top of page


School of Communication Studies
AUT University
New Zealand



PhD Massey University
BAHons Victoria University of Wellington


Memberships and Affiliations:

Journalism, Media & Democracy Centre, Auckland University of Technology

Pacific Media Centre, Auckland University of Technology

Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship, Tokyo Peace Foundation



Thomas joined AUT’s School of Communication Studies in February 2014.  Previously, Thomas lectured for Victoria University of Wellington’s Media Studies Programme, and Massey University’s School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing.  In these roles Thomas taught papers in journalism, news analysis, semiotics, public relations, and media political economy.  Prior to his career in academia, Thomas worked in public relations in Wellington, language education in Madrid, and for research projects with the Yukon Territorial Government in the Canadian Arctic. 


Now based full time at AUT, Thomas divides his time between teaching, researching, and filmmaking, in the areas of media theory, intercultural communication, indigenous education, and global crises.


Teaching Areas:

Thomas currently teaches on:


•   Media Communication I

•   Media Communication IIa

•   Media Communication III

•   Intercultural Communication

•   Global Crises and the Media (post graduate)


Research Areas:

Thomas’ main research interests include global crises and the media, political journalism, civil society media relations, trade agreements, patent protection, and indigenous education.  He is currently active on three research projects:

  1. International news coverage of the global dispute over HIV/AIDS medicines access and patent protection

  2. Aotearoa New Zealand news coverage of national, international, and global issues

  3. Culturally-responsive education for First Nations learners in the Canadian Yukon




  • Owen, T. (2015).  Patents, Pills, and the Press: The Rise and Fall of the Global HIV/AIDS Crisis in the News.  New York, NY: Peter Lang

  • Lewthwaite, B., Owen, T., Doiron, A. (2015). Curriculum change and self-governing agreements: A Yukon First Nation case study. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 17(3):37-55

  • Owen, T. (2014).  The ‘Access to Medicines’ campaign vs. Big Pharma: Counter-hegemonic discourse change and the political economy of HIV/AIDS medicines. Critical Discourse Studies, 11(3), 288-304

  • Lewthwaite, B., Doyle, T. & Owen, T. (2014). “Did something happen to you over the summer?”: Tensions in intentions for chemistry education. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 15, 142-155

  • Lewthwaite, B., Owen, T., Doiron, A, Renaud, R. & McMillan, B. (2014).  Culturally responsive teaching in Yukon First Nation settings: What does it look like and what is its influence? Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, 155,

  • Lewthwaite, B., Owen, T., Doiron, A., McMillan, B., & Renaud, R. (2013).  Our stories about teaching and learning: A pedagogy of consequence for Yukon First Nation settings. Interchange, 44(1-2), 105-128

  • Owen, T. (2013). From “pirates” to “heroes”: News, discourse change, and the contested legitimacy of generic HIV/AIDS medicines.  The International Journal of Press/Politics, 18(3), 259-280

  • Phelan, S. & Owen, T. (2010). The paradoxes of media globalization: On the banal world of New Zealand journalism. International Journal of Communication, 4, 27-53




Thomas is the recipient of:

  • 2015 Critic and Conscience of Society Research Award: administered by the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies, AUT University

  • 2012-2013 Loxley Award: administered by Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa/New Zealand for projects promoting peace, justice and environmental concerns

  • 2008-2010 Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowhip: Administered by the Tokyo Foundation to support three years’ PhD study into research concerning public health and progressive social causes


See more at:


bottom of page