December 2022 Newsletter

Hello MDA supporters,

It’s been a huge year for MDA and we are grateful to all of you for supporting us through our growth journey. To round off the year we spotlight one of our 2022 Women of Colour mentees, Ruth Brook, who shares insights  with us about her mentorship with journalist and author, Mibenge Nsenduluka. We are so thrilled to announce the first 6 winners of our 2023 Summer Fellowship program in partnership with Google News Initiative. We recently celebrated the end of a very successful year at the beautiful Canva space with our members, partners and friends. Introducing the Community Voices Melbourne class of 2022. Get to know another one of our Women of Colour mentees Madison Howarth mentored by the brilliant Director of Indigenous Content at NITV, Tanya Denning-Orman. As the year comes to a close, walk down memory lane with us as we list the impact we’ve had this year and donate now to help us continue our work towards  diversifying the Australian media landscape. We have SO much more planned for next year so stay tuned and have yourselves a wonderful festive period!

In this issue:

  • Spotlight: MDA 2022 Women of Colour mentee, Ruth Brook, mentored by journalist & author, Mibenge Nsenduluka 
  • MDA’s 2023 Summer Fellowships: Announcing our first 6 winners
  • MDA End of Year Event: Celebrating the end of a very successful year with our members, staff, industry partners and friends
  • Community Voices Melbourne: Celebrating the class of 2022
  • Get to know our program graduate: Hear from our Women of Colour mentee, Madison Howarth, who is mentored by Director of Indigenous content (NITV), Tanya Denning-Orman 
  • Donation Campaign: Help us continue to have an impact, drive change & create a media landscape that truly looks and sounds like Australia 
  • MDA 2022 Impact: Look back at the impact we’ve had this year as 2022 comes to a close

Spotlight: MDA 2022 Women of Colour mentee, Ruth Brook, mentored by journalist & author, Mibenge Nsenduluka

Sometimes it’s as simple as greeting someone at a networking event, you never know what’s on the other side of a hello.

– MDA Women of Colour mentee, Ruth Brook

You are halfway through your year long mentorship with journalist and author, Mibenge Nsenduluka - Can you tell us a bit about your experience so far?

Being mentored by Mibenge has been a wonderful experience. From our first session, she has been sincere, kind and always willing to listen and answer my questions. She has created a safe space for me to openly express myself without judgment, and that has been invaluable. We have bonded over shared experiences and I am continuing to learn from her vast knowledge of this industry. She has been more than a mentor, she has been a sounding board, a teacher and a friend. 

What is one vital piece of information you have learned during your mentorship that you believe would be beneficial to you as your career progresses?

Through the mentorship program, I have truly learned the importance of staying true to myself and my values no matter the circumstance I am faced with. I approach opportunities from the standpoint of ‘Does this align with my values and what I would like to achieve in my career?’. Having those mental check-ins before approaching a situation has really helped me narrow my focus on the kind of work I would like to do and be a part of.

What is one piece of advice you can offer other young diverse journalists who are taking their first steps in the media industry?

The advice I would offer is to not be afraid to reach out to people in the media industry and ask for help or seek guidance. Sometimes we may think we’re inconveniencing someone or but, in my experience, when I have reached out, people have been more than happy to help and have directed me towards opportunities that have helped me further my career. Sometimes it’s as simple as greeting someone at a networking event, you never know what’s on the other side of a hello.

2023 Summer Fellowships Winners

MDA’s 2023 Summer Fellowships in partnership with Google News Initiative places 12 graduates in various mainstream media outlets nationwide. After careful deliberation and a thorough interview process carried out by our brilliant Director of Special Projects, Simone Amelia Jordan, in collaboration with the respective newsrooms, 12 journalism graduates have been matched with reputable newsrooms around Australia. 

Congratulations to the deserving and driven winners of the 2023 Summer Fellowship program. We will be announcing the winners in two parts. The first half of our fellowship winners are as follows: 

  • Abhranil Hazra (NSW) with The Guardian 
  • Luca Ittimani (ACT) with Australian Financial Review 
  • Rachel Green (WA) with 10 News First (Perth)
  • Jin Qian (NSW) with News Corp Australia
  • Manu Fabila-Hicks (QLD) with The Courier-Mail
  • Selina Zhang (VIC) with Channel 9News (Melbourne) 

We are so proud of the winners and can’t wait to see them shaping the future of journalism. 

Stay tuned for the second half of our 2023 Summer Fellowship program recipients!

MDA End of Year Event: Celebrating the end of a very successful year with our members, staff, industry partners and friends

MDA End of Year Event

On December 6th, Media Diversity Australia celebrated the end of an action-filled and successful year with our esteemed media members, brilliant advisory board, dedicated staff, state chapter representatives and industry partners at the wonderful Canva space located in the city. 

The evening commenced with a heartfelt speech from our CEO, Mariam Veiszadeh retrospectively looking back at the impact MDA has had this year. Our Director of Special Projects, Simone Amelia Jordan also known to emulate “aunty energy” in her approach of mentoring our past and current program graduates presented MDA’s 2022 impact video created by a set of talented TAFE students. 

We soon moved on to a nuanced panel discussing how far the Australian media landscape has come in matters of diversity and inclusion and the role MDA has played in it. The interactive panel was moderated by our co-founder, Antoinette Lattouf with an impressive line up of panelists representing our media members. 

Our panelists included Marc Fennell (SBS), Dave Chaou (ABC), Brooke Boney  (Nine Network), Daniel Doody (Channel 10) and Sharnelle Vella (Seven). 

We ended the event with a night of networking, sharing experiences and exchanging anecdotes. A perfect end to an exciting year! 

Stay tuned to attend our upcoming events in 2023 – Follow MDA on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram! 

Community Voices Melbourne: Celebrating the class of 2022

Community Voices 2022 Celebration

Celebrating the Community Voices class of 2022! The thirteen participants from Melbourne were acknowledged last week in a lovely gathering, surrounded by family, friends, and clued-in journalists keen to tap them for future stories.

If you want to know more or add them to your contact list, please message Andrea Ho or Jim Carroll via LinkedIn. Every one of these participants is already an achiever in their community, and they are now ready to speak in news media. We are so proud of them!

A big congratulations to:

Kimberly Mitchiko Clemencio
Emily Fioramonte
Daniel Haile-Michael
Bakr Hawari
Charmaine Hunzwi A FIN
Catherine J.
Dr Harpreet Singh Kandra
Akat Mayoum
Saarah Ozeer
Ruchika Rawat
Anaab Rooble MAICD
Sahema Saberi
Saththiyan Satchithanantham

Thanks to our co-founder Antoinette Lattouf  for making a lively and inspiring keynote speech, and Jim Carroll for summing up their big year. And a heartfelt thanks to our project partners, Judith Neilson Institute and to everyone who contributed to this project as a speaker, presenter, support worker.

Get to know our program graduates: Hear from WOC mentee Madison Howarth, who is mentored by Director of Indigenous content (NITV), Tanya Denning-Orman

With more First Nations people and people of colour within the media, at all levels, we’re a step closer to reading and watching stories that more accurately reflect the true picture of this country.

             –MDA’s 2022 Women of Colour mentee, Madison Howarth

What is your favourite part about working with your MDA Mentor?

My favourite part of working with my MDA Mentor is having someone with extensive experience to bounce ideas off and to turn to for support and encouragement. It can be daunting, in the early stages of your career, to come to a crossroads, so to have someone in your corner, offering advice, because they’ve been there, is really reassuring.

Outside of your Mentor, which First Nations or culturally and linguistically diverse women working in Australian media do you most admire, and why?

Outside of my Mentor, I really admire Brooke Boney. Brooke has had a truly impressive career so far, particularly in the last couple of years. I think she’s a stellar role model for young Blak women in media and I always love seeing her succeed.

What does Media Diversity Australia's mission mean to you?

Media Diversity Australia’s mission to advocate for the value of cultural diversity within Australian media aligns with the central reason I wanted to work in media in the first place. A lack of diversity in Australia’s media has led to the underrepresentation of diverse stories, particularly First Nations stories told genuinely and truthfully. With more First Nations people and people of colour within the media, at all levels, we’re a step closer to reading and watching stories that more accurately reflect the true picture of this country.

Donate Now: Help us continue to have an impact, drive change & create a media landscape that truly looks and sounds like Australia

2022 was an action filled year for MDA and we certainly could not have done it without our supporters! Walk down memory lane with us and reflect on the impact we’ve had this year. But we still have a long road ahead and we need your help to continue to champion diversity across the Australian media landscape in 2023 and beyond! 

Help MDA continue to have impact and diversify our media landscape. Donate now!

MDA Impact: Look back at the impact we’ve had so far as 2022 comes to a close

2022 was a huge year for Media Diversity Australia, not only for our team but for our media members, state chapters and supporters who play a vital role in helping us champion diversity across the Australian media landscape. 

As the year comes to a close, here are some highlights: 

  • We launched our membership model and currently have 10 inaugural media members including ABC, SBS, Channel 10, Channel 9, Channel 7, The Daily Aus, The Guardian, The Conversation,  AAP & a major media outlet yet to be announced! 
  • Our Disability Reporting Handbook was downloaded over 5000 times
  • We held over 15 events and panels this year with over 1000 attendees in total 
  • We released our biennial ‘Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories 2.0’ media report, which was downloaded over 950 times and counting!
  • We launched our TalentHub portal which connects diverse journalists and communications professionals with job opportunities and helps hirers find suitable candidates. Our portal currently consists of 140 talent listings and counting.
  • Launched the #ThingsIveHeard campaign which highlighted instances of casual discrimination towards minorities in media and unearthed 127 stories from diverse journalists and media professionals.
  • Delivered media training via community based programs (Community Voices & Amplifying Voices) to 26 trainees nationally. 
  • Successfully ran 6 programs including Summer Fellowships, Political Fellowships, Women of Colour Mentorships, Chinese-Australian Journalism Secondments, Amplifying Voices and Community Voices. Our program graduates had a 80% employment conversion rate.

For more information on our programs and resources, visit our website.

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

November 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA supporters,

This month’s newsletter covers the latest media findings from our recently launched flagship biennial media report, Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories 2.0. We spotlight Brisbane radio producer Dr Eduardo Jordan, who scrutinises the discrimination of journalists with accents. Eduardo also chairs our QLD Chapter, which held a lively networking event last week. We chat with a mentee from our Women of Colour Mentorship, Alicia Vrajlal, and one of the program’s mentors, Cathy Wilcox, who shares insights from her monthly sessions. Lastly, MDA welcomes Lina Ali, our new Admin and Operations Coordinator, to the national team.

In this issue:

  • Spotlight: Executive Producer at The Wire radio show and MDA QLD Chapter Chair, Dr Eduardo Jordan, discusses the discrimination of journalists with an accent
  • New Report Released: Our latest media findings – Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories? 2.0
  • Get to know our program graduates: Hear from WOC mentee Alicia Vrajlal, who is mentored by the ABC’s Talent Manager, Paula Kruger
  • A new addition to our National Team: A warm welcome to our new Admin and Operations Coordinator, Lina Ali 
  • Women Of Colour Mentorships: A heartwarming testimonial from mentor Cathy Wilcox
  • ABC & MDA QLD panel and networking event: Snaps from the event!

Spotlight: Executive Producer at The Wire and MDA QLD Chapter Chair, Dr Eduardo Jordan, discusses the discrimination of journalists with an accent

Executive Producer at The Wire and MDA QLD Chapter Chair, Dr Eduardo Jordan
We need to understand and realise that, as a multicultural country, accents are here to stay, and this needs to be reflected everywhere.
– Executive Producer, The Wire & MDA QLD Chapter Chair , Dr Eduardo Jordan

Do you think a section of the audience discriminates against journalists with an accent in this country? If so, how does it affect the trajectory of their career?

I still believe there is a section of the audience discriminating against accents in Australia, but fortunately, that sector is becoming smaller. The audience realises accents are an essential part of multiculturalism and are becoming more accepting. However, this is not the case for most news editors in commercial media across Australia, who believe journalists should only have an ‘Australian’ accent to deliver the news. Yes, we are seeing more diversity in news and current affairs just on the looks of journalists, but still, accents are considered not Australian enough. 

Having said this, I believe it’s the responsibility of editors and people in leadership positions to change this issue. It’s OK to showcase accents in a cooking reality show, but not in the news and current affairs. In theory, an accent should not affect a journalist’s career, but unfortunately, it does affect it in looking for jobs in commercial media, which is reflected in the newsrooms.

Can you share an anecdote from when you felt discriminated against due to your accent while working in the journalism industry?

At the beginning of my career, I attended a conversation with a senior editor who spoke with journalism students. He explained issues about radio journalism, and everything was well until I asked him a question. It was a simple question on tips to produce radio stories. He said, ‘I’ll give you tips, but I can tell you, you will not get very far on the radio because of your strong accent. Australian newsrooms don’t like accents.’ Interestingly, this news editor started his career in the same radio station I work for.

Accent discrimination has been described as an invisible source of social bias. What steps can audiences take to help stop/prevent linguistic discrimination?

We must accept that everyone has an accent; even Anglo-Saxon Australians have a strong accent. We need to understand and realise that, as a multicultural country, accents are here to stay, and this needs to be reflected everywhere. Editors and people in leadership positions need to realise that journalists with an accent can do the job of a journalist as well or better than an Anglo-Saxon Australian with a ‘regular’ accent.

Our readers include young journalists taking their first steps into the industry. As someone who has worked in the industry, what is one piece of advice you can offer them?

Be yourselves! Work hard, and the results will be noticed in your work. The accent will not be an issue when your work speaks for itself.

Last week we released our flagship biennial research, ‘Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories 2.0’, a ‘report card’ on Indigenous and cultural diversity in television news, with insights into what has changed, what has stayed the same, and opportunities to lead the charge toward greater diversity. 

Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories? 2.0 examines the Indigenous and cultural diversity of Australian news and current affairs television media – and asks – “Does Australian news and current affairs represent the society they serve?” given the latest Census data revealed Australia is more diverse than ever.

The findings show there is some way to go, with a serious need for media leaders to support meaningful and informed adjustments and interventions to build a more representative industry. It is also the first forensic examination of how our media treats cultural diversity at the workplace level.

