Dr Rutherford is a specialist in media studies, with a particular focus on children, youth and families.
As joint Chief Investigator of an ARC Linkage Projects Grant, Leonie is currently evaluating the concept of emerging ‘digital literacies’ in very young children. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the study links the influence of certain types of media content and conditions of access with children’s educational and social outcomes.
Leonie is also engaged in a project to chart the development of the ABC’s new digital children’s channel, in the context of economic, technological and regulatory changes in Australia.
Leonie is the author of a number of national and international book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on Australian children’s television drama and international co-production, and the institutional and socio-legal contexts of children’s culture genres. She is the primary author of a major government report on the influences of media on children (ACMA, Media and Communications in Australian Families, 2007) and a discussion paper on Young Children and Media for the Australian Alliance of Children and Youth (ARACY 2010). She is also an Expert Reader of International Standing for the Australian Research Council.