Dr Emma A. Jane (previously Emma Tom) offers that rare combination of rigorous academic credentials, extensive experience as a media professional, and the ability to let loose with a cracking fart joke if that is what her audiences require.
Emma is an award-winning Sydney writer and broadcaster who worked for 25 years in the Australian print and electronic media, before obtaining a PhD in media studies and relocating into the nearest ivory tower. She currently works as a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales where she is leading a three-year, government-funded study into misogyny online. She also designed the industry transition course for the university’s final-year journalism, communications, PR, and advertising students. In addition to her scholarly research into the social impact of emerging technologies, Emma continues to appear on TV and radio, as well as contributing commentary to web sites such as Daily Life and The Guardian. She speaks regularly at high profile events such as the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (2015) and All About Women (2016) - both at the Sydney Opera House. Recently she has also begun speaking publically about her experiences as a not-particularly-brave-but-still-capable-of-making-catheter-jokes cancer survivor.
Author: Emma is the author of seven books including Deadset, a novel which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Asia and the South Pacific for Best First Novel in 1998. Her eighth and ninth books - one a cultural studies text book and the other called Ugly, fat, and slutty: a short history of misogyny online - will both be published by Sage in 2016. In April 2016, her academic work was recognised when she received the prestigious Anne Dunn Scholar Award for excellence in research about communication or journalism. Emma, who served for five years on the Advertising Standards Board, has also received multiple awards for her journalism including, in 2001, the Edna Ryan Humour Award for “using wit to promote women’s interests”. This followed her receipt of the 1997 Henry Lawson Award for Journalism which was awarded for a story on do-it-yourself funerals.
Entertainment: During her previous life as a gonzo journalist, Emma once replaced the official Moscow Circus girl in the Globe of Death on a dare from a newspaper reader. Her other assignments included competing in a women’s only demolition derby (she was knocked unconscious), attending superbike school (some actual sparks came off her motorbike’s footpegs), and becoming a cheerleader for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs (it ended up providing the inspiration for her PhD). Emma also used to sing and play very loud rock music in a number of very loud rock bands but now - thanks to the arrival of a magnificent daughter - her repertoire has become distinctly Play School-esque. In fact, if the organisers of the Big Day Out ever need a frazzled mum to sing a slightly off key rendition of The Wheels on The Bus while screaming “USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE!”, she is definitely their woman.
Emma had a tough assignment, a pretty dour group. We were not an easy group, I speak from personal experience. She did excellent research on the subject, she was affable, obliging, involved ... keep reading herself on the night... more than simply as MC. Hunter Valley Grammar School