The report has five studies and, through a combination of qualitative and quantitative data, details the experience and the extent of inclusion and representation of culturally diverse news and current affairs presenters and reporters.

Infographic- Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories 2.0

Get to know our program graduates: Hear from WOC mentee Alicia Vrajlal, who is mentored by the ABC’s Talent Manager, Paula Kruger

What I love most about working with my MDA Mentor is that it’s an opportunity for me to speak in a safe space with someone who understands and won’t be judgmental about any qualms, concerns or issues I face as a woman of colour in the media landscape.
– MDA Women of Colour mentee, Alicia Vrajlal

What is your favourite part about working with your MDA Mentor?

What I love most about working with my MDA Mentor is that it’s an opportunity for me to speak in a safe space with someone who understands and won’t be judgmental about any qualms, concerns or issues I face as a woman of colour in the media landscape. As well as her giving me advice about tackling the harder things, we also have a space to celebrate the wins. Hearing my mentor say she gets just as much out of spending time with me as I do with her felt special and speaks of the power of mentorship programs like this, and I love how the mentor/mentee relationship has evolved in just a few months. 

Outside of your Mentor, which First Nations or multicultural woman working in Australian media do you most admire, and why?

I have great admiration for fellow South Asian Australian journalist Sarah Malik. She has not only worked on serious investigative journalism but also shone in a space at SBS Voices that helps carve out a platform for other diverse voices to be heard. I also admire Future Women’s Jamila Rizvi, who always had time to chat with me back when I was an intern almost ten years ago (and still does). Of course, I greatly respect Antoinette Lattouf, who co-founded Media Diversity Australia. 

What does Media Diversity Australia's mission mean to you?

Media Diversity Australia’s mission means helping create an Australian media landscape that looks, feels and sounds like the diverse and multicultural Australia it is. It’s about allowing people with diverse lived experiences to be heard through quality journalism and media coverage – whether by working in the media or being included in narratives as consultants or interviewees.

Read Alicia Vrjlal’s latest article – ‘You Can’t Be What You Can’t See’: What Sarah Abo’s Today Show Role Means For Arab Women in Australia. 

A new addition to our National Team: A warm welcome to our new Admin and Operations Coordinator, Lina Ali

As the scope of our work grows, so does our team! 

We are introducing the newest addition to Media Diversity Australia’s national team, our Admin and Operations Coordinator, Lina Ali. 

Lina Ali is a Muslim Indian-Australian emerging writer from Parramatta, NSW, who loves all things written and media. Currently, she is studying for a double degree, majoring in English Literature and Politics, and completing a Bachelor of Islamic Studies part-time. In March 2022, Lina was awarded as a Highly Commended recipient of the All About Women of Colour Mentorship Program. As a part of this program, she received editorial guidance and mentorship from Randa Abdel-Fattah and Sweatshop’s Winnie Dunn. Lina’s short story ‘Shaking Hands Suffocate‘ was published on the Sydney Opera House Website.

Lina also received an internship to work as an SBS Diversity and Inclusion Research Assistant and as a Voices writer through the 2022 Createability Internship program, which is a partnership between Create NSW and Accessible Arts and a range of NSW-based arts, screen and cultural organisations, to develop strong career pathways for people with disability.

You can find Lina’s by-lines across reputable platforms such as the ABC, SBS Voices and Meanjin Quarterly. Most recently, she published ‘As a neurodiverse woman, small talk and networking are a nightmare‘ with SBS Voices.

We are thrilled to welcome you to the team, Lina! 

Women of Colour Mentorships: A heart-warming testimonial from Mentor Cathy Wilcox

Our year-long Women of Colour mentorships are well underway. As our mentees’ progress in their professional careers, their interactions with their mentors have been mutually beneficial.

Here’s a poignant testimonial from Cathy Wilcox (Cartoonist, SMH/The Age), who is mentoring Famida Rahman:

“I’m enjoying my chats with Famida. They’ve become less specifically career-directed; she’s between pursuing the professional career she’s highly qualified for and finding ways to bring creativity into her life. She seems to be finding a balance in these things, even while her career options are wide open.

What’s interesting for me (and I hope useful for her) is exploring the parallels we find between her particular cultural background and how she forms her identity, and the process of becoming an adult (in any culture), learning to define yourself on your terms and find your voice.

I’ve thought a great deal about identity in many aspects, and seeking to understand ourselves is vital for determining our life’s priorities.”

MDA & ABC QLD panel and networking event: Snaps from the event!

MDA & ABC QLD panel and networking event

Last week, Media Diversity Australia, in partnership with our media partner the ABC held a panel and networking event at ABC South Brisbane. 

The informative panel titled Newsroom Nuances – Reporting on diverse communities was moderated by Dr Eduardo Jordan with a fantastic lineup of panellists including Visual Storyteller at ABC News, Lillian Rangiah; ABC Asia-Pacific Newsroom journalist Melissa Maykin; CEO of Islamic College Brisbane and multicultural champion, Ali Kadri; author, public speaker and our QLD Chapter Disability Affairs Officer, Lisa Cox.

We thank our QLD chapter and our gracious hosts, ABC Brisbane and Griffith University for running this panel and networking event.

Since its launch in 2017, MDA has introduced state-based chapters in NSW, VIC, QLD and ACT. Stay tuned for upcoming chapter events in the coming year. We will see you there! 

abc-news-logo-01

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

October 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA readers,

Our year-long Women of Colour (WOC) mentorships have almost hit the halfway mark! This month we’re spotlighting the success of one mentee, Pranjali Sehgal, who secured a Digital Video Producer role at SBS during her mentorship with 9 News Melbourne journalist Shuba Krishnan. We also get to know another mentee, Angelique Lu, who shares insights from her sessions with her mentor, Bernadine Lim, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries (SBS). We have kicked off our third annual Summer Fellowships with Google News Initiative. Entries are open to First Nations and multicultural final-year and graduate students interested in a media career, with seasonal placements at outlets like ABC, The Guardian, AAP and Channels 7, 9 and 10. MDA is also thrilled to introduce our new industry membership model, where we invite media companies, educational institutes and industry partners to embrace the storytelling power of Australia’s diverse cultural landscape. We also call on diverse journalists and media professionals who have faced online harassment or violence to complete this short, anonymous research survey about tackling the online safety of diverse journalists. We’re sending a big congratulations to the three winners of our inaugural Chinese-Australian Journalism Secondment program, who have already started making a splash in the media. And finally, senior travel and lifestyle editor Sudeshna Ghosh explores the state of play in Australia’s travel content landscape, questioning the absence of diverse voices. 

In this issue:

  • Spotlight: Women of Colour mentee Pranjali Sehgal landed a role working as a Digital Video Producer at SBS during her mentorship with journalist Shuba Krishnan
  • Entries are open for MDA’s Summer Fellowships 2023: Calling for expressions of interest from final-year and graduate university/TAFE students interested in a media career
  • Introducing our new industry membership model: Inviting media companies, educational institutes and industry partners to embrace the storytelling power of Australia’s diverse cultural landscape 
  • Calling all diverse journalists from minority communities –  we need your help: Please fill in this anonymous research survey about tackling the online safety of diverse journalists 
  • Get to know our Women of Colour mentees: Hear from our second mentee, Angelique Lu, mentored by Bernadine Lim, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries (SBS)
  • Chinese – Australian Journalism Secondments: Congratulations to our three secondment winners! 
  • Why is Australian travel media lacking in diversity?: Senior travel and lifestyle editor, Sudeshna Ghosh explores the state of play in Australia’s travel content landscape, questioning the absence of diverse voices
  • Upcoming MDA Events: Save the date!

Spotlight: Women of Colour mentee Pranjali Sehgal landed a role working as a Digital Video Producer at SBS during her mentorship with journalist Shuba Krishnan

MDA Women of Colour mentee & Digital Video Producer at SBS, Pranjali Sehgal

I’ve always read mentorships can be transformative, but it is only when I reflect on the month leading up to the job offer do I see an undeniable change and the definite influence of my mentorship on my behaviour.

– MDA Women of Colour mentee & Digital Video Producer at SBS, Pranjali Sehgal

“Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to be mentored by incredible the Shuba Krishnan through Media Diversity Australia’s Women of Colour program, and it is safe to say the experience has been remarkable – it even helped me to land a new gig at SBS News as a Digital Video Producer last month! I’ve always read mentorships can be transformative. Still, it is only when I reflect on the month leading up to the job offer do I see an undeniable change and the definite influence of my mentorship on my behaviour. The shift is in the small things, which then ripples to create a big shift.

When I had my first conversation with Shuba, I had just come out of my gig at ABC News and was on the hunt to get back in the newsroom. I remember we spoke of the immense value of networking in media and the best ways to do it authentically. We also spoke of the power of being proactive. We dived into her experiences as a young grad determined to be a journalist who seized opportunities for everything they were worth and even created some when there weren’t any. We spoke of the skills I wanted to develop, the attributes I perceived to be my strengths and what direction I’m treading to grow in. It is rare to find a mentor who not only started their career in a similar position to yourself and achieved success but who is also genuinely willing to share their experience – the successes, the failures, the hows, and the whys – so transparently with your development as a mentee in mind. And then to have that mentor also be a woman of colour who understands the nuances of how I may perceive, engage with or navigate things and has crossed the paths I want to be walking is transformational.

In about a month following that initial conversation, I landed an interview at SBS News (proactively) and remember buzzing Shuba as I prepped for the day. As a now-former SBS journalist and an experienced woman of colour in the industry, Shuba’s insights were monumental in how I approached the interview and the opportunity. Throughout the entire process, she was always down for a chat and ready to lend a friendly hand or a piece of advice if I needed it. The mentorship has unquestionably made me more aware and confident in what I have to offer. It has helped me recognise the things I want to develop, which helped me succeed in the interview and now guides me as I build my way forward in the new role. And even though I’m only a few months into the mentorship, I am far from when I started and can’t wait for what comes ahead.”

Summer Fellowships 2023: Entries are open

Media Diversity Australia is calling for expressions of interest from students in their final year or graduates who have completed a media /communications degree OR have experience in a news-related role (e.g. a student newspaper) and are keen to get industry experience at a mainstream media outlet over the summer break.

The project aims to place 12 final-year students or recent graduates in 12 different mainstream media outlets nationwide.

Our host newsrooms include: 

  • ACT (Press Gallery) 

Fairfax Media (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald), Australian Financial Review, ABC News Politics

  • NSW

The Guardian, Newscorp 

  • VIC

AAP, Channel 9 News 

  • QLD 

The Courier-Mail, SCA Radio 

  • WA

10 News First Perth, Channel 7 News/ The West Australian

  • SA

ABC Sports

Applications close at 5 pm AEST on Friday, 11 November. Successful candidates will be announced in early December after an interview process.

Any questions regarding the Summer Fellowship can be sent to MDA’s Director Of Special Projects, Simone Jordan: simone@mediadiversityaustralia.org

For more information on our 2023 Summer Fellowships, visit our website:

Introducing our new industry membership model: Inviting media companies, educational institutes and industry partners to embrace the storytelling power of Australia’s diverse cultural landscape

MDA Membership

Not only does MDA add and change the direction of discourse in our industry for the better, but they implement systemic changes that will benefit the future of media and the future of so many young journalists.”

             –Head of Digital News & Strategy Network Ten, Rashell Habib

As the nation’s most recognised advocacy body for cultural diversity and representation in media, MDA helps drive impactful change to ensure that the Australian media landscape looks and sounds more like Australia. 

With a track record of driving systemic change and creating pathways, we are pleased to offer our diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise through our MDA Membership

MDA’s bespoke membership program is for companies working across print, broadcast, digital, and everything in between. We empower members through our strategic insights and frameworks and translate our research and advocacy into practical, actionable, and genuine steps towards greater diversity and representation.  

Member organisations benefit from MDA’s expert directory and TalentHub, strategic insights and frameworks to help enrich the mix of faces and voices Australians hear, see and read daily.

Our current members include ABC, AAP, The Guardian, The Daily Aus, SBS, Channel 9, Channel 10, and Channel 7. Welcome to our inaugural members!  

Keen to become a member today? Email us at membership@mediadiversityaustralia.org 

For more information on our membership model, visit our website:

Calling all diverse journalists from minority communities - we need your help: Please fill in this anonymous research survey about tackling the online safety of diverse journalists

Online Safety of Diverse Journalists Research Survey

Media Diversity Australia, in collaboration with Macquarie University and Griffith University, is conducting the first-ever research survey on diverse journalists’ online safety to better understand the extent of online safety and harassment issues in Australia. 

Our survey aims to address three main issues:

  • Online safety experiences of minority journalist groups online
  • The personal and professional impact of trolling and abuse, 
  • The role social media platforms and employers play and where they fall short. 

So, if you or anyone you know is a diverse journalist or media professional who has endured any form of online harassment, abuse and violence, we’d love to hear from you!

Take this anonymous five-minute survey NOW

Get to know our Women of Colour mentees: Hear from our second mentee, Angelique Lu, mentored by Bernadine Lim, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries (SBS)

One of the reasons I became a journalist was that I wanted to hear more stories about the people I grew up with. Ordinary people who had their backstories and histories who might otherwise be overlooked.

             –MDA’s 2022 Women of Colour mentee, Angelique Lu

What have you enjoyed most about being part of this 12 month mentorship program?

I’m enjoying the insights and perspectives I’m gaining from our chats to help me shape and create my career path and decision-making.

Outside of your Mentor, which First Nations or culturally and linguistically diverse women working in Australian media do you most admire, and why?

Lee Lin Chin is one of my journalism heroes. She was the first Asian woman I saw on television that wasn’t on a reality cooking show. I love her accent, the way she commanded authority when she read the news, and of course, her fierce outfits.

What does Media Diversity Australia's mission mean to you?

One of the reasons I became a journalist was that I wanted to hear more stories about the people I grew up with. Ordinary people who had their backstories and histories who might otherwise be overlooked. Media Diversity Australia gives me hope that more of these stories will be heard and covered.

Chinese - Australian Journalism Secondments: Congratulations to our three secondment winners!

Chinese - Australian Journalism Secondment winners

We are pleased to announce the three Chinese- Australian Journalism Secondment winners who have recently commenced their eight-week program at mainstream newsrooms! 

  • Minyue Ding

Placement: The Age

“Media Diversity Australia means a chance for me to be seen. It means I can have an opportunity in this industry as a foreigner. And it also means that I can be the voice for people who share the same background as me.”

