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Advisory Board

Professor John Owen

John Owen is presently the Acting Executive Producer of Programmes for the Americas for the Al Jazeera English Channel. He is on a sabbatical from City University where he is Professor of International Journalism. Owen spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He served as its Chief News Editor for CBC Television News. He moved to London to become its Chief of Foreign Bureaux. John left CBC to become the founding Director of the Freedom Forum’s European Centre. He then became the founding Executive Producer of the EBU-backed international broadcast conference group, NewsXchange. He has worked as a media consultant with the BBC College, the Al Jazeera English Channel, and the new Jordan Media Institute. He serves as adviser and editorial board member of the Africa media agency, www. He serves as a Trustee of the Soros-backed Open Society Foundation, the Crimes of War Project ( and the Canadian Journalism Forum. He is a founding member of the editorial board of the International News Safety Institute (INSI). He is co-author and co-editor of a new journalism education book, International News Reporting: Frontlines and Deadlines, published by Wiley & Blackwell. Owen is also the founding chairman of the Frontline Club Trust in London.

Professor Stephen J. A. Ward

Stephen Ward is the James E. Burgess Professor of Journalism Ethics in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is director of the school’s Center for Journalism Ethics and its web site, Previously, he was director of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of the award-winning The Invention of Journalism Ethics: The Path to Objectivity and Beyond and Global Journalism Ethics and co-editor of Media Ethics Beyond Borders. Ward is the associate editor of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. His articles and reviews have appeared in such journals as Journalism Studies, Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies; Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism; Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics and the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. He is the media ethics columnist for and Media magazine and he worked as a reporter, war correspondent and newsroom bureau chief for 14 years. He is a media ethics columnist and the founding chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

David Cohn

David Cohn has written for Wired, Seed and The NY Times. As a consultant he has worked with leaders in the participatory journalism space such as Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis. He sits on the board of advisors for several organizations such as,, CoPress and more. As an entpreneur, Cohn is currently working on Spot.Us a website to pioneer community-funded reporting, which won a grant from the Knight News Challenge.

Jonathan Este

Jonathan Este is the director of communications with Australia’s union for journalists, The Media Alliance. A journalist of 17 years experience, he started in the industry with The Australian where he filled a number of roles including media writer and columnist, followed by a stint in London with The Independent. Since he joined the Alliance in 2007, he has overseen the Future of Journalism project, which aims to promote awareness of the scale and pace of change in journalism. He is contributing editor of The Walkley magazine and blogs at

Mike van Niekerk

Mike van Niekerk is Editor-in-Chief of Fairfax Digital where he oversees the websites of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age in Melbourne, several sports and finance sites and two paperless newspapers in Brisbane and Perth. Overall, Fairfax Digital is the most trafficked network and has the highest engagement for news sites in Australia. Van Niekerk is an Arts graduate of the University of Cape Town. He began his career as the editor of a country newspaper in South Africa before migrating to Australia in 1985.

Associate Professor Peter van Onselen

Peter van Onselen Peter van Onselen is an Associate Professor of Politics and Government at Edith Cowan University and a Contributing Editor to The Australian newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Political Science and a Masters in Policy Studies with distinction from the University of NSW, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of WA. He writes a weekly column for The Weekend Australian, a weekly column in the Wednesday section of The Australian and a column syndicated by the Sunday News Ltd newspapers. He also hosts a weekly television program The Contrarians on Sky News each Friday, having previously presented cover stories on Australian politics for Channel Nine’s Sunday Program. He has published in a wide variety of high ranking academic journals and is the author/editor of three books, including John Winston Howard: The Biography, rated by The Wall Street Journal Asia as the best biography of 2007.

Dr Margaret Simons

Margaret Simons is an award-winning freelance journalist and the author of nine books. She is the Director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism at the University of Melbourne writes about journalism and the media for Crikey. Her most recent book is “Journalism at the Crossroads – Crisis and Opportunity in the Press’ (Scribe 2012). Her other books include The Content Makers – Understanding the Future of the Australian Media (Penguin 2007) and Faith, Money and Power – What the Religious Revival Means for Politics (Pluto 2007). Simons was a finalist in the 2007 Walkley Awards for her essay Buried in the Labyrinth. She also wrote a prize-winning examination of the Hindmarsh Island bridge affair, The Meeting of the Waters in 2003 and Latham’s World in 2004, an investigation into the then Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham. She holds a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney.

David Cook

David Cook is a lecturer in the School of Computer and Security Science at Edith Cowan University and the Coordinating Editor of the Journal of Information Warfare. He was the Foundational Manager of the SECAU Security Research Centre. His principal areas of research include information security, counter-terrorism, and radicalization. David has significant broad experience in education throughout the south-east Asian region. He was a Development Officer for the Jakarta Journalist Practicum, and specializes in cross-cultural training and education in Asia. David has a BA Hons in International Relations and Politics, as well as an MBA. David was invited to join the board of Research Journalism because of his experience as an academic journal editor.

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