More Opportunities at UC

More Opportunities at UC.

Media and Communication

Media and Communication as a subject of study examines the influence and impact of the media and new information technologies. It is designed to provide students with an understanding of how communication and media work and how they work within the broader context of society. It draws on both the arts and social sciences, and the degree develops a wide range of critical thinking, writing and research skills.

From the uprisings in Ukraine and the Middle East, to your relationship with friends on Snapchat, media are changing the world. Be a part of understanding these profound societal shifts and start your studies with the Media and Communication at the University of Canterbury.

Why Study COMS at Canterbury?

The University of Canterbury’s Media and Communication programme is the most international programme of its kind in the country.  With academic staff from North America, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions, we bring international perspectives and knowledge, which will help you succeed in the global marketplace after graduation.
As a student in the department, you will gain knowledge and skills that will last a lifetime.  Our recent graduates are employed in a variety of fields including journalism and the media, business, government and the academy. Find out more about our department and everything that our amazing students are doing by liking the COMS Facebook page.

COMS is also actively engaged in placing 2nd and 3rd year students into Arts internships where they gain practical experience in the field of media and communication. Our best students receive an integrated capstone undergraduate internship experience that brings together their academic work into a professional project, which they can draw upon to transition into the workplace.  As an example, RDU internships run in semester one and two each year. The students are now producing their radio shows from a broadcast studio on campus, established by RDU and the Media and Communication Department on the ground floor of the Locke Building. Tune in to hear more of our students’ news at RDU.

Find out more about how to build COMS into your degree.

What are the transferrable skills I will gain after obtaining a COMS undergraduate degree?

  • communication
  • collaboration
  • problem-solving
  • organisation
  • informational literacy
  • analytical thinking
  • cultural competence  
  • critical engagement
  • applying technology

News and Announcements

Recent News about UC COMS

17th July 2015

Reza Jarvandi, PhD facebookcandidate in COMS, will be presenting his research in a talk called “The Impact of Contextual Conditions on the Style of Using Facebook” on Wednesday 22 July at 12pm in Locke 611A.  Please note that COMS seminars will be held on Wednesdays in Semester 2. COMS seminars are open to absolutely everyone.

Visiting Fulbright scholar Jeff Kelly Lowenstein presented a seminar titled “Diversity, ‘race’ and public discourse: Challenges and opportunities for news media” in Karl Popper 612 on Wednesday 15 July.  Jeff Kelly Lowenstein is a journalist and Associate Professor and Lecturer in journalism at Columbia College in Chicago.  He is visiting the University of Canterbury as a Fulbright NZ Specialist Award grantee.

10th July 2015

Visiting Fulbright scholar Jeff Kelly Lowenstein will present the following seminar on Wednesday 15 July at 1pm in Karl Popper 612:
Diversity, ‘race’ and public discourse: Challenges and opportunities for news media
Visiting Fulbright scholar Jeff KellyNew Zealand society has become markedly more diverse over the past couple of decades—a situation that presents challenges and opportunities for media outlets.  A look at related issues in the United States can provide a framework for comparison.  This is a pivotal moment in American, as a combination of factors have brought issues of race, diversity and the nation’s lofty promises to its citizens to the forefront of public discourse.  Join us for a conversation about the opportunities this period presents for media to make meaningful contributions to public understanding as well as how many people directly impacted by these issues are using available technology to shape public debate.   The presentation will include a look at historical factors, demographic changes, current media landscape and future possibilities around these critical issues.  It will include plenty of time for dialogue and is open to anyone who is interested in these topics.
Jeff Kelly Lowenstein is a journalist and Associate Professor and Lecturer in journalism at Columbia College in Chicago.  He is a blogger for Huffington Post and former investigative reporter who has written for The New Yorker and authored two books.  Jeff has reported extensively on race and poverty in Chicago, Illinois and worked as a database and investigative reporter for Hoy Chicago, the Chicago Tribune company's Spanish-language newspaper, and his work has garnered national and international recognition, including awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Association of Black Journalists. Jeff Kelly Lowenstein is at the University of Canterbury as a Fulbright NZ Specialist Award grantee.