  • Jenny Tang

Placement: ABC Asia Pacific

I believe Media Diversity Australia’s mission mirrors the Australian society we’re living in currently. MDA plays a unique but pivotal role in championing cultural diversity in Australian media, and this is a true reflection of society and the world in 2022.” 

  • Yimin Qiang

Placement: ABC Asia Pacific

“Media Diversity Australia’s mission means increasing diversity in the mainstream newsroom and interviewing subjects on stories relevant to the diverse Chinese-Australian communities. In the end, it’s about people, letting people from diverse backgrounds be heard and building better relations between Chinese communities, community media and mainstream media outlets.” 

A big congratulations to our secondees, we are so excited to see you pave the path of journalism, accurately represent your communities and help us create a media landscape that looks and sounds like Australia. 

Why is Australian travel media lacking in diversity?: Senior travel & lifestyle editor Sudeshna Ghosh explores the state of play in Australia’s travel content landscape, questioning the absence of diverse voices

Sudeshna Ghosh, senior travel and lifestyle editor

…the demographic of the average traveller has changed in the past century. You don’t need me to tell you that Australian society is more multicultural than ever, and consequently, so is the average Australian traveller. And yet, the voices in travel content in the Australian media landscape are still overwhelmingly lacking in cultural diversity.

             –Sudeshna Ghosh, Senior travel and lifestyle editor

It was a line in a column by a well-known travel writer in one of Australia’s leading national travel publications that brought things to a head (in my head). I can’t remember the exact story (I think it might have had something to do with hotel buffets). Still, the statement “anywhere in the civilised world” – clearly referencing the western world – rankled. 

The underlying implication is that other regions, such as Asia, which are big on tourism but are home to many developing nations, are… wait, uncivilised?  

What exactly is the definition of civilisation here? Are we ignoring the thousands of years-old civilisations of, say, Thailand or Vietnam, or is it perhaps the oldest civilisation in the world in the Indian subcontinent that we are overlooking in this sweeping statement?   

Don’t get me wrong, the actual column was well-intentioned, and the writer and publication are both ones I personally respect. It was most likely a passing statement that would have been the default language for the writer.  

And that’s where the problem lies. It is no one individual’s fault. It’s the ongoing stereotyping that, like every other media beat, travel content has also fallen victim to – largely thanks to the unilateral perspective it usually offers.  

Modern travel, for leisure, is irrefutably a pursuit of the privileged, and perhaps that is why (English language) travel writing has almost always been from the perspective of a white traveller. A phenomenon that often ends up reinforcing colonial tropes.   

But the demographic of the average traveller has changed in the past century. You don’t need me to tell you that Australian society is more multicultural than ever, and consequently, so is the average Australian traveller. And yet, the voices in travel content in the Australian media landscape are still overwhelmingly lacking in cultural diversity.  

According to TravMedia, the country’s largest travel media community, there are around 950 full-time travel writers in Australia, and upwards of 2000 who dabble in travel writing across freelance and in-house editorial positions. Nick Wayland, the founder of TravMedia, estimates that around 80 per cent of this cohort is white Anglo-Saxon. 

While it’s not easy to get hard stats for this kind of information, anecdotally, the membership at the Australian Society of Travel Writers, reflects an even higher ratio when it comes to persons of colour. Need more proof? You need only look at the bylines in most Australian travel publications.  

Our national appetite for travel is higher than the global average, and in 2022, over 70 per cent of Australians are planning to travel* – as pent-up demand explodes. According to YouGov, over a third of Australian consumers make travel decisions influenced by what they read in the media. That is a lot of people who are making decisions informed by the view through a fairly narrow lens. 

One element of travel content in Australia I am particularly concerned about is the glaring absence of indigenous voices – especially now that indigenous tourism is (finally) becoming more mainstream, and we are getting a bit more exposure to this incredibly rich culture. Wouldn’t it be nice – and truly authentic – to have someone with an innate understanding of this culture tell us the story, rather than yet another write-up on a ‘dreaming tour’ that smacks of otherness?  

I don’t believe that anyone is intentionally not being inclusive in their approach, it’s a widespread obliviousness to the issue more than anything else. 

I also want to state that most of the mainstream travel writers I have encountered throughout my career are among the most open-minded, curious and ‘woke’ people around. It would be hard to do this job without those qualities. But that still doesn’t change the fact that the lived experiences of people from diverse backgrounds would be different, which alone can bring a whole other layer to the content.  

Overseas, the change is already taking place – slowly, but surely. Australian media still seems a bit behind the eight ball, and the change needs to happen through the ranks. 

Remember that iconic 1980’s Tourism Australia ‘shrimp on the barbie’ ad? While aimed at inbound tourists, it helped define Australia and its people in the context of travel for generations. Perhaps it’s time to update it to add some ‘tandoori or satay chicken’ on the barbie?  

*Various sources including data from Newscorp, Nine and Savvy.com.au 

Upcoming MDA Events - Save the date!

  • MDA’s Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories 2.0 Research LaunchTuesday, 22nd November 2022
  • Queensland Chapter Networking event & panelWednesday, 23rd November 2022
  • End of Year event hosted at Canva (MDA members & partners) – Tuesday, 6th December 2022
  • Media Industry Roundtable hosted at SBS by Minister Michelle Rowland (MDA members) – Late Feb 2023

Save the date in your calendar and stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

September 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA supporters, 

In this month’s newsletter we put the spotlight on award-winning investigative journalist and author of ‘Desi Girl’, Sarah Malik. We are thrilled to  launch our TalentHub portal which connects diverse journalists and communications professionals with media employers. Speaking of launching, join our upcoming ACT Chapter launch hosted by the Hon Multicultural Minister Andrew Giles MP on Tuesday, 27 September at 6pm and hear from some of Canberra’s finest journalists. As the scope of MDA’s work grows, so does our team! We welcome the newest addition to our national team, Madlen Toumbourou, as she takes on the role of Growth and Development Manager. Our year long Women of Colour mentorships are well underway, get to know our first mentee, Nehal Dalgliesh as she shares insights from her mentoring sessions with broadcaster, author and co-founder of MDA, Antoinette Lattouf. We’ve partnered with RMIT to host a panel discussion chaired by ABC RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas to discuss industry challenges, diversity and the future of journalism. And finally, journalist and disability advocate Eliza Hull and best-selling children’s author Sally Rippin have released a ground-breaking picture book, Come Over to My House that celebrates the home-lives of Deaf and disabled families.

In this issue:

  • Spotlight: Award-winning Australian investigative journalist and author of ‘Desi Girl’, Sarah Malik 
  • Launching our TalentHub: A portal connecting diverse journalists and communications professionals with media employers
  • ACT Chapter Launch: We are expanding to the ACT! Our launch event is hosted by the Hon Multicultural Minister Andrew Giles MP featuring a panel discussion featuring some of Canberra’s finest journalists
  • New addition to MDA’s national team: A warm welcome to our new Growth and Development Manager, Madlen Toumbourou 
  • Get to know our Women of Colour mentees: Hear from our first mentee, Nehal Dalgliesh mentored by journalist, author and co-founder of MDA, Antoinette Lattouf 
  • MDA & RMIT Event: Journalism: So you want to be a Journalist? panel
  • Come Over to My House written by journalist & disability advocate Eliza Hull and best-selling children’s author Sally Rippin: A ground-breaking picture book that celebrates the home-lives of Deaf and disabled families 

Spotlight: Award-winning Australian investigative journalist and author of ‘Desi Girl’, Sarah Malik

Investigative journalist & author of Desi Girl, Sarah Malik

What is more important to me is representation and equality, of ensuring there are not only 10 interns of colour, but that there are also behind the scenes leaders of colour in media and arts organisations changing culture at the highest level and involved in decision making and in the highest pay brackets.

Investigative journalist & author of Desi Girl, Sarah Malik 

Your book Desi Girl explores the power of writing from the margins and outlines the complexities of living between different worlds. Can you tell us a bit about your book?

This book is a collection of memoir stories about everything from learning to ocean swim as an adult, uncovering family’s past, about my relationship with travel, reading, work, money, therapy, wellness, loving Jane Austen, buying a first home, language, moving out of home, and figuring out my identity as someone whose parent were immigrants. 

Race and feminism are the lens with which I view the world, so a lot of these everyday stories are told through the lens – what does it mean to be a particular kind of person navigating certain spaces, told with a lot of humour and love. Immigration, gender and race are all themes that have animated me in my work and journalism. To explore how they have shaped my own life and turn that gaze on myself was the next step from writing about other people.

Desi girl accurately depicts the feeling of being the only person of colour in the room and the obvious lack of diversity in the media industry. Do you think this is changing? What steps need to be taken to ensure that our media is reflective of its audience?

At a core level the book is about searching for yourself and finding yourself and I think it will resonate with any person who is trying to do that whatever background you are from. For me it was accelerated by being a young Muslim woman in a post 9/11 world, where who are you suddenly is in the media spotlight in really grotesque and caricatured ways; and that almost forced a process of inward reflection that was a gift in a way. 

I loved storytelling but often the politics of the newsroom embodied the very inequalities we were trying to highlight – from class, gender and race. 

Recently, I feel like Diversity and Inclusion have been co-opted, highly corporatized, liability-saving terms devoid of their original meaning; creating an industry where those who profit from it are sometimes white people and people of colour serve as talent or tokenistic faces. What is more important to me is representation and equality, of ensuring there are not only 10 interns of colour, but that there are also behind the scenes leaders of colour in media and arts organisations changing culture at the highest level and involved in decision making and in the highest pay brackets.Change does not happen gracefully but forcibly and it’s important that the needle keeps shifting so change is not surface level but structural.

Our readers include young diverse journalists taking their first steps into the media industry. - As someone who has worked in the industry, what is one piece of advice you can offer them?

This book is about finding yourself and knowing that the things that make you different are not liabilities, they can be strengths and the source of your greatest power. Sometimes when you are made to feel inferior or excluded because of your difference, you are forced to go through windows, explore the roof and the attic and the basements; it gives you a perspective that others don’t always have and that is valuable. I want young journalists of colour to know that if you are finding it challenging, progressing or even getting started, don’t gaslight or berate yourself. 

 I hope that my contribution opens the space for different kinds of stories to occupy the mainstream and it normalises them and makes people feel seen and it also interrogates the way in which we inhabit space is impacted by who we are and makes that more explicit. I had this huge fear that by talking about some of my negative experiences in the media would jeopardise my career opportunities, and I would be seen as a whinger? Particularly looking at my interaction with white liberal progressives/spaces where racism plays out in much more subtle ways; where you are easily replaced by a more amenable person of colour that can paper over racial dynamics in the workplace, if you complain too loudly. I think so many of us silence ourselves out of fear. But naming those experiences is so powerful because you realise there are common threads with others and you start to see a pattern emerge that is bigger than you as an individual. I think making that discrimination invisible that is exactly how the status quo continues. Change is uncomfortable but it begins by sharing our stories and by claiming space. It’s not always an equal playing field and we need to identify these things to make structural changes to ensure our work spaces are more inclusive. 

Sarah Malik is the author of the memoir Desi Girl: On feminism, race, faith and belonging (UQP)

Here is the booktopia link for Desi Girl

TalentHub

Introducing our TalentHub, a first of its kind, growing pool of diverse talent with multi-level media expertise. MDA’s TalentHub connects diverse journalists and communications professionals with job opportunities and helps hirers find suitable candidates. 

Are you interested in seeking opportunities in the Media industry? Register in our Talent Hub NOW! 

For more information on our TalentHub visit MDA’s website:

ACT Chapter Launch: The Hon Multiculturalism Minister Andrew Giles MP (representing Communications Minister Michelle Rowland) will be officially launching our latest state chapter in the ACT

ACT Chapter launch

Since Media Diversity Australia’s  launch in 2017, we have introduced state-based chapters in NSW, VIC and QLD. We are pleased to be expanding to the ACT  where our ACT Chapter will be run by local journalists, key policy makers and media and communications professionals! 

The ACT launch will be hosted by Hon Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Multiculturalism who will also deliver a keynote speech, followed by a panel discussion led by some of Canberra’s finest journalists and commentators including Nour Haydar (ABC), Julia Kanapathippillai (Canberra Star, News Corp), Dr Liz Allen (ANU & Phillip Coorey (AFR). 

This must-attend event will be held on Tuesday, 27 September at 6pm at the Australian National University in Canberra. 

Get a chance to meet our CEO, Mariam Veiszadeh and hear about MDA’s exciting new membership offering for media, educational and industry partners. 

This free event is open to current and aspiring journalists from across commercial, public broadcasting and community/ethnic media, as well as media academics, industry partners and key policy makers.

Want to attend MDA’s ACT launch? 

New addition to MDA’s national team: A warm welcome to our new Growth and Development Manager, Madlen Toumbourou

Growth and Development Manager, Madlen Toumbourou

As the scope of our work grows, so does our team! 

Introducing the newest addition to MDA’s national team our Growth and Development Manager, Madlen Toumbourou. 

Madlen is a dynamic leader, strategist, storyteller, and project manager in the not-for-profit sector.

With a background in Psychology, Business Development, and Operations Management, Madlen’s breadth of experience includes supporting individuals on their mental health recovery journey, to building thriving team culture, to management of national tenders. She’s also an award-winning chef.

She’s known for bringing diverse stakeholders together to tackle complex challenges, and using structure to help enliven solution-focussed thinking.

We are delighted to welcome you to the team Madlen!

Get to know our Women of Colour mentees: Hear from our first mentee, Nehal Dalgliesh mentored by broadcaster, author and co-founder of MDA, Antoinette Lattouf

MDA is ensuring our voices are heard and our perspectives are shared

             –MDA’s 2022 Women of Colour mentee, Nehal Dalgliesh

What have you enjoyed most about being part of this 12 month mentorship program?

My favourite part about working with Antoinette is seeing how her incredible mind works. There’s a reason she can conquer a million things at once: she’s indomitable, confident, understands that being uncomfortable is the only path to growth, has a knack for taking something that may seem insurmountable and breaking it down so it’s completely achievable… and she’s super organised!

Outside of your Mentor, which First Nations or culturally and linguistically diverse women working in Australian media do you most admire, and why?

