Budyeri kamaru (hello) from Eora Country,
As we approach the close of 2023, I want to take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve had at Media Diversity Australia (MDA). This year has been a testament to the power of collaboration, resilience, and our unwavering commitment to fostering a more inclusive media landscape.
I’m thrilled to share that we’ve successfully welcomed esteemed members to the MDA family, including Channel 10, Channel 9, Channel 7, ABC, SBS, The Guardian, News Corp Australia, AAP, The Daily Aus, ARE Media, Junkee Media, Private Media, The Conversation, and our educational member, the University of Sydney. Your support and dedication are invaluable as we strive for a media industry that genuinely reflects the diversity of our society.
Our inaugural industry roundtable in July and the two subsequent working group meetings held since, have proven instrumental in making substantial progress towards our industry objectives. Going into 2024, I’m optimistic about the positive impact we’ll continue to make together. We’ve also hosted engaging gatherings throughout the year, including Chapter networking drinks and research launch events.
MDA’s commitment to advocacy remains unwavering. In response to the Stan Grant situation, we held a Listening Circle led by First Nations voices for Indigenous and culturally diverse reporters. Our ongoing support and confidential counselling during critical events such as The Voice referendum and Israel-Palestine underscores our dedication to championing psychological safety.
As we bid farewell to some esteemed members, namely our co-founder Antoinette Lattouf, we are excited to welcome new Board members Wayne Bergmann and Monica Attard and company secretary Amanda Martin. Their contributions will undoubtedly elevate our mission to new heights.
MDA’s impactful projects continue to produce success stories of interns securing full-time positions, like Georgina Jelovic, who was hired as an editorial assistant with Mamamia after her MDA Media Pathways Program internship.
Our TalentHub has expanded to include over 250 media professionals from Indigenous and culturally diverse backgrounds, connecting talented job seekers with employment opportunities. We’re proud to have facilitated several placements, further strengthening the diverse fabric of the media industry.
Last but certainly not least, I want to express my profound appreciation to our supporters, including the Jibb Foundation, Google News Initiative, Weld Stories, Diversity Arts Australia, Western Sydney University, Bennelong Foundation, and Multicultural NSW. Your commitment enables us to continue our vital work, and we are truly grateful for your partnership.
Please consider supporting Media Diversity Australia here as we continue to drive industry-wide change.
Wishing you a safe holiday season and a prosperous New Year,
— Mariam Veiszadeh and the Media Diversity Australia Team
Shazma Gaffoor is a journalist, wife and mother based in Melbourne. Winning one of MDA’s Summer Fellowships earlier this year as a La Trobe University student, she spent five weeks working with the Nine News team. Shazma’s latest gig is associate producer with Channel 10’s The Project.
How was the transition from being placed at Nine News Melbourne through MDA’s 2022 Summer Fellowship to working with The Project at Channel 10?
Nine News Melbourne had the classic newsroom you envision from the movies where journalists hustle to get their story for the day while out and about. The Project life is quite different, where the journalists source, cut, and put together everything within the newsroom. Having had a bit of insight at Nine made the transition into The Project a lot easier!
What do you love about your role at Channel 10?
I love how sometimes we may not have much of a story at the beginning, but some of those stories are then turned into something remarkable with the collective effort of producers, camos and editors under the keen eye of the supervising producer and CoS. Those are my favourite stories. The Cinderella effect, I guess!
What did you learn during your MDA program that benefited your career progression?
Because of the MDA program, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how fast-paced and busy a newsroom is, how to look at things through a multifaceted lens, and how you’re always chasing after time!
What advice can you offer young, diverse journalists taking their first steps?
Be brave, and be proud of your diversity – that’ll be the edge you will always have over those still searching for it. Have a tight-knit circle as a support system for those long days. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth, and don’t hold back pitching news ideas; it may just be the story that makes it to a headline.
MDA welcomes the success of our inaugural Media Pathways Program, conducted in collaboration with Western Sydney University. Supported by the Bennelong Foundation and Multicultural NSW, it involved a four-part seminar series where aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds could hone their skills, gain insights, and connect with generous industry members. The program’s culmination saw selected participants undertake internships with The Sydney Morning Herald, Are Media, News Corp Australia and Mamamia.
Congratulations to our interns Georgina Jelovic, who has been offered the editorial assistant role with Mamamia, and Jessica Cham, who is in talks for the same position with The Daily Telegraph. Congratulations to Jostina Basta (pictured above), who has been offered a cadetship with the ABC following her Sydney Morning Herald placement, and Sumaiya Chowdhure, who received a glowing recommendation from Are Media.
MDA is proud to support the launch of BlakCast, Australia’s first network of podcasts highlighting stories of First Nations Peoples and people of colour that will feature a range of shows focusing on Indigenous communities and other Australians from marginalised backgrounds.