5 June 2015

The Inclusive Journalism Initiative and the Media and Communication department are hosting Prudence Walker, Consultant, on Wednesday 10 June. She will present the research seminar “Woman Overcomes Brain Damage to Address Intelligentsia: A seminar about intentional language use and marginalisation” at 4pm in Locke 611A. All welcome.

22 May 2015

Associate Professor Linda Jean Kenix had two full papers accepted to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference, which will be held in San Francisco in August. The first paper is titled 'Dirty Politics in New Zealand: How newspaper reporters and online bloggers constructed the professional values of journalism at a time of crisis.' The second, co-authored with Kristin Gustafson from the University of Washington, is titled 'Visually framing press freedom and responsibility of a massacre: Photographic and graphic images in Charlie Hedbo's newspaper front pages around the world.'

15 May 2015

Six Media and Communication PhD students presented their work at the Australia New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) Post-Graduate Symposium, organized by Associate Professor Donald Matheson (COMS) and Associate Professor Colleen Mills (Management). This was a very successful event that gave postgraduate students in both departments the chance to trial their presentations before the ANZCA conference in July. Semiu Bello presented "Dissemination of Health information by Nigerian Newspapers: A correlation Analysis on the Health Behaviours of newspaper Readers in Nigeria." Martina Wengenmeir presented "A Digital Story of the Quakes – Social Media Engagement in Post-Disaster Recovery." Reza Jarvandi presented "Does Facebook Play the Same Role in Different Societies? A Comparison Between the Most Popular Facebook Public Pages in New Zealand and Iran." Femi Abikanlu presented "Big Screens to Smart Screens: Rethinking the Future of Digital Television." Dwie Irmawaty Gultom presented "Community Radio as an Act of Participatory Disaster Communication." Meng Xu presented "A new type of Interpersonal Communication: Comparative Study on Bullet Curtain Websites in China and Japan."

1 May 2015

Description: veh33:Desktop:Screen shot 2015-04-29 at 3.47.01 PM.pngVicki Haggland, MA candidate in Media and Communication, will be delivering her talk ““How is this news? An in-depth look at the content tweeted by New Zealand journalists” in Locke 611A on Tuesday 5 May at 12pm. COMS research seminars are open to absolutely everyone.

Abstract: Social media has allowed us to connect and communicate on a whole new level, and one of its myriads of uses is that of producing and disseminating news content. However, conventions of social media have meant that there is a blurred line between what is and what is not news. One of the most prominent social media platforms is Twitter, which is slowly gaining popularity in New Zealand with over 2.4 million users. Among these users, and probably the ones who use Twitter the most, are New Zealand journalists. This heightened level of activity by New Zealand journalists emphasizes the amount of news content that gets posted and shared on Twitter. But Twitter’s autonomous nature means that there is no guarantee that the content produced by journalists is newsworthy or relevant.

In deciphering what is and what is not news, my research is primarily following New Zealand journalists in an attempt to provide an answer to a question that gets asked too often: How is this news?

27 March 2015

On Tuesday 31 March, COMS staff member Sue Tait will present her research in a talk titled “Bearing Witness to the Trauma of the Death Penalty via Television Drama” as part of the COMS Seminar Series held weekly in Locke 611A.

20 March 2015

Graduate Diploma in Journalism tutor Sean Scanlon has been awarded a Dart Centre Asia Pacific Fellowship. He will travel to Hong Kong in May for a week-long seminar series on journalists and the coverage of traumatic news events.  Scanlon, news editor of The Press, will join 15 other journalists from the region.
On Tuesday 24 March, COMS MA candidate Sophie Nussbaumer will present her research in a talk titled “How Christchurch's Rough Sleeping Youth Use Their Mobile Phones” as part of the COMS Seminar Series held weekly in Locke

13 March 2015

Linda Jean Kenix published a paper titled, "Culture as constitutive: An exploration of audience and journalist perceptions of journalism in Samoa," in Communication, Culture & Critique. (vol. 8, issue 2, pp. 37-54. doi: 10.1111/cccr.12076)

On Tuesday 10 March, COMS PhD candidate Semiu Bello presented his research in a talk titled “Newspaper coverage of health issues in Nigeria: A triangular approach” as part of the COMS Seminar Series held weekly in Locke 611A.