There are so many multicultural women in the Australian media I admire, but the one who has always stood out to me is Yumi Stynes. Long before most of us were talking about diversity, Yumi was breaking barriers in the media landscape. She knows exactly who she is and what she believes in. She is always herself and doesn’t try to fit in with any expectations of who she should be. I love her fearlessness and her resilience, and having worked with her briefly, I know first hand that she has an incredibly kind spirit.

What does Media Diversity Australia's mission mean to you?

I’ve always been one of only a handful of women of colour in the room, sometimes the entire network. But MDA is changing that. They’re creating opportunities, a sense of community and support. They’re ensuring our voices are heard and our perspectives are shared. How amazing that generations of people will grow up with diversity being the norm rather than the exception?

MDA & RMIT Event: Journalism: So you want to be a Journalist? panel

RMIT & MDA Panel event

So, you want to be a journalist? Challenges, diversity, and the future — Panel event 

We’ve partnered with RMIT to host  a lively panel discussion chaired by ABC RN Breakfast host (and RMIT Journalism alumni) Patricia Karvelas to discuss industry challenges, diversity and the future of journalism. 

The panelists include award-winning journalist currently working as the social affairs and inequality editor at Guardian Australia, Luke Henriques-Gomes; co-chair of MDA’s Victoria Chapter Zena Chamas, who is also a  journalist, filmmaker and documentary producer plus Melbourne-based writer and frequent commentator on Australian politics and media, Tim Dulop.

‘Come Over to My House’ by journalist & disability advocate Eliza Hull and best-selling children’s author Sally Rippin: A ground-breaking picture book that celebrates the home-lives of Deaf and disabled families

Come Over to My House by Eliza Hull & Sally Rippin

Journalist & Disability advocate Eliza Hull and best-selling children’s author Sally Rippin have together created Come Over to My House, a joyful and inclusive story that features positive representations of families with a  variety of disabilities, and all the ways their homes have been adapted to be more accessible and fun! 

Come Over to My House features a family with dwarfism, an Autistic father and child, a mother who is blind and more, the book uses delightful rhyming text and stunning illustrations to follow each child through their  home. 

The purpose of the book is to spotlight positive and authentic representation of families that are disabled, and illustrated with joy and energy by Daniel Gray-Barnett. Both Eliza and Sally hope that  disabled young people and families see themselves represented within its pages, sending a powerful message of inclusion. 

The poignant children’s book, Come Over to My House is a must-read for families, and is available  online and in all good bookstores. 

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

August 2022 Newsletter

Hello MDA supporters, 

This month, we’re spotlighting Rachel Evans, our ABC Everyday 2021 summer intern, who’s recently started working as an editor at a youth culture magazine Complex Australia. RSVP now if you’d like to attend our upcoming panel and networking events in Melbourne on 30th August at 6pm, and in Sydney on 14th September at 6 pm, where you can meet like-minded people and talk about all things media and communications. We’re also backing a pledge by Commsgrad, an EdTech platform, to help improve diversity of voice in the communications industry by 2030. And we celebrate four young media professionals who’ve come through MDA’s various programs and are making an impact in the media landscape. Speaking of connecting, MDA has some exciting news to share so stay tuned for our announcement about MDA’s new membership model and TalentHub offering!

In this issue:

  • Spotlight on: Rachel Evans, MDA 2021 Summer intern at ABC Everyday
  • Victoria Networking Event: Tuesday, 30th August at 6pm It’s not too late to RSVP!
  • MDA & Bloomberg NSW Panel & Networking event: Wednesday, 14th September at 6pm, RSVP NOW
  • EdTech platform industry pledge backed by MDA: To help improve diversity of voice in the communications industry by 2030
  • MDA Chapter members achievements: Showcasing our own Kamin Gock  and Farid Farid
  • MDA Impact: We are very proud of two of our MDA graduates who’ve secured their first gigs in the industry
  • MDA Announcement coming soon: Stay tuned!

Spotlight on: Rachel Evans, MDA 2021 Summer intern at ABC Everyday

MDA's 2021 ABC Everyday summer intern, Rachel Evans
As young, ethnically diverse journalists – there are many, many reasons we might harbour certain doubts about ourselves and our ability to succeed in this industry. It’s okay to have and hold these doubts – but do not let them stop you.
– MDA’s 2021 summer intern at ABC Everyday, Rachel Evans

You were one of MDA's 2021 Summer Interns - Can you tell us a bit about your time at ABC Everyday? What is one piece of advice you can offer other young diverse journalists who are taking their first steps in the industry?

My time at ABC Everyday completely changed the trajectory of my career – it was an incredible experience. I had very little industry experience prior to my internship, and I grew so much in skill and confidence in my time there. 

My one piece of advice to young, diverse journalists would simply be to “be in the running”; it’s advice I took from NYTimes journalist Bella Kwai. I almost didn’t apply for the internship, because I truly didn’t think I had any chance of getting it, but in a cliché kind of way I thought of her words – “just be in the running,” even if only for practice’s sake. 

As young, ethnically diverse journalists – there are many, many reasons we might harbour certain doubts about ourselves and our ability to succeed in this industry. It’s okay to have and hold these doubts – but do not let them stop you. Cast them aside, apply anyway, and just be in the practice of being in the running – you never know who’s on the other end. This industry can feel impenetrable at times, but it only takes one co-sign to get you in the door. Don’t give up!

Following the internship, tell us a bit about your career progression.

Following the internship, I went on to work as a casual social media producer for ABC Melbourne, and later had the opportunity to re-join the wonderful team at ABC Everyday as a reporter. I also became a contributor for youth culture magazine Complex Australia, and in June was offered the role of Editor at Complex Australia – which is the role I’m currently in. It has been a whirlwind 7 months! 

Can you tell us a bit about your experience with Media Diversity Australia and what its mission means to you?

My experience with MDA has been life-changing. From the initial stages of applying for my internship, to during my internship and post-internship – the MDA team have cheered me on and supported me. The team took a chance on me when I didn’t have much experience as a journalist, and their confidence in me has meant so much, and made me feel emboldened. In terms of MDA’s mission and vision – that of creating a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels – it’s something that I strive to live out in my own career. As someone now responsible for overseeing editorial, it is of utmost importance to me that I champion and prioritise the exposure and development of diverse, young journalists. 

MDA’s vision to champion cultural diversity in Australian news and media means helping aspiring journalists get their foot in the door and provide support, so young POC can stay in the industry and wield influence. It means challenging the status quo to dramatically change Australia’s media landscape for the better. It means listening to  and actively addressing the concerns of an ever-growing demographic of Australians, and advocating for equal participation for all.

It’s not too late to RSVP – Join Media Diversity Australia and our Victorian chapter committee for a night of networking, drinks, and more! 

Get a chance to meet and mingle with our CEO, Mariam Veiszadeh and our co-founder, Antoinette Lattouf, along with MDA’s Victoria chapter members and various media representatives.

Date: Tuesday, 30th August 2022 

Time: 6pm

Location: Garden State Hotel, 101 Flinders Lane Melbourne.

Want to attend the networking event? RSVP NOW at vic@mediadiversityaustralia.org

MDA & Bloomberg NSW Panel & Networking event: Wednesday, 14th September at 6pm, RSVP NOW

Media Diversity Australia (NSW Chapter) & Bloomberg Australia would like to cordially invite you to a lively panel discussion on the evolving nature of journalism against the backdrop of the pandemic on Wednesday, 14th September at 6pm. 

The panel and networking event Journalism careers during a pandemic – has journalism changed forever? is the first activity of the year for MDA’s NSW chapter which has seen new faces join our organisation.

Panel Moderator: Ainslie Chandler, Sydney Bureau Chief Bloomberg

Panelists

  • Gavin Fang Deputy Director, Head National and International & Diversity Lead, ABC
  • Tanya Orman Denning, Director of Indigenous Content, NITV
  • Georgina McKay, Journalist, Bloomberg
  • Amber Schultz, Editor, Crikey Associate
  • Kevin Nguyen, Investigative Journalist ABC & MDA NSW Chapter

Want to attend this event? RSVP NOW!

EdTech platform industry pledge backed by MDA: To help improve diversity of voice in the communications industry by 2030

Australian EdTech platform Commsgrad that provides re-imagined communications career pathways to empower the next generation of diverse storytellers, recently announced its’ industry pledge that acknowledges the current lack of diversity of voice within the industry to work toward tangible improvements across the industry by 2030. 

MDA is proud to throw its support behind this fantastic initiative as we know that the media is a megaphone for culture – it not only reflects but has the incredible power to create and influence social and cultural norms. The faces, voices, stories and perspectives that are reflected back at audiences have broad implications.

While we are starting to witness a palpable push from many newsrooms to have their journalists and commentators reflect the broader community and by default, the wider conversation, more needs to be done to ensure that the next generation of diverse storytellers in the communications industry is keeping up pace.

You can view the full press release HERE.

MDA Chapter members achievements: Kamin Gock and Farid Farid

Kamin Gock (NSW Chapter Stakeholder Relations & Events Officer) 

Kamin Gock (NSW Chapter Stakeholder Relations & Events Officer) 

MDA’s NSW Chapter member and Sydney-based journalist, Kamin Gock was named the winner of the 2023 Andrew Olle Scholarship, alongside Brisbane-based triple j reporter, Ellie Grounds. 

The scholarship honours the life and work of the late ABC journalist Andrew Olle, who was one of Australia’s most admired broadcasters. Andrew presented some of the ABC’s flagship programs including Four Corners, The 7.30 Report and Mornings on ABC Radio Sydney (then 2BL). The scholarship is designed to create career development opportunities for young ABC journalists and to promote the values that epitomised Andrew Olle’s journalism.

Farid Farid (NSW Chapter Secretary)

Farid Farid (NSW Chapter Secretary)

MDA’s NSW Chapter member and Sydney-based news reporter at AAP, Farid Farid, has been making his mark on public discourse this month. Farid asked former Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison if possessing emergency powers in secret at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was a slippery slope towards becoming an autocrat during a live press conference at the National Press Club.

MDA Impact: We are very proud of two of our MDA graduates who’ve secured their first gigs in the industry

2022 MDA political fellow, Khaled Al Khawaldeh

MDA takes pride in watching our past graduates/alumni transform into confident media professionals. Khaled is one of them! 

Former Federal Election Political Fellow at The Guardian, Khaled Al Khawaldeh, has recently been appointed as The Guardian’s new rural reporter! 

Khaled started out by attending Media Diversity Australia’s networking event, where he met and made connections with the team. He then applied for our 2022 Political Fellowship and was one of the three fellows to make their way to Canberra. Khaled was placed with Guardian Australia. When the fellowship ended, Khaled was appointed as The Guardian’s new rural reporter, a position funded by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation in a program instigated by the Centre for Media Transition at UTS. Khaled is heading up to Ayr in Queensland to bring his unique take on Australian regional life to a national audience.

MDA networking event attendee, Roseanne Maloney

Roseanne Maloney recognised her love for radio early on in her career. She started writing radio news at the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council, during which she attended a MDA Networking event in Victoria. There,  she made connections with MDA’s team and the ABC. Her contact with the ABC led to her working a casual radio role with the newsroom. Now, she’s started a prized cadetship at the ABC! 

A huge congratulations to both Khaled and Roseanne on their  appointments and their perseverance #MDAImpact

MDA Announcement coming soon: Stay tuned!

We’ve been working tirelessly on a new membership offering for media and industry partners. It’s a game changer – stay tuned for details in the coming weeks!

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

July 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA supporters, 

In this July newsletter, our three MDA political fellows give us the lowdown on what it was like covering the recent federal election from the parliamentary press gallery during their placements with The Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald and AAP. We also spotlight our SMH political fellow, Katherine Wong to hear about her experience as a political reporting ‘newbie’ and her tips for young journos! We introduce the first four women of colour mentorship program pairs in our new  annual program cultivating the next wave of editorial leaders. We’re also calling for expressions of interest from early to mid-career Australians of Chinese heritage to undertake an eight-week Secondment program working in mainstream newsrooms. Our 2021 Summer interns reflect on their experiences during their internships.  Entries are now open for the 67th Walkley Awards!  And finally, we are so proud to announce that our CEO, Mariam Veiszadeh is one of the 12 Community ambassadors for the Racism. It Stops With Me. Campaign.

In this issue:

  • Spotlight on: MDA’s 2022 SMH political fellow, Katherine Wong
  • Political Fellowships: Our three political fellows share their insights post election
  • Women Of Colour Mentorship Program: Introducing the first 4 mentor + mentee pairings
  • Secondment program for Chinese-Australians: Calling for expressions of interest
  • Google Summer Internships:  Let’s hear from our 2021 Summer interns!
  • End of Year Walkley Awards: Entries are now open!
  • Racism. It Stops With Me. Campaign: Our CEO Mariam Veiszadeh is one of 12 Community Ambassadors 

Spotlight on: MDA’s 2022 SMH political fellow, Katherine Wong

MDA's 2022 SMH political fellow, Katherine Wong
Having the opportunity to write, publish, and learn within the press gallery has further stoked my passion for journalism. 
(MDA) They understand the difficulties of being a person of colour in journalism which means they know how to help, facilitate connections when needed, and helped validate me when I needed a boost of confidence or felt the weight of imposter syndrome.
-MDA’s 2022 SMH political fellow, Katherine Wong

You were one of MDA's 2022 Federal Election Political Fellows - Can you tell us a bit about your time at the press gallery during your fellowship?

Working in the press gallery was an amazing experience. I had a chance to talk to, and work with, some of the best journalists in the country, and have my work published in one of the biggest print newspapers in the country. To be able to publish my own stories on young people’s perspectives of the election, diverse voices in Australian literature, and even more silly stories about political memes has been a surreal experience. Having the opportunity to write, publish, and learn within the press gallery has further stoked my passion for journalism. While I expected there to be a strong sense of competition and some degree of hostility within the press gallery, I found it wasn’t like that at all. There are so many empathetic journos who understand what it’s like to be a beginner in the industry, and everyone did whatever they could to help me find my feet. It is incredibly inspiring to walk into work everyday and be surrounded by people who are so supportive, lovely, hardworking, and love their job. There are very few places where you can experience this camaraderie.

Following the fellowship, what are your career plans? What is one piece of advice you can offer other young diverse journalists like yourself who are taking their first steps in the industry?

