. system) in visual communication and media in the School of Communication, Creative Industries Faculty, at the Queensland University of Technology and a chief investigator at its Digital Media Research Centre. I teach classes in visual storytelling and design and research how visual journalism is produced – by whom, in what environments, through which processes, and with what results. While at QUT, I recently authored “To See and Be Seen: The Environments, Interactions, and Identities Behind News Images” (which won the National Communication Association’s 2020 Diane S. Hope Book of the Year Award) and also was honored with the 2019 Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year title (jointly bestowed by the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia and the Australia and New Zealand Communication Association).

What is the best professional lesson you learned at the J-School?
My time at the Missouri School of Journalism taught me the value of human connection and collaboration. Our ability to accomplish any goal is greatly enhanced by the diverse experiences, skills, and ideas that teams and colleagues can provide and Mizzou instilled this appreciation in me.

What advice do you have for current students?
Explore campus. Try to visit every building on its more than 1,200 acres. Meet people. Expand your worldview. Spend time with people who live and/or look differently than you. Be reflexive, humble, and grounded. Cultivate a community that can support, challenge, inspire, and motivate you.

What is your favorite J-School memory?
I have two. The first was my initial time on campus. I hadn’t stepped foot on the Mizzou campus, much less visited Missouri, before arriving in Columbia in August 2013 to pursue a master’s degree in photojournalism. I still vividly remember my first night there, though. My parents and I arrived after dark following a full day’s drive but we still managed to stumble onto campus and stood transfixed for a good many minutes under Jesse’s stately glow. The history and traditions on the quad and the adjacent School of Journalism were simply awe-inspiring to behold. The second memory was standing outside Gannett Hall in March 2015 talking on the phone with then-Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research Esther Thorson, who had called to let me know my application into the School’s Ph.D. program had been accepted and to invite me to pursue doctoral studies there. Our conversation was brief but I was elated at receiving the news she relayed. I made a call of my own shortly after and let my parents know the news and the potential for staying on at Missouri for another three years.

Updated: September 28, 2020