T. J. Thomson
An award-winning visual communication scholar and educator with an international outlook and a digital media production focus.
Thomson grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains outside Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., as the youngest of four children. He describes himself as a professional nerd and enjoys exploring his surroundings. When he's not in the office, you might find him soaking up some artistic or cultural experience, visually documenting and making sense of some slice of the world, or exercising (he's a fan of swimming, walking, and yoga).
Educational BACKGROUND + ACADEMIC FOCUS
Thomson earned a Ph.D. and graduate certificate in qualitative research from the Missouri School of Journalism in 2018, an M.A. in visual journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism in 2015, and a B.A. (with honors) in communication arts with a journalism option from Chadron State College in 2013. In 2017, he accepted a faculty position at the Brisbane-based Queensland University of Technology’s School of Communication, a top-25 global program in communication and media studies, according to the 2017 QS World University Rankings. Since 2017, he has served as an associate editor of Visual Communication Quarterly.
As a visual communication scholar within the multidisciplinary institution of communication, Thomson focuses primarily on the visual aspects of mediated communication systems, such as journalism and social media, and the sense-making practices of actors within them. Relationships, such as those between imager and imaged, intrigue him as do self-representations in networked media contexts. To study these empirical questions, he draws on scholarship from social psychology, sociology, and visual studies through primarily qualitative approaches. He has been published in Journalism Studies, Journalism Practice, and Visual Communication Quarterly, among others.
In the classroom, Thomson has helped students explore and deepen their understandings of multimedia reporting, multimedia planning and design, visual editing, photography, interviewing, and the principles of journalism.
Professional BACKGROUND & EXPERIENCE
Thomson has experience with both journalistic and corporate communication. Before entering academia, he worked as a freelance visual journalist and designer for a number of news outlets and organizations, including The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and the Omaha World-Herald. Corporate clients include QuickFire Networks, which was acquired by Facebook in 2015; Colorado Academy; and HotelTonight.