I’m still in the process of  applying for jobs and have received an offer to work in lifestyle media, but I’m trying to get back into a major outlet as soon as I can. I’m still not 100 per cent sure what I want to specialise in or where I want to be, but I know I want to be in journalism. I think I’m leaning towards culture news but since I’m still at the beginning of my career, I want to keep my mind and options open to trying new things. Emerging journos have probably heard this a million times before, but honestly the best tip is to make friends wherever you can. Take any and every opportunity to get lunch or a coffee, don’t be afraid to chat to people while washing your hands in the bathroom, keep in contact with people you’ve met along the way (especially other young journos). These people are the ones you can ask for help, the people who will refer you to opportunities, and who will support you through the rejections we all inevitably have to face.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience with Media Diversity Australia and what its mission means to you?

Media Diversity Australia has been so supportive throughout my experience in the Fellowship. They always reached out to make sure I felt okay in the high-pressure environment of the Press Gallery, and I could always turn to them for honest help and feedback. They understand the difficulties of being a person of colour in journalism which means they know how to help, facilitate connections when needed, and helped validate me when I needed a boost of confidence or felt the weight of imposter syndrome. 

MDA’s vision to champion cultural diversity in Australian news and media means helping aspiring journalists get their foot in the door and provide support, so young POC can stay in the industry and wield influence. It means challenging the status quo to dramatically change Australia’s media landscape for the better. It means listening to  and actively addressing the concerns of an ever-growing demographic of Australians, and advocating for equal participation for all.

Q. What was your favourite part of the Fellowship?

Famida Rahman (AAP):

It was really fun finding and successfully pitching stories that initially seemed small and had little coverage before they blew up.For example, finding the story about Robbie Beaton’s false address before it became a full AFP investigation for electoral fraud. Or when I successfully pitched and published a story about territory rights, interviewed four politicians on the issue, before it became a major talking point towards the end of the campaign. These types of stories were really exciting and made me feel like what I was writing had a real impact. 

It was surreal to work in the parliament house after spending years studying its significance and working to administer the policies and laws made there. It is also such a beautiful building with lots of gardens and decent food!

I had a lot of fun connecting and making friends with the other fellows

Khaled Al Khawaldeh (The Guardian):

This is a tough one, I absolutely loved every moment of it. The parts that will stick with me forever have to be the feeling of publishing my first story. Seeing my byline up there on the Guardian felt like an accumulation of years of work coming to fruition. 

Katherine Wong (SMH):

My favourite part of the Fellowship was having the chance to work and pitch in a major newsroom. To have my stories – thought of, pitched, and written completely by myself – read by thousands of people on a national level, is exhilarating. The atmosphere of a newsroom was amazing as well. The hustle and bustle, watching these senior journalists put out 4 or 5 pieces a day and being able to help out with that – it was so cool. I also loved being in the Press Gallery. It was a surprisingly friendly and communal place. Everyone would say hi to each other and stop for chats, journalists would pop in and out of each other’s newsrooms, even the security guards were really friendly.

What are the three most important things you learned from your Fellowship?

Famida Rahman (AAP):
  • How to write in the news writing style
  • Judging newsworthiness and learning how to identify the most interesting news angles for each story
  • Building the confidence to find and pitch my own stories and not taking it personally if they were rejected
Khaled Al Khawaldeh (The Guardian):

Pick up the phone, don’t be complacent (there is no time in a newsroom), be brave and have thick skin, write concisely and cleanly, style guides are there for a reason, your network is everything.

These are just some of the valuable lessons I learned in this experience, working with some of the top journalists in the country. 

Katherine Wong (SMH): 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, or even a job. Most of the people in the newsroom want to help each other and understand how hard it is to break into this industry. 
  • Journalists and editors are people, as are the people you talk to. Be polite and professional, even if you disagree with others. It doesn’t cost anything to be polite. 
  • Journalists need to be confident and have no shame. If you don’t feel confident, just fake it to make it. Don’t be afraid to repeatedly call, email, or just generally nag people. 

Was there much diversity in the teams you worked on? How did that make you feel?

Famida Rahman (AAP):

I noticed a real lack of cultural diversity in the AAP Canberra Office, I was the only person of color in the newsroom. The lack of cultural diversity was also reflected in the press gallery more broadly. Everyone at AAP was really lovely and I never felt negatively about being from a diverse cultural background while I was part of their team. It completely felt like a non-issue. However, working in the press gallery/parliament more broadly was a bit overwhelming and I sometimes wondered if I really had a place there.

Khaled Al Khawaldeh (The Guardian):

There was an okay amount in Sydney but none at all in Canberra. It is exactly what I expected so it didn’t make me feel any type of way. However, it could feel like I didn’t belong at times but that being said – getting weird stares from people in the press gallery corridor etc. only strengthened my resolve and made me feel even prouder to be there.

Katherine Wong (SMH): 

There wasn’t very much diversity in either the Canberra or the Sydney teams. For the most part, this didn’t affect my day-to-day work too much, but I definitely noticed a difference in the way I acted when talking to POC editors and journalists, compared to non-POC members of the newsroom. When I pitched to POC editors, like Osman Faruqi, I felt much more confident and comfortable with my ideas. The process was much easier, and I was less nervous about receiving feedback. However, when I pitched to non-POC editors, I felt like I really needed to prove that my idea was worth pursuing and that people would genuinely read it. It made me feel much more anxious about the entire process.

Women of Colour Mentorships: Meet the first four mentor + mentee pairs

The Women of Colour Mentorships in partnership with Crescent Foundation, University of Melbourne, and Monash University, is designed to empower First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse women journalists and provide them with the requisite knowledge and skills to navigate climbing the ranks of editorial leadership.

Meet our first four mentor and mentee pairings…

Antoinette Lattouf (MDA/Journalist/ Author)MENTOR 

Nehal Dalgliesh – MENTEE

Mibenge Nsenduluka (Journalist/Author)MENTOR 

Ruth Brooke – MENTEE

Bernadinr Lim (Commissioning Editor, Documentaries SBS) – MENTOR

Angelique Lu MENTEE

Cathy Wilcox (Cartoonist at SMH/ The Age) – MENTOR 

Famida Rahman – MENTEE

Chinese-Australian Journalism Secondment Program, in partnership with the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR) and the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasting Council (NEMBC): Apply NOW!

Chinese-Australian Journalism Secondment Program

Media Diversity Australia is calling for expressions of interest from early to mid-career Australians of Chinese heritage with experience or an interest in working in journalism, to undertake an eight-week program working in mainstream newsrooms.

The eight week program is designed to improve journalism coverage of Chinese communities in Australia, by increasing the number of journalists with strong Chinese cultural connections. 

It will provide three Chinese-Australian professionals with the knowledge and skills to navigate the ranks of editorial leadership, and mid-career Chinese-Australians working in other professions with flexible journalism work that may lead to a potential career pivot.

Applicants will preferably have experience working in community media, new media or demonstrated strong writing and/or presentation skills

Applicants can apply by emailing MDA’s Director of Special Projects, Simone Jordan: simone@mediadiversityaustralia.org

For more information on the Chinese- Australian Media Secondment Program visit our website at https://www.mediadiversityaustralia.org/secondment/ 

Google Summer Internships: Let’s hear from our 2021 Summer interns!

Google Summer Internships

What was your favourite part of the internship?

Manan Luthra, The New York Times: “I loved the practical opportunities it provided. Not only was I given the chance to independently produce stories, but I was also given the freedom to find my own sources, conduct interviews with them, and simplify my writing skills to suit a mass audience.”

Ricky Kirby, MammaMia: “My favourite part was having the opportunity to contribute to Mamamia, having something with my name published on their website is really cool.”

Tahnee Maxwell, The Courier-Mail: “I enjoyed being around like-minded people and seeing the way they interpreted news events and then what angles they would come up with. It was also great being around people who supported my future career and encouraged me.”

What about your internship do you think could have been improved?

Angela Ho, 10 News First: “Maybe a more formal scaffold for check-ins with my newsroom manager. There weren’t clearly definable milestones in my internship and I wasn’t sure when I’d have more formal conversations with my newsroom manager about her expectations of me. I think I did well overall, but I wasn’t sure whether there were specific criteria I should have satisfied. My newsroom manager seemed to be happy to let me drive these conversations.”

Rachael Evans, ABC Everyday: “Perhaps a bit more training from the team could’ve been provided, although I never exactly asked. For example, I would’ve loved to watch one of my co-workers do an interview, shadow the subs for a day, run through the style guide, have more insight on how editors edit, etc.”

Shazma Gaffoor, Nine News: “What I least liked was probably the waiting around at the start, but I turned it around and proactively worked towards doing my own packages.”

Was there much diversity in the teams you worked on? How did that make you feel?

Zahra Al Hilaly, Seven News: “Next to none. When MDA first mentioned the idea of being paired with a ‘CaLD buddy’ in the workplace I was tempted to say it wouldn’t be necessary, but the reality of turning up on day one in the newsroom to no one else of a different background surprised me more than I thought it would. A similar makeup was observed across different outlets when I met other journalists on-location, so meeting cadets on the road was awesome.”

Morsal Haidari, ABC News Adelaide: “I noticed straight away in the newsroom there was a lack of diversity. I had a childhood friend in the newsroom who is also from the same culture as I, which was very comforting. I realised we were the only people of colour although we fit in the newsroom culture effortlessly.”

Sohani Goonetillake, CanberraFM: “There was a lack of diversity in the newsroom, however, I did feel very welcome from the beginning. Despite our differences, I was fortunate to work in a team with similar values to mine so I felt respected and seen in the workplace.”

End of Year Walkley Awards: Entries are now open!

Entries are now open for the 67th Walkley Awards!

 The Walkley Awards are open to all Australian media for work published on any platform between September 1, 2021, and August 31, 2022. Entries close at midnight on Tuesday, August 31, 2022. Apply now!

The Walkleys recognise excellence in Australian journalism across 30 categories, on all platforms including photojournalism, documentary, non-fiction books, and cartoons.  

 You can find all of the categories, terms, conditions and submit your entry here: https://www.walkleys.com/awards/walkleys

Racism. It Stops With Me. Campaign: Our CEO Mariam Veiszadeh is one of 12 Community Ambassadors

Media Diversity Australia is proud to support the Racism. It Stops With Me campaign. Racism is more than just harmful words or individual actions. It includes structural biases in our society, its laws, institutions, and ways of thinking.

We are proud to announce that our CEO, Mariam Veiszadeh was named one of the 12 Community ambassadors of the Racism. It Stops With Me. Campaign

Anti-racism means more than being ‘not racist’. It involves actively committing to taking action against racism, wherever it occurs. That might be in the form of harmful words or actions, but it may also be in the form of structural discrimination in the workplace, or in the justice and health systems, or in the lack of representation in positions of power, such as media, boardrooms or parliaments. Anti-racism means standing shoulder to shoulder with those advocating for justice.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed a range of resources, including a conversation guide and Workplace Cultural Diversity Tool, to help people and organisations strengthen their understanding, and develop ways to address racism.

MDA is committed to learning more and taking action. Racial inequality affects all of us, directly or otherwise, and there is a role for us all to play in addressing it. This year’s Racism. It Stops With Me campaign aims to encourage allies to reflect on how racial inequality affects all of us, and take a stand against it. There is a role for everyone to play in addressing racism and begins by asking yourself the hard questions.

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

June 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA readers, 

In this June newsletter, we spotlight the Ghanaian born, Mussellbrook raised journalist and author, Mawunyo Gbogbo who’s enthralling memoir, Hip Hop and Hymns, is a must-read! Calling all TV journalists, either on camera or off camera to help us out by completing a short anonymous research survey about representation in newsrooms. We bid farewell to our Amplifying Voices 2022 graduates as we celebrate their incredible transformation into confident spokespeople for their communities. We also introduce MDA’s 2022 chapter members, made up of journalists and media professionals across New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. We celebrate The Greatest Menace, an Audible podcast which this year took out the 2022 Media Diversity Australia Award at the Mid-Year Walkleys. And while you’re with us, take a look at our snaps from our ‘Without Fear and Favour’ forum on reporting on China which we held in partnership with the National Ethnic Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council. Oh! And if you like our work, please make a tax-deductible donation to Give Back Now

In this issue:

  • Spotlight on: Mawunyo Gbogbo, Journalist & Author of Hip Hop and Hymns
  • Calling all TV journalists: Whether you’re  in front of or behind the camera, we need your help: please fill in this anonymous survey about representation in your newsroom
  • 2022 Media Diversity Australia Award winner: ‘The Greatest Menace’, Award administered by the Walkley Foundation 
  • Amplifying Voices: A media training program for Muslim youth and community leaders. We congratulate our 2022 Graduates!
  • MDA Chapter Roles: Introducing the newest additions to the team of journalists joining our MDA chapter committees across Australia! 
  • Reporting on China – Without Fear or Favour: Our panel on the difficulties of reporting China and what journalists can do about it, hosted by the inimitable Stan Grant
  • GIVE BACK NOW: Support us with an end of financial year tax-free donation

Spotlight On: Mawunyo Gbogbo, Journalist & Author of Hip Hop and Hymns

Mawunyo Gbogbo
I want Australians to ask themselves the hard questions. Why do I see mostly white faces on the television when people like me exist? It’s not because we’re not talented. It’s not because we’re not interested in on air roles. It’s not because we’re not working our butts off to make it happen. It’s because of systemic and institutionalised racism and unconscious bias.
Mawunyo Gbogbo, Journalist and Author 

Congratulations on your debut book, Hip Hop & Hymns! Your memoir has been described as a page turner and has deeply resonated with many. Can you tell us a bit about your book?

Thank you so much. I’m thrilled by the number of people who’ve told me they couldn’t put it down and were swept away by it. In a nutshell, it’s a memoir about race, identity, music and love. It’s a coming-of-age story about growing up Black in a country town in Australia and it’s also about some of the challenges I’ve faced trying to build a career in the media as a woman of colour. And it’s a tragic love story. So, a lot of things all rolled into one with music as its backdrop given the vital role music has played in my upbringing and throughout my life. 

Your book discusses some powerful themes and shines a light on important discourses that are not spoken about enough. What are some much needed conversations you hope take place as readers flip through the pages of your memoir?

