An industry roundtable last week convened by Media Diversity Australia discussed the importance of having media that is truly representative of our community, identifying challenges, setting up a working group and seeking to accelerate change.
The group also initiated initial discussions on the talent pipeline and discussed the merits of uniform measurement and progress tracking across all parts of the industry to ensure greater accountability as an industry.
In attendance were Mandi Wicks (Director of News and Current Affairs, SBS), Lenore Taylor (Publisher The Guardian), Chris Oliver-Taylor (ABC Chief Content Officer), Mariam Veiszadeh (CEO Media Diversity Australia), Hon Michelle Rowland (Federal Communications Minister) , Isabel Lo (Founding President Media Diversity Australia), Beverely McGarvey (Executive Vice President, Chief Content Officer and Head of Paramount Network 10), Mike Sneesby (CEO Nine), Lucinda Gemmell (Chief People and Culture Officer Seven), Lisa Watts (CEO of The Conversation Group), Zara Seidler (co-founder of The Daily Aus), Andrew Drummond (editor of the Australian Associated Press) and Campbell Reid (group executive, corporate affairs, policy and government relations, News Corp Australia) , Ai Mawdsley (COO Private Media Group).
- The roundtable was the first time this group of Australia’s most influential media industry representatives had met to consider actions to advance diversity, inclusion and equity as an industry
- The first roundtable focused on establishing a firm commitment on the importance of having media that is truly representative of our community, exposing the ongoing challenge, and sharing information on the approaches media organizations are using to promote diversity, equity and inclusion
- There was broad consensus that a sustained effort was needed to increase the diverse talent pool across media and there was an appetite to partner with MDA to achieve this
- Attendees were united in their collective commitment to ensure a diverse media industry and welcomed support and guidance to accelerate these efforts
- A working group will be set up to continue the discussions and prepare an agenda for the next roundtables
- The MDA Nine member will host the next roundtable in early 2024. The group will meet twice a year to ensure ongoing discussions take place and channels of communication remain open across the industry
Mariam Veiszadeh, CEO of Media Diversity Australia, said: “For the first time ever, we have brought together our members for an authentic and frank conversation about what needs to be done to make real progress in diversity, inclusion and equity. As individual media organizations, each member has the power to make a significant impact, but as a collective, this group’s ability to move the dial cannot be underestimated.
“The pace of industry-wide change is slow and inconsistent. This round table has been a call to action for the industry: together we have begun the journey towards accepting collective commitments”.
Isabel Lo, president and founder of Media Diversity Australia, said: “MDA was proud to facilitate a conversation with industry leaders about what we can do as a collective to enhance representation in mainstream media that truly reflects Australia, one which supports and empowers journalists from all walks of life so they can report on vital issues in the public interest.