The BlakCast journey began with a vision from its founder, Mundanara Bayles, to amplify diverse voices, stories, and perspectives and to foster diversity and inclusivity in Australian media.
“BlakCast is paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future where all voices are heard, and the stories of the First Nations peoples are celebrated,” says Bayles. “Through diverse storytelling, we seek to foster a deeper connection to the rich tapestry of our nation’s history and culture for audiences and content makers alike.”
The network, in partnership with ARN’s iHeart, will launch with podcasts like Black Magic Woman, Yarning Up, Curtain the Podcast, Unapologetically Blak, Meet the Mob and Coming Out Blak.
Natalia Thomas stepped into the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead role at Nine in May this year, where she is charged with helping the network navigate and adapt to change, improve organisational culture and enhance connectivity. Upon her announcement, Natalia said it was a “privilege to join and amplify a chorus of voices, both in and outside of this organisation who are listening, learning, taking action, making mistakes and turning up the heat in pursuit of safer, more equitable and inclusive organisations and media landscapes.”
You joined the Nine team as their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Lead earlier this year. What have been some highlights for you so far?
In late 2022, Nine established five ‘Communities’ – Nine Pride, Cultural Diversity, All Abilities, First Nations and a Gender Equity Community to accompany the existing Women in Technology Group. Each Community receives independent funding and is Co-Chaired and Sponsored by senior staff members. My highlight has been working with the Co-Chairs to embrace their new role as Community facilitators, build awareness for the different aspects of people’s identities and see the impact that the events, stories and initiatives have had across the business.
What steps is Nine taking to support First Nations and culturally and racially marginalised diverse job applicants?
Earlier this year, Nine’s Talent Acquisition team members participated in training to help them recognise and challenge unconscious bias in the hiring and selection process. They have subsequently signed up to an ‘Act of Inclusion’ pledge to challenge hiring managers on Acts of Exclusion, with a reporting framework to track their progress. Our team has also been delivering unconscious bias training to hiring managers across the country and ensuring that hiring managers who participate also sign the ‘Acts of Inclusion’ pledge. Nine has done significant work to improve its employee value proposition and onboarding for people from historically marginalised backgrounds to ensure we can attract, retain and support all Australian talent.
What strategies can diversity advocates use to create more inclusive and supportive workplaces?
Big question. The old consultant in me says that strategies will always depend on the context and maturity of the workplace. There is one step that helps to establish the foundations for complex and nuanced conversations about racism, colonisation, homophobia and exclusion, and that is finding ways and avenues to foster self-reflection, curiosity, courage and consistency. I think the foundations of this are in well-facilitated conversations, safe storytelling, truth-telling and increasing people’s exposure to individuals who have different backgrounds, histories and identities to their own.
What outcomes are you most looking forward to from Nine’s ongoing membership with MDA?
I’ve appreciated MDA’s role in initiating and facilitating conversations about attraction and retention across the media industry. As someone new to this space, I’ve welcomed the opportunity to learn about collective challenges and shared opportunities. I look forward to seeing sector-wide initiatives to attract and foster a diverse and empowered pipeline for future and returning talent in 2024.
Learn more about becoming an MDA Member here.
If you know someone in Sydney aged 18-30, who is passionate about storytelling, identifies as culturally diverse, migrant, refugee, and/or a person of colour, this is an incredible opportunity.
StoryCasters 2.0 is presented by Diversity Arts Australia and Multicultural NSW, and hopes to empower the next generation of multi-platform reporters.
The program offers training in one of three streams (Writing & Criticism, Podcasting and Photojournalism) plus industry talks, networking events, and a four-part masterclass series on working in media.
Find out more and fill out your EOI today: https://bit.ly/StoryCasters-2-EOI
Peruvian-Australian photojournalist Isabella Melody Moore has published a report about the experiences of non-white media professionals in Australian newsrooms, featuring in-depth interviews with four journalists, shedding light on their perspectives and challenges.
“In order for Australian media to authentically reflect the society it serves in its reporting, essential changes are necessary. One interviewee suggested including more non-white editors and managers, coupled with establishing specialised reporting rounds focused on diaspora or migrant communities. This could offer increased avenues for non-white journalists to contribute their lived experiences, thereby elevating the quality and authenticity of news reporting. Moreover, dismantling the racial objectivity bias stands as a pivotal step toward creating a more inclusive and reflective media landscape.”
Read the full article here.
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.
Founded by journalists (Isabel Lo and Antoinette Lattouf) in 2017, Media Diversity Australia (MDA) is a national not-for-profit organisation, working towards creating a media landscape that looks and sounds like Australia. We have expertise in delivering evidence-based research, bespoke programs, strategic memberships and partnerships that disrupt the status quo and pave pathways for diverse representation across Australian media.