I want Australians to ask themselves the hard questions. Why do I see mostly white faces on the television when people like me exist? It’s not because we’re not talented. It’s not because we’re not interested in on air roles. It’s not because we’re not working our butts off to make it happen. It’s because of systemic and institutionalised racism and unconscious bias. Another question I’d like people to ask themselves is – is the criminal justice system in Australia working? If the goal is reform, the answer would be no. Jailing 10-year-olds does nothing more than traumatise children and ultimately increase the likelihood that they’ll re-offend meaning you could be a victim of crime because recidivism rates are so high. I don’t have the answers. But I think we should be listening to people with lived experience in the criminal justice system and advocating for change.

You’ve had an interesting and impressive career progression. Can you tell us a bit about your journey till now?

I’m currently a music and pop culture reporter for Double J and ABC News. In this role, I write online articles and sometimes appear on telly or the radio to talk about these stories.

I have worked as a features reporter and producer for ABC Radio Sydney, as a journalist for ABC NewsRadio, a segment producer for the Today show on the Nine Network, and an associate producer for Insight on SBS TV, where I won a United Nations Association of Australia Media Peace Award for Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Children’s Rights and Issues.

I was also part of the ABC Regional and Local team who together with ABC News won a Walkley Award in 2020 for Coverage of a Major News Event or Issue for the ABC Bushfire Coverage.

The skills I’m most proud of include my killer writing skills – my colleagues at Nine used to say constantly “No one can write an intro like Marnie,” (they called me Marnie there) and my writing abilities are also highly valued in my current role. And I’m also adept at identifying and locating unique, interesting, and difficult to find talent. 

Our readers include young diverse journalists and reporters taking their first steps into the media industry. - As someone who has worked in the industry, what is one piece of advice you can offer them?

If I had my time again, I would pick an area and specialise in it early. I didn’t do that which means while my career has been interesting, I’ve been at the same level for many years, moving sideways into very different roles but not progressing up the ladder, so to speak. My advice would be to pick an area – if you’re interested in business – do that. If it’s arts and entertainment that floats your boat – stick with that. If it’s sport… you get my drift. Also, select a medium – TV, radio, magazines, online, or newspapers. Don’t do what I did and do absolutely everything, ‘cos 20 years on, you may still be a junior reporter.

Led by experts from the University of Sydney, Deakin University, and UTS in collaboration with Media Diversity Australia, we invite you to complete the survey about representation in Australian newsrooms as a regular part of Australian media diversity practice. All information will remain anonymous and de-identified. The online survey takes no more than five minutes to complete. 

Our aim with this survey is to find out more about people working in television news and current affairs – whether on screen (presenter/reporter) or off screen (producer/ researcher/ camera operator/ editor/ graphics). 

So, if you or anyone you know works in television news and current affairs, we’d love to hear from you! Take this anonymous five minute survey NOW

Amplifying Voices: A media training program for Muslim youth and community leaders. We congratulate our 2022 Graduates!

Amplifying Voices 2022
Minority communities find themselves often thrown into the media spotlight out of the blue and often feel ill prepared and struggle to navigate the beast that is the media. The Amplifying Voices Program is designed to level that unequal playing field to ensure communities are well equipped with the skills, know-how, and connections to navigate their interactions with mainstream media and to engage proactively on their terms. Ultimately it also helps bridge the gap between community members and members of the media which is invaluable.
Mariam Veiszadeh, CEO of Media Diversity Australia 

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to our Amplifying Voices 2022 Sydney graduates on successfully completing the media training program for Muslim youth, women, and religious leaders from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The Amplifying Voices Program took place over five weeks (14th May – 11th June 2022) at the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas. The purpose of the program was to build the capacity of delegates to engage with traditional Australian media and work on their skills as media spokespeople. We also wanted to strengthen their knowledge of how social media operates to better engage their audiences.

We began Amplifying Voices in 2021 and designed and delivered a program in collaboration with the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas. This year, we ran a refreshed version of the program, with a number of presentations, panels, and workshops. 

The sessions focused on promoting accurate information and better representation of the Muslim faith and community in Australia, including correcting misrepresentations. We want to to help improve the relationship between Muslim communities and media professionals. The participants spoke up about several significant challenges facing Australian Muslims. And pleasingly, their feedback about the program was overwhelmingly positive.

MDA Chapter Roles: Introducing the newest additions to the team of journalists joining our MDA committees across Australia!

A warm welcome to our 2022 MDA state chapter members across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria – some old and some new! Our members consist of  journalists and/or media professionals who mirror MDA’s vision and are passionate about creating long lasting impact when it comes to diversifying the media landscape.  

NSW Chapter members
New South Wales Chapter
Chair: Wenlei Ma 
Secretary: Farid Farid
Professional Development Officer: Kevin Nguyen
Professional Development Officer: Miguel D’souza             
Professional Development Officer: Mahnaz Angury
Professional Development Officer: Flip Prior
Stakeholder Relations & Events Officer: Kamin Gock
Stakeholder Relations & Events Officer: Kishor Napier-Raman
Indigenous Affairs Officer: Mikele Syron
Disability Affairs Officer: Briana Blackett
QLD Chapter members
Queensland Chapter
Chair: Dr Eduordo Jordan 
Secretary: Tricia Rivera
Disability Affairs Officer: Lisa Cox
Professional Development Officer : Faith Valencia-Forrester
Professional Development Officer : Audrey Courty 
Stakeholder Relations & Events Officer: Akashika Mohla
Indigenous Affairs Officer: VACANT seeking applicants 
VIC Chapter members
Victoria Chapter 
Co Chair: Nassim Khadem
Co Chair: Zena Chamas
Co Secretary: Jessica Swann
Co Secretary: Achol Arok 
Professional Development Officer: Usha Rodrigues
Professional Development Officer: Tito Ambyo
Stakeholder Relations & Events Officer: K.C.Boey 
Indigenous Affairs Officer: Madeline Hayman-Reber
Disability Affairs Officer: Alana Schetzer

‘The Greatest Menace’ wins 2022 Media Diversity Australia Award administered by the Walkley Foundation

2022 Media Diversity Award Australia winner

A huge congratulations to Patrick Abboud and Simon Cunich, who produced  “The Greatest Menance: Inside the Gay Prison Experiement, for ”Lockdown Productions and Audible. They won the 2022 Media Diversity Australia Award at the Mid-Year Walkleys on June 15th!

The judging panel – Rhanna Collins (NITV), Jeremey Fernadez, (presenter, ABC TV News) and  Zena Chamas (freelance journalist) said: “The Greatest Menace revisits rumours of a long-forgotten gay prison on the edges of an isolated town in alpine New South Wales. Patrick Abboud and Simon Cunich investigate what happens when prejudice, police cover-ups, and government-sponsored human experimentation collide with notions of sexuality, gender identity, cultural heritage, and faith. An exceptional piece of work.

Media Diversity Australia CEO Mariam Veiszadeh, who presented the award, said, “Whose stories are told or not told, and how they are framed within the media landscape plays a significant role in how historically underrepresented groups are perceived in the broader community. This year’s winner  of the 2022 Media Diversity Australia Award administered by the Walkley Foundation, is an incredible example of a piece of work that does precisely that, as it holds a microscope to hidden prejudice and the dark and buried history of a long forgotten gay prison.”

Reporting on China - Without Fear or Favour: Our panel on the difficulties of reporting China and what journalists can do about it, hosted by the inimitable Stan Grant

China panel

Media Diversity Australia in partnership with the National Ethnic Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council held the Without Fear or Favour: Reporting on China forum at the Judith Neilson Institute on Monday, May 30. 

The panel discussed challenges faced by Chinese Australian journalists when reporting on China and deliberated on what media organisations do to ensure they can report without fear or favour. It was well received on social media too. Take a look at #reportingonchina 

The event was brilliantly moderated by Stan Grant with our fantastic line of panellists consisting of Mandi Wicks, News Director (SBS); Jennifer Hsu, Research Fellow (Lowy Institute); Songfa Lui, President (ICMS radio); and Echo Hui, Investigative journalist (ABC).

A big thank you to the MDA team for their hard work in bringing MDA founder, Isabel Lo’s vision to life! We look forward to having many more topical conversations like this in the future. 

Want to be notified next time MDA hosts an event? Email us your name, position, email and number at comms@mediadiversityaustralia.org and we will be sure to keep you updated on our upcoming events.

GIVE BACK NOW: Support us with an end of financial year tax-free donation

China panel

It’s time to GIVE BACK NOW  and become an active part of the change we want to see. MDA’s mission is to create a media landscape that looks and sounds like Australia. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

MDA is a not-for-profit organisation run predominantly by journalists and media commentators. With your support, we can continue to run programs to support CALD journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more.

We need your support to continue fighting for equal representation and make a real impact in the media landscape. 

Our mission is simple:
  • Setting the agenda: We advocate for the value of cultural diversity and the opportunity for change, so that diversity is recognised as essential to the media’s role and success.
  • Creating pathways: We deliver relevant, quality programs for media professionals to support their full and equal participation in the industry. Your donation will help us fund essential projects such as internships, fellowships, mentorships and secondments which will help educate and diversify Australia’s media landscape. 
  • Partnering for change: We are an honest partner for media organisations seeking to drive change, to support them to deliver on their commitments.

The choice is yours! Give Once or Give Regularly with a monthly, quarterly or yearly donation to ensure a longer term allyship with Media Diversity Australia. A regular monthly donation will support our work and our projects structurally!

Please make a tax-deductible donation today!

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

May 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA readers, 

In our May newsletter, we put a timely spotlight on the CEO of the Centre of Multicultural Political Engagement, Literacy, and Leadership (COMPELL), Tharini Rowette, and unpack how media and political diversity is inter-related. Prominent lawyer, Maker Mayek joins the MDA Advisory Board. Register NOW for the upcoming Reporting on China panel event moderated by Stan Grant. Our Amplifying Voices 2022 media training program commenced last Saturday, May 14. You can view sessions 1 and 2 updates and you can also hear from our Political fellows at the Canberra press gallery. And finally, book now to attend our co-founder Antoinette Lattouf’s ‘How To Lose Friends and Influence White People’ book events in Melbourne and Brisbane.

In this issue:

  • Spotlight on: Tharini Rouwette, CEO of Centre of Multicultural Political Engagement, Literacy, and Leadership – media and political diversity
  • Board Update: Maker Mayek joins MDA Advisory board
  • Reporting on China Panel: RSVP Now!
  • Amplifying Voices 2022 Media training: Snaps from our workshops
  • Federal Election Political Fellowship: Update on our Fellows
  • “How To Lose Friends and Influence White People” by Antoinette Lattouf: Brisbane & Melbourne book events 

Spotlight On: Tharini Rouwette, CEO of Centre Of Multicultural Political Engagement, Literacy, and Leadership COMPELL

Tharini Rouwette
Our parliament is not representative of multicultural Australia, hence why we need diversity in parliament and also to normalise people of colour in leadership role
-Tharini Rouwette, CEO of COMPELL

We’ve seen an extraordinary influx of First Nations and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) first time federal candidates elected in this year’s federal election. These candidates have secured victories not only for their electorates and states but for their broader communities who will now see themselves reflected in Australian politics like never before. We know that diversity within the political sphere is a positive step in the right direction to encourage similar diversity within our media ranks.We put a timely spotlight on Tharini Rouwette who is seeking to diversify Australian politics.  

You are the CEO and founder of COMPELL’s (Colour and Centre Of Multicultural Political Engagement, Literacy, and Leadership) parent company, ‘Allies in Colour’, an organisation dedicated to advancing multicultural Australia in jobs, business, and politics. Why did you form Allies in Colour and COMPELL?

Over the last decade, prior to forming my organisation, I volunteered my time and energy campaigning on various issues impacting marginalised communities. Impacting a small group of people was no longer satisfactory for me and I wanted to do something big that would positively impact the lives of bigger groups of marginalised communities in Australia. This is why I formed Allies in Colour and COMPELL.

At a professional level, I hail from a strong media and tech background having worked in a digital media capacity with companies such as Amazon, Adobe, Singtel/Optus and Google. At a personal level, I used my skills to campaign for political parties and grassroot organisations across Singapore, US and Australia. As an experienced political campaigner, I have worked on campaigns the likes of Bernie Sanders’ in America where I managed a 500-strong volunteer team to campaign for the 2020 presidential candidate all the way from Australia.

You have collated data about the cultural diversity of Australia’s Parliamentarians. Why is it imperative that we see more diversity in the Australian parliament?

Our parliament is not representative of multicultural Australia, hence why we need diversity in parliament and also to normalise people of colour in leadership roles. There’s about 4% of people of colour in parliament today (prior to the recent Federal election) which is hardly reflective of the Australian population that is increasingly becoming multicultural. The information collected, together with my follow-up surveys/interviews will hopefully be the beginning of a long journey towards collecting information that will inform us as to what we need to do to get more people of colour elected in government. 

As a daughter of migrants and coming from a multicultural background, I’m always identifying ways to improve outcomes for multicultural Australia through brave and innovative ideas.

Do you think that media diversity impacts political diversity?

I’ve got no doubt that there’s a significant relationship between lack of media diversity and lack of representation in politics. For instance,  the lack of Australian Chinese candidates running in this federal election could potentially be directly related to the anti- Chinese sentiment perpetuated by influential, non-diverse journalists/political commentators, towards the Australian Chinese community. 

New Advisory Board Member, Maker Mayek

A big congratulations to prominent lawyer, Maker Mayek on joining MDA’s Advisory Board alongside Stan GrantWaleed Aly, Director of Indigenous Content at SBS Tanya Denning Orman, former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim SoutphommasaneHugh Riminton, academic Monica Attard, distinguished lawyer Katrina Rathie, CEO of MultiConnexions Sheba Nandkeolyar and philanthropist Talal Yassine.

Maker is a practicing lawyer, enrolled in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory and High Court of Australia, and a passionate community advocate.  Currently, he is the Principal Solicitor and Director of Mayek Legal, Barristers & Solicitors and a board member of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils’ of Australia, and the Chair of its New and Emerging Communities committee. 

He was a former board member of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria; and a former editor and board member of the Journal of Politics and Law, an international journal dedicated to promoting academic exchange in the field of politics and law. Mayek was also a recipient of the 2020 Victorian Government’s African Board and Governance Scholarship. 