6 March 2015

Donald Matheson won a University Teaching Grant. The title of the funding is ‘Implementing and evaluating a community and work-integrated course on social media’. He has been given $3000 to employ an assistant to help create relationships with about 15 partner organisations and to monitor those relationships to ensure the course is sustainable.

The COMS Seminar Series is kicking off for 2015 with a research chat by PhD candidate Semiu Bello. Semiu will be discussing his research in a talk titled “Newspaper coverage of health issues in Nigeria: A triangular approach”. See you in Locke 611a at 12pm on Tuesday 10 March.


Media and Communication Research Seminars

Media and Communication Research Seminars are held on most Tuesdays in Room 611A, Locke Building from 12:00pm - 1:00pm. Absolutely everyone is welcome.  Information about recent COMS research seminars can be found here.

Recent Publications from UC COMS faculty


  • Bahador, B. (2015) The Media and Deconstruction of the Enemy Image. In V. Hawkins and J. Hoffmann (Ed.), Communication and Peace: Mapping an emerging field: 120-132. New York: Routledge. (Chapters in Books)
  • Bahador, B., Kemp, G., McMillan, K. and Rudd, C. (Ed.) (2013) Politics and the Media. Auckland: Pearson. 285.
  • Kenix, L. J. (2015). You are either with us or with us: Constructing Samoan national identity through inclusion at the Samoa Observer. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 16, 4, 553-570. doi: 10.1177/1464884914525557
  • Kenix, L. J. (2015). Culture as constitutive: An exploration of audience and journalist perceptions of journalism in Samoa. Communication, Culture & Critique, 8, 1, 37-54. doi: 10.1111/cccr.12076
  • Matheson, D. (in press) When the photojournalist returns: Exploring reflexive moments in photojournalism. Photography & Culture 8
  • Xin, J. and Matheson, D. (2015) The Chinese writer as empty signifier: A corpus-based analysis of the English-language reporting of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. Chinese Journal of Communication (early access online)
    Xin, J. and Matheson, D. (2015) Strange and Familiar: The Othering of Chinese Writer Mo Yan in US News. In Shan, B. and Christians, C. (Ed.), The Ethics of Intercultural Communication. New York: Peter Lang.


  • Kenix, L. J. (2014). Independent websites not so different from group-owned. Newspaper Research Journal, 35, 2 (Spring), 24-39.
  • Matheson, D. (2014) History of Citizen Journalism. In Moy, P. (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Communication: [web]. New York: Oxford University Press. 
  • Matheson, D. (2014) Journalism ethics. In P. Moy (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Communication: Online. New York: Oxford University Press 2014    Chapter in Book.
  • Matheson, D. (2014) Tools in their pockets: How personal media were used during the Christchurch earthquakes. In E. Thorsen and S. Allan (Ed.), Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives, Vol 2: 99-112. New York: Peter Lang.


  • Kenix, L. J. (2013). A converging image? Commercialism and the visual identity of alternative and mainstream news websites. Journalism Studies, 14, 6 (December), 835-856.
    doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2012.754239
  • Kenix, L. J. (2013). The influence of local culture on the ideology of Samoan journalism. International Journal of Social Science and Humanity, 3, 3 (May), 246-250. doi: 10.7763/IJSSH.2013.V3.2347
  • Xin, J. and Matheson, D. (2013) The emerging practices of Chinese web journalism during the Beijing Olympics: A textual comparison with Western news sites. Pacific Journalism Review 19(1): 221-243.
  • Matheson, D. (2013) The power of online politics. In C. Rudd, G. Kemp, K. McMillan and B. Bahador (Ed.), Politics and the media: 132-144. Auckland: Pearson. 
  • Allan, S. and Matheson, D. (2013) War reporting in a digital age. In K. Orton-Johnson and N. Prior (Ed.), Digital sociology: Critical perspectives: 151-168. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • Ross, T. (2013) 'Telling the brown stories': an examination of identity in the ethnic media of multi-generational immigrant communities. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies: 1-16.
  • Ross, T. (2013) Inclusive Journalism. In G. Hannis (Ed.), Intro: A beginner's guide to journalism in 21st-century Aotearoa/New Zealand: 62-74. Wellington: New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation.