School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Image of Niki Cheong

Niki Cheong

PhD in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Demystifying online political astroturfing, the Malaysian case.

Research Summary

My PhD research is an investigation of online political communication, focusing specifically on the practice of astroturfing by State and political actors, and using Malaysia as a case study.

Research Interests

Digital Culture, Political Communication, Media, Social Media, Southeast Asia

Research Supervisor/s

Dr Jennifer Birks

Dr Andrew Goffey

Primary Funding Source/s

University of Nottingham - Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship for Research Excellence (International)


Graduate School Travel Prize, University of Nottingham (2017)

School of Cultures, Languages, and Area Studies (CLAS) Postgraduate Research Fund, University of Nottingham, (2016/2017)

CLAS Student Experience Fund, University of Nottingham, (2016/17)

Association of Internet Researcher's Travel Scholarship - AoIR Conference (2016)

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Chevening Scholarship (2011/12)

Lectures, Talks and Conference Presentations

'Weeding the Grass: Social media astroturfing in Malaysia', Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication Lecture Series, University of Tampere, October 2017.

'From a 'tsunami' of hope to the inertia of hopelessness: Mapping networked affect in Malaysia's Bersih 2.0 movement', Affective Politics of Social Media Symposium, University of Turku, October 2017 (Co-presented with Amelia Johns, Alfred Deakin Institute).

'Faking It: Astroturfing, Twitter and Political Communication', Public Lives/Private Platform: The Politics of Twitter Symposium, University of Amsterdam, May 2017.

'Beware the AstroTurf: Why we can't trust social media in times of crisis', The Political Studies Association, Media and Politics Group Annual General Conference, London School of Economics, December 2016. (Honourable Mention)

'Power of Social Ties: Twitter, Trust and Troopers', Internet in Southeast Asia Symposium, Monash University Malaysia, December 2015.

Books/Chapters (Non-Research)

Cheong, N. (2017). Growing Up In KL: 10 Years of The Bangsar Boy. Petaling Jaya, Selangor: MPH Group Publishing.

Cheong, N. (2016). 'Propagate the idea of mutual respect'. In Soo, EJ. (Ed), Moderation (pp 22-27). Petaling Jaya, Selangor: Star Media Group.

Teaching Experience

Module Convenor - Politics, Culture and Media in Southeast Asia (Summer school programme), University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus (2015 to present)

Graduate Teaching Assistant - PR, Propaganda and Political Communication, University of Nottingham UK (2017)

Sessional Lecturer and Module Development - Media, Power and Reporting in Southeast Asia, Monash University Malaysia (2015)

Part-time Lecturer - Foundations in Communications, Politics and Media B, University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus (2015) Lecturer - Creative Industries (including module development), Introduction to Creative Media (including module development), Citizen Journalism and Participatory Culture, News Writing for Print Media and News Writing for Electronic Media, KDU University College Malaysia (2013-2015)

Part-time Lecturer - Marketing & Publicity for Media and Film Career Management, Sunway Universtity College (2009-2011)

Lecturer - Introduction to Marketing, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (2002)

Tutor - Media, Culture and Society, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (2002)


Digital Culture Research Network at The University of Nottingham (Co-founder)

Additional Information

I hold an MA Digital Culture and Society (pass with distinction) from King's College London, funded by the British Chevening Scholarship, and a BA (Hons) Internet Studies from Curtin University of Technology, Australia. In 2011, I was at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, as part of the Asia Journalism Fellowship programme. Previously, I was journalist who worked at several publications, including as an editor at Malaysia's largest English daily, The Star. My professional portfolio is available here.

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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