For more information on our Advisory Board visit MDA’s website- https://www.mediadiversityaustralia.org/about/advisory-board/

Reporting on China Panel: RSVP Now!

Reporting On China Panel Event

Without Fear or Favour: how Chinese Australian journalists can cover China safely and fairly – Panel event hosted by Stan Grant. 

China’s geopolitics, human rights record, COVID-19 handling and perceived influence on Australia are dominant news topics. Journalists and media commentators, particularly those of Chinese heritage, often fear repercussions from Chinese authorities or their supporters. Newsrooms also often struggle with balance and nuance, such as the very different opinions and culture of their Chinese audiences – at least those that are engaged with mainstream news. 

The resulting self-censorship, limited contacts and cultural understanding affects reporting quality. This then shapes the engagement by the Chinese community with Australian media – and Australia as a whole. 

Media Diversity Australia in partnership with the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council, NEMBC are excited to present Without fear or favour: Challenges of reporting on China. This is a must-attend event for any watcher of China, its relationship with Australia,  balance, and multiculturalism. 

The panelists include Mandi Wicks (News Director, SBS), Jennifer Hsu (Research Fellow, Lowy Institute), Echo Hui (Investigative Journalist, ABC), and Songfa Liu (NEMBC member & President ICMS). 

Want to attend this event on Monday, 30th May 2022?

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/without-fear-or-favour-challenges-of-reporting-on-china-registration-331576192317 

Amplifying Voices 2022 Media training: Snaps from our workshops

Amplifying Voices Session 1
The Amplifying Voices media training provides participants with direct access to invaluable and unique insights from industry insiders that have decades of experience. Most critically, the facilitators understand the unique issues that come with media reporting and representation of people from culturally and religiously diverse backgrounds.” 
– Ahmed Kilani, Muslim Chaplain
Department of Justice NSW

Established in 2021, Amplifying Voices is a media training program designed for diverse leaders in Australian communities; young people, women, and people from diverse and ethnic backgrounds. This year’s program is focused on building the capacity of delegates from the Australian Muslim community to engage with traditional Australian media, and enhance their skills as media spokespeople. 

The program includes a series of workshops which empower delegates with the knowledge and practical skills they need to be impactful representatives in, and for, their community.

Project Manager, Dania Roumieh says that “Amplifying Voices has provided an enriching opportunity to individuals of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities who have a strong interest in diversifying our Australian media. After our first session, our selected participants had really positive feedback about the sessions and loved being able to meet and engage with  an elite group of industry insiders. “

The first session of Amplifying Voices 2022 was held on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at the Judith Neilson Institute with 20 participants present. 

Amplifying Voices 2022, Session 1: The News Process

Walking the tightrope: Being a Muslim media commentator, presented by MDA CEO, Mariam Veiszadeh 

Legal Training presented by professional media lawyer, Lesley Power, offering tips and informative pointers on topics surrounding defamation and libel.

A Day In the Life of a Reporter panel moderated by MDA’s Director of Special Projects, Simone Amelia Jordan. The panellists included Rayane Tamer, SBS News Digital Journalist; Emily Feszcuk, Journalist at The Western Weekender and Daniel Sutton, Senior Journalist with Network 10. 

Amplifying Voices Session 2

Amplifying Voices 2022, Session 2: Islam and The Media

The second session of Amplifying Voices 2022 was held on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at the Judith Neilson Institute with 20 participants present. 

What The Data Tells Us presented by Stijn Denayer, CEO of All Together Now

Is Islam Misrepresented, Or Does Islam Misrepresent Itself? Presented by Mariam Veiszadeh, CEO of MDA 

How Religious Leaders Respond panel moderated by MDA’s CEO and community leader, Mariam Veiszadeh. The panellists included Maha Abdo, CEO of Muslims Womens Association; Ahmed Kilani, Muslim Chaplain and Sheikh Wesam Charkawi, Abu Hanifa Institute. 

Follow Media Diversity Australia on Twitter and Instagram for live updates on the upcoming Amplifying Voices 2022 sessions.

Federal Election Political Fellowship: Update on our Fellows

Federal Election Political Fellowships

Huge congratulations to all first time federal candidates from First Nations and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds who have secured victories this election👏🏽

Follow MDA as we seek to do the same for Australian media!

Our Federal Election Political 2022 Fellows have successfully completed their fellowships! We are so proud of them. We hope the MDA political fellowship program becomes a regular fixture and helps pave a way for political reporting to become as diverse as the people who consume it.

Let’s hear from our political fellows, Katherine Wong (Sydney Morning Herald), Khaled Al Khawaldeh (The Guardian) and Famida Rahman (AAP). 

 
Why is it important to diversify the Press Gallery?

Katherine Wong- The Canberra Press Gallery is the main stage for journalists to question politicians on issues that matter to their constituents. As electorates across Australia become more culturally and linguistically diverse, we need diverse journalists in the Press Gallery to platform the concerns of diverse Australians. 

Khaled Al Khawaldeh- Like everything in life, politics is observed and relayed to audiences through the lens of the observer. The observer in this case is the press gallery journo and the lens is their world view as dictated by their upbringing, surroundings and experiences. By only having people with very similar lenses in the press gallery we risk the chance of missing vital angles and stories and we reduce the nuance of our national dialogue.

Famida Rahman- It is important to diversify the Canberra Press Gallery to capture broader perspectives in the coverage of Australian Federal politics. As diversity and multiculturalism continues to grow in Australia, it is important for it to be reflected and represented in an institution that plays an essential role in Australian democracy. 

 
Which Australian political journalist do you admire?

Katherine Wong- I admire Amy Remeikis for her passion and tenacity. Her coverage of women’s issues was groundbreaking, thorough, and has had an immense impact on Australian politics. 

Khaled Al Khawaldeh- Katherine Murphy, I admire her writing style greatly, the ability to be scathing and charming at the same time. I also think she has a real grip on the issues and is fearless in talking about them.

Famida Rahman- I really admire the accuracy and objectivity with which Katharine Murphy from the Guardian.As a journalist with over 2 decades of experience in the Canberra Press Gallery, and a background in the Australian Public Service, I have a great deal of respect for her work. 

 
What does Media Diversity Australia’s mission mean to you?

Katherine Wong- Media Diversity Australia’s mission means improving representation in news media so all Australians feel seen and heard. It allows diverse journalists to air their communities’ concerns, highlight their wins, and show off their cultures. It means pulling the Australian media space into the modern day, and forcing it to acknowledge the people it once ignored and undermined.

Khaled Al Khawaldeh- It means a chance to change Australia for the better. To move the country beyond its entrenched colonial mindset by facilitating a new national

 image of what it means to be Australian.

Famida Rahman- Navigating the academic and professional world as a young person from a culturally diverse background can be challenging. Media Diversity Australia and its mission has given me the opportunity to continue exploring who I am and where I fit professionally, in a way that embraces and celebrates my background.

For more information on our political fellows and regular updates on the Federal Election Political Fellowship follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin

“How To Lose Friends and Influence White People” by Antoinette Lattouf: Brisbane & Melbourne book launch events

“How To Lose Friends and Influence White People” Book launch events

Award-winning journalist and MDA Co-founder Antoinette Lattouf’s debut book ‘How to Lose Friends and Influence White People’ puts a microscope to the actions of those in a position of influence and holds them accountable while examining what happens to those that dare to challenge white institutions of power. 

Lattouf cares deeply about being part of the solution to this problem, and uses warmth, humour, and research to provide evidence-based and practical solutions that can be put into practice by anyone – from a seasoned academic who is a person of colour, through to a suburban white teenage girl.

Attend Antoinette Lattouf’s upcoming book events: 
  • Antoinette Lattouf in conversation with Indigenous media personality Shelley Ware and comedian Nazeem Hussain in Melbourne on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 6:30pm. Location: Readings, Hawthorn (Melbourne).

Book here: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=889479& 

  • Antoinette Lattouf in conversation Indigenous lawyer Eddie Synot and Seven news presenter Katrina Blowers in Brisbane on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at 6:30pm. Location: Avid Reader, West End (Brisbane).

Book here: https://avidreader.com.au/events/antoinette-lattouf-how-to-lose-friends-and-influence-white-people 

Purchase the book here:

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

April 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA supporters, 

In this month’s newsletter, in celebration of the first Asian-Australian woman being appointed to the board of an Australian media organisation we put the spotlight on Katrina Rathie, non-executive Director to Special Broadcasting Service. Find launch details and link to purchase MDA Co-founder Antoinette Lattouf’s book How to Lose Friends and Influence White People. We also introduce our upcoming event ‘Without Fear or Favour: How Chinese Australian journalists can cover China safely and fairly’ hosted by Stan Grant. Apply now for MDA’s voluntary Chapter Roles in NSW, VIC and QLD. And finally, meet the mentors for our Women of Colour Mentorship Program.  

In this issue:

  • Spotlight On: Katrina Rathie, the first Asian Australian woman appointed to the Board of an Australian media organisation (SBS)
  • How to Lose Friends and Influence White People: Antoinette Lattouf’s book launch 
  • Without Fear or Favour: How Chinese Australian journalists can cover China safely and fairly
  • MDA Chapter Roles: Job opportunities
  • Women Of Colour Mentorship: Meet the Mentors!

Spotlight On: Katrina Rathie, the first Asian Australian woman appointed to the Board of an Australian media organisation (SBS)

Katrina Rathie, non-executive Director to Special Broadcasting Service

I am still the only Asian-Australian to have the privilege of leading a top-tier legal firm in Australia.

What does your new role as a non-executive Director to the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) Board involve?

I am very excited about my new role as a Non-Executive Director of SBS.  The appointment was made on 31 March 2022 by the Governor-General on the recommendation of The Hon Paul Fletcher, the Minister of Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities & the Arts, and the Morrison Government.

 The role of the Board is to decide the objectives, strategies, and policies to be followed by SBS and to ensure that SBS performs its functions in a proper, efficient, and economical manner and with the maximum benefit to the people of Australia.

As the first Asian Australian woman appointed to the Board of an Australian media organisation (SBS), what are some diversity related issues you hope to address?

SBS is usually considered the gold standard when it comes to diversity in the media, but like everything, there’s always room for improvement. I come as a new independent director with fresh eyes and an open mindset.  My 5 years on the Advisory Board of MDA have helped me think deeply about diversity issues in the media.  As the Australian-born daughter of immigrants, I have lived and learned experiences that I hope to bring to the Board table.  I do think that we need to tackle the issue of cultural diversity and racism gently but effectively.

I’d like to see more local stories told about our Indigenous community explaining our history in their words, the importance of the Uluru Statement of the Heart and voice, stories showing diverse women succeeding in sport, stories about migrants who are innovating and running successful businesses, more profiles on our most successful multi-cultural role models and business leaders.

From lawyer at international law firm King & Wood Mallesons to the first Asian Australian woman appointed to the Board of an Australian media organisation, can you tell us a bit about your journey till now?

My parents lived in a house next door to the late Kerry Packer – he used to fly the Channel 9 helicopter from Park Street or Palm Beach and land in the backyard next door while I was studying.  There were always journalists, television presenters, cricketers, celebrities, and politicians around.  The world of television, newspapers, and magazines seemed so incredibly glamorous to me.  I dreamed of being a journalist, but Kerry Packer and my Chinese-born father encouraged me to study law.  You know the old story of Asian immigrant parents wanting their children to be doctors, lawyers, and professionals.  That was me.  

I enrolled in Commerce/Law at UNSW Sydney.I won the UNSW Media Law Prize for best student in media law.  From there, I went on to work at Stephen Jaques, which became Mallesons Stephen Jaques then King & Wood Mallesons.  At the time, I was the first female Asian-Australian to work at an establishment law firm.  

In the late 80s, I did the New York Bar and worked for an advertising and media law firm, representing ABC, HBO, and many fabulously creative agencies in a world like Mad Men.  After meeting my Australian husband at a New York Met’s game, we returned to Australia and I became the legal columnist for B&T Magazine and started the climb to law firm partnership.

I became a partner at the firm, a position that I held for 25 years, including the last 7 as Partner in Charge of Sydney.  I am still the only Asian-Australian to have the privilege of leading a top-tier legal firm in Australia. 

 Throughout my career, I have been a strong advocate and role model for gender and cultural diversity including serving on  the Advisory Board of Media Diversity Australia and NSW Law Society Diversity & Inclusion Committee.  I am the NSW Patron of the NSW Asian Australian Lawyers Association, a Judge of the 40 under 40 Asian-Australian Awards, and I sit on the Culture Strategy Committee of Sydney University and the Law Advisory Committee at UNSW Law & Justice.

Our readers include young diverse journalists and lawyers - can you offer them some advice as they take their first steps into the industry?

If you follow and be guided by your passion and purpose, you will be happy.  I have ended up being selected for the SBS board because it combines my passion for multiculturalism, media, broadcasting, and digital communications with my skills in law, business, leadership, and governance.  It’s a beautiful fit.

 To the lawyers, whenever you write something be it an email to a client, a formal cease and desist letter to the other side, an affidavit, or a submission for Court, my litmus test has always been “Would I be proud of what I have written if it ends up on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald tomorrow morning?”  This test has rarely failed me.  If you doubt it, keep it in your drafts box and look at it again in the morning.

To the journalists, storytelling is an amazing super-power. Journalism is a courageous and important profession, tell those great stories well and call things out.  In investigative journalism, facts, truth, authenticity, and compassion really matter.  But always have fun with it – journalism should both educate and entertain.  

How to Lose Friends and Influence White People by Antoinette Lattouf
This is arms in the air, squeal in delight reading! Anyone who’s felt the scourge of discrimination is vindicated by the home truths delivered page after page. Antoinette fearlessly uses lived experience, real time Australian examples, expert opinion & irrefutable research to  deliver tools for change.
– Narelda Jacobs 

A guide through the balancing act of activist, advocate, and ally, remembering that just because others are learning you don’t need to be the teacher, from our very own -the dynamic and sharp co-founder of Media Diversity Australia, Antoinette Lattouf.

For those of you who are not familiar with the journey of how MDA was founded, parts of the book are dedicated to telling the story! It is a ground-breaking and honest exploration of the modern manifestations of systemic racism in Australia today, and how we, as a collective, can take steps to make change. 

Antoinette Lattouf puts a microscope to the actions of those in a position of influence and holds them accountable while examining what happens to those that dare to challenge white institutions of power. 

Antoinette’s protein shake  for advocacy: 

  • 1 generous scoop of measured  optimism 
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of evidence-based advocacy methods  
  • 2 cups of community support, ½ a cup of self-reflection and growth,  100g of self-care 
  • A pinch of humour 
Link to purchase: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/how-to-lose-friends-and-influence-white-people-9781761044007#:~:text=Poignant%2C%20inspiring%2C%20funny%20and%20most,you’re%20trying%20to%20influence.

Without fear or favour: how Chinese Australian journalists can cover China safely and fairly

Without Fear or Favour: How Chinese Australian journalists can cover China safely and fairly

Without Fear or Favour: how Chinese Australian journalists can cover China safely and fairly. Hosted by Stan Grant, the live event will examine two challenging issues: (1) How Chinese background journalists can cover China-Australia relations given the perceived and real threats of reprisals or attacks on their China-based family or themselves, and (2) How newsrooms can cover China in a way that engages a Chinese diaspora that often have very different opinions on their country of heritage.

The panel on Australian media coverage of China will be held on Tuesday, 31st May 2022 at the Judith Nielsen Institute.

The panelists include Mandi Wicks (News Director, SBS), Jennifer Hsu (Research Fellow, Lowy Institute), Echo Hui (Investigative Journalist, ABC), and Songfa Liu (NEMBC member & President ICMS). 

Want to attend the event, Without fear or favour: how Chinese Australian journalists can cover China safely and fairly on 31st May 2022?

Email us at comms@mediadiversityaustralia.org to be added to the invitee list. Please include your preferred name, number, email address and occupation in the body of the email.

Job Opportunities: MDA Chapter Roles

MDA Chapter Job Ad
MDA Chapter Job Vacancy
Media Diversity Australia is a nationwide not-for-profit organisation run by journalists and communication professionals. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media.

QUEENSLAND

Indigenous Affairs Officer to join our Queensland Chapter.

In this voluntary role, you will attend a one-hour meeting each quarter, be available for MDA mentoring when called upon, have the willingness and availability to engage in ad hoc, paid consultancy work (e.g. sharing insight with organisations about matters relating to First Nations issues) and participate in one state-driven initiative per year.

This position will suit an active and experienced reporter or communications professional with a demonstrated understanding of the issues and events that affect First Nations people, a strong network of contacts within First Nations communities across Australia, and an understanding of cultural protocols.

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VICTORIA

Disability Affairs Officer to join our Victoria Chapter.

In this voluntary role, you will attend a one-hour meeting each quarter, be available for MDA mentoring when called upon, have the willingness and availability to engage in ad hoc paid consultancy work, and participate in one state-driven initiative per year.

This position will suit an active and experienced reporter or communications professional with a demonstrated understanding of the issues and events that affect persons living with a disability. You should be committed to changing the representation of disability across mainstream media given how influential the industry is in shaping social attitudes.

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NEW SOUTH WALES 

Secretary to join our New South Wales Chapter.

In this voluntary role, you will attend a one-hour meeting each quarter, be available for MDA mentoring when called upon, have the willingness and availability to engage in ad hoc paid consultancy work and participate in one state-driven initiative per year.

This position will suit an active and experienced reporter or communications professional who is well-organised and will arrange monthly meetings, send out agendas and take minutes.

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Events Coordinator to join our New South Wales Chapter.

In this voluntary role, you will attend a one-hour meeting each quarter, oversee at least three networking events per year in your state, be available for MDA mentoring when called upon, have the willingness and availability to engage in ad hoc, paid consultancy work and participate in one state-driven initiative per year.

This position will suit an active and experienced reporter or communications professional with a solid roster of industry contacts and a useful amount of, or desire to learn, event planning experience.

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Indigenous Affairs Officer to join our New South Wales Chapter.

In this voluntary role, you will attend a one-hour meeting each quarter, be available for MDA mentoring when called upon, have the willingness and availability to engage in ad hoc, paid consultancy work and participate in one state-driven initiative per year.

This position will suit an active and experienced reporter with a demonstrated understanding of the issues and events that affect First Nations people, as well as a strong network of contacts within First Nations communities across Australia and an understanding of cultural protocols.

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APPLICATION DETAILS:

To apply for any of the above positions, please send your resumé and in the body of your email, outline your motivation for applying for the role, why you think you are suitable and why Media Diversity Australia’s mission aligns with your own.

Send your applications to simone@mediadiversityaustralia.org

Women of Colour Mentorship: Meet the Mentors!

Women Of Colour: Mentor Lineup

The Women of Colour Mentorships in partnership with Crescent Foundation, University of Melbourne, and Monash University, is designed to empower First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse women journalists and provide them with the requisite knowledge and skills to navigate climbing the ranks of editorial leadership.

The MENTORS for the Women Of Colour Mentorship Program are as follows: 

  • Rhanna Collins (Head Of Indigenous News and Current Affairs, NITV) 
  • Bernadine Lim (Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, SBS)
  • Uma Patel (Google News Lab Lead, Australia & New Zealand)
  • Antoinette Lattouf (Journalist/Author)
  • Paula Kruger (Talent Manager, ABC)
  • Mibenge Nsenduluka (Journalist/Author)

Mentorships will take place with one mentor connected to one media outlet for the duration of the placement. Once accepted, each applicant will be matched with the right Mentor.

Are you an EARLY to MID career First Nations or culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) journalist interested in being mentored by senior women in media as you progress into a leadership role? Join our Women Of Colour mentorship program and get a chance to train under these brilliant mentors! 

Entries close on May 11th, 2022, 5pm. 

Send your mentee applications to MDA’s Director of Special Projects, Simone Amelia Jordan at  simone@mediadiversityaustralia.org 

More info about the program here: https://www.mediadiversityaustralia.org/opportunities/

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

Get in touch:

March 2022 Newsletter

Hi MDA supporters, 

In our March newsletter, we put the spotlight on MDA’s new project manager, Dania Roumieh. Applications are now open for MDA’s Women of Colour Mentorships in partnership with Crescent Foundation, University of Melbourne, and Monash University. Additionally, entries for the MDA Award at the mid-year Walkleys are open. ENTER NOW to be in the running! Catch a sneak peak behind the scenes of Community Voices Melbourne 2022. We also introduce our upcoming #BeingAnAlly campaign, as a follow-up to our hugely successful #ThingsIveHeard campaign. And finally, in honour of International Women’s Day, we present to you MDA Impact: IWD Edition. 

In this issue:

  • Spotlight on: Dania Roumieh, MDA’s New Project Manager
  • Women Of Colour Mentorships: Apply now!
  • MDA Award at mid-year Walkleys: Entries are open.
  • Community Voices Melbourne: Behind the scenes.
  • #BeingAnAlly: A follow up to our #ThingsIveHeard campaign
  • MDA Impact: International Women’s Day Edition

Spotlight On: Dania Roumieh,MDA's Project Manager

Dania Roumieh

Media Diversity is the acknowledgment and acceptance of sharing the media stage with those who are from multiple diverse religions, ethnicities, and minority groups who all have authentic stories to share.

What does your role as MDA’s project manager consist of?

Working as a project manager at Media Diversity Australia involves having a positive attitude and ideas, which adds to the excitement of working with an innovative team. When I have a team that really supports me in what I do and what I’m passionate about, it makes my job so much more achievable. As a project manager, I’m a visionary with endless ideas that I aspire to bring to life and there’s always a starting point. As a project manager of amplifying voices, I’m excited to strengthen our diverse communities to develop a stronger relationship with the media and stakeholders. This requires a strong contribution to purposeful conversations and engaging with highly accomplished industry professionals. In my position, I oversee a project that aims to diversify our Australian media and provide opportunities to future generations to enrich the experience of the audience.  

What were some of the areas you delved into before joining MDA?

Prior to joining Media Diversity Australia, I was thoroughly exploring other areas of media, and promoting diverse voices. It started at Western Sydney University when I was elected as a Student Editor and member of the Publication Committee. Here, I initiated and founded ‘Humans of Western Sydney University’, which promotes and showcases a diverse collection of unique stories shared by students, and which has now become a permanent feature of the editorial column. I am also on the advisory for the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) as the Media and Youth Affairs Advisor, simultaneously while freelancing pieces to publish alongside my other publications with ABC Religion & Ethics, AMUST, and many more. 

And finally, what does Media Diversity mean to you?

First and foremost, from my diverse perspective, Media diversity is the essence of formulating exposure and increasing visibility of minority and Culturally and Linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in Australian media. It’s the acknowledgement and acceptance of sharing the media stage with  those who are from multiple diverse religions, ethnicities and minority groups who all share authentic stories to share. It is unfortunate that people from various faiths and communities are underrepresented in a multicultural country, and that newly established journalists are challenged with landing positions in Australian media. It is vital that our media facilitates and enhances the connection between the diverse communities and individuals across the Australian landscape. 

Women of Colour Mentorship Program

MDA is launching the Women of Colour Mentorship Program supported and funded by the Crescent Foundation to empower female journalists from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to attain leadership positions in Australian media.

The mentorship program, with Monash University and University of Melbourne as partners, is designed to address the obvious lack of women in senior decision-making roles in the Australian media.

MDA will select 12 mid-career, women journalists of First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to take part in the mentoring program. Over 12 months, each mentee will be paired with an established media professional and receive in-person and online sessions to build their skills in leadership, presentation, compelling storytelling, and career development.

The Mentorships are scheduled to commence in mid-2022. Applications OPENED on Friday, March 4, 2022, at 9 am AEDT and will CLOSE on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, at 5 pm AEST. 

View application details and full description here

Applicants can apply by emailing MDA’s Director of Special Projects, Simone Jordan at simone@mediadiversityaustralia.org 

MDA Award at mid-year walkleys: Entries are open!

MDA Award at mid-year Walkley

Entries are OPEN for the Media Diversity Australia Award administered by The Walkley Foundation!

The Media Diversity Australia Award honours journalists who are making an outstanding contribution through their reporting or coverage of diverse people or issues in Australia. This includes culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) and people with disability (PWD). 

It celebrates reporting that demonstrates notable courage in raising awareness of CALD and/or PWD experiences and perspectives, as well as innovation in the telling of these stories. It recognises the significance of media coverage in providing nuanced reporting that serves to alter perceptions and attitudes, challenge stereotypes and fight misinformation.

Submissions are open to all journalists working in mainstream, community or alternative media, as individuals or in collaboration with others. Eligibility for the Media Diversity Australia award is based on independent acts of journalism, free from any commercial or corporate interests.

Enter NOW to be in the running! – https://www.mediadiversityaustralia.org/about/awards/

Community Voices Melbourne: Behind the scenes!

Community Voices Melbourne
“We were able to witness the incredible confidence and empowerment the program instilled in all of the participants last year and are delighted to be able to work with the Melbourne cohort this year.” 
-Mariam Veiszadeh

CEO Media Diversity Australia

 

Community Voices Melbourne has kicked off! The inaugural Community Voices program in Sydney in 2021 exceeded all our expectations. MDA in partnership with The Judith Neilson Institute is thrilled to introduce the program to Melbourne this year. You can find a complete list of the 2022 Community Voices participants here

The participants in the program’s Melbourne cohort heard from and dined with NINE newspapers editor David King, Network Ten VIC news director Nicole Strahan, and ABC VIC deputy news director Joanna McCarthy

Read more about Community Voices 2022 here

#BeingAnAlly: A follow up to our #ThingsIveHeard campaign

#BeingAnAlly

“Whether you’re in the whirlpool of overt racism or the subject of regular micro aggressions, there’s nothing more important than knowing there are people who see you and how you feel. Being an ally needs to become an honour and a privilege for every Australian who is in the envious position of not experiencing racism – and any other -ism that seeks to denigrate and humiliate” 

Monica Attard (Journalist, co director UTS Centre for Media Transition and Ally)

Last month we launched #ThingsIveHeard, a social media campaign that unearthed the many microaggressions that diverse journalists and commentators often endure in a media landscape setting. We received over 140 stories from culturally and linguistically diverse journos and media commentators sharing their experiences of workplace microaggressions that sting. 

You can find these stories under the #ThingsIveHeard hashtag on Twitter. 

As a natural follow-up to this campaign, MDA is now launching #BeingAnAlly which we hope will showcase the untold stories of media allies who support diverse journalists and commentators. This could be an incident they recall, commentary, or an observation. Reading such stories can be comforting for all of us who have felt a level of isolation at times within the media landscape and a source of encouragement to others to be active in their allyship.  

If you are an ally, please share your comments and stories with us – using the #BeingAnAlly hashtag and tagging @MediaDiverseAU on Twitter, Facebook & Linkedin. We really want to hear from you.

MDA Impact: International Women’s Day Edition

What does this year’s IWD theme #BreaktheBias mean to you? 

“It means ensuring when we approach bias and try to challenge systemic barriers, we’re not only doing it for women that look and sound like us. It’s very easy for these conversations to just be about a certain type of woman from a certain type of background in a certain type of environment. So for me, breaking the bias means that we ensure that we look at all women.” 

-Antoinette Lattouf 

Co-founder Media Diversity Australia

To mark the 2022 International Women’s Day, we were out and about. Here is some of what we did: 

  • MDA’s Co-founder Antoinette Lattouf spoke at the Women of Influence event in Brisbane on International Women’s Day. 
  • MDA in partnership with Crescent Foundation, University of Melbourne, and Monash University launched Women of Colour mentorships as a response to the dramatic lack of women in Australian media senior decision-making roles (Application details above, apply now!).
  • MDA’s CEO Mariam Veizadehwas invited to speak at the Future Women’s Forum in Sydney and delivered a keynote to Canberra’s Multicultural Women’s Forum. 
  • Mariam was also on a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees panel 

Want to help create a media that looks and sounds like Australia?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on the help of our incredible volunteers. With your financial and volunteer support, we can continue to run programs to support culturally and linguistically diverse journalists, conduct agenda-setting research, run networking events, provide practical solutions for the media industry, and much more. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the vital work we do, please click here.

About us

Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation led by journalists and media professionals. Australia is culturally and linguistically diverse, and our media should be too. Established in 2017, MDA has a unique role as a champion of cultural diversity in Australian journalism and news media. We have a vision for a media industry with full and equal participation for culturally diverse people at all levels.

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