You can explore the eChamps’ coverage of the 2015 NEMBC Conference by using the sidebar menu, or this index.
This year we had eight eChamps covering the conference, each bringing a different perspective:
eChamps coverage of conference sessions:
By Helen Bath, volunteer CEO at Voice FM 99.9, Ballarat Community Radio.
Helen Bath – Voice FM 99.9, Ballarat (facilitator)
Diane Hunter – One FM, Shepparton
Leo Renkin – 94.7 The Pulse, Geelong
Bob Rau – 98.9 North West FM, Melbourne
Radio stations in country areas experience different issues from their metropolitan counterparts. communities. This discussion will help the NEMBC develop policies to strengthen its support for regional areas.
The session was started with a quick introduction of where delegates were from which included Cairns, Brisbane, Canberra, Mildura, Adelaide, Darwin and Melbourne.
Diane spoke first whilst a recent WinTV News item was played [unfortunately without sound – but the clip is available on both the One FM and Voice FM Facebook pages] Diane spoke of the difficulty in getting ethnic programs but how enthused she was from her attendance at last year’s conference in Darwin and how she had gone back to her station determined to “do this”! She had taken the stories and the significance of providing a voice for her community which included a growing number of refugees. They now have one program a week and are embracing the opportunity. She is determined that they will grow to 6-9 programs and understands the challenge but is also convinced that Shepparton needs this change.
Leo started by pointing out the obvious that he is a white male in control at his station. He started by telling a story of conflict and asking what is ethnic? He grew up in a diverse family that was very multicultural and challenged that things cross over and boundaries are less obvious. When he joined The Pulse, the Geelong Ethnic Broadcasters were involved and he was challenged with “meeting them”. He discovered that there were communication and access issues and once these were embraced they were on the road to developing a cohesive community. It was a hard transition that identified that training was essential. Providing an open door helped to work through language skills and showed a different side as well as embracing the opportunity to bring different communities together socially. This was done with functions that combined food and performance and proved very effective in breaking down barriers.
The Pulse has 12-17 ethnic programs and whilst their fight with the ABC was a problem eventually they were asked if the ABC could set up an office at the Pulse. This has provided an insight into how the ABC journalists work and what The Pulse can learn in combining story/film, sound/radio, content. The Pulse have embraced training and recently assisted Mildura discovering that they have 3-9 ethnic groups who alternate weekly, who had access issues. Leo’s strong message is hard work, training, a welcoming environment and it is essential that you build confidence in and with all your presenters.
Bob thanked the NEMBC for the opportunity and paid his respects to the local indigenous community. He proposed a locational perspective and used various stations as examples of Regional/provincial, Rural and Remote stations. Geographically decentralization is providing opportunities for stations where populations are growing with a number of emerging language groups. Whilst North West FM is a sub-metro station they are located the Moreland, Hume and Mooney Valley Councils that include the highest distribution of ethnic communities. North West seek to exploit this fact, sometimes not successfully. Bob listed the diverse language groups within their broadcast area and pointed out their particular difficulty in getting female presenters.
Bob spoke about the importance of defining your licence area and using ABS and Local councils to identify the ethnic breakdown as it was easy to miss some groups.
Bob suggested that it was important to identify the leaders of the different ethnic groups and engage with them, provide training which also is important as it establishes a bond engaging them within the North West Family. They endeavour to provide an open door and call on other stations to be brave and provide incentives for ethnic communities to come and be involved with your stations.
A general discussion then raised the following issues with good participation:
Issues as listed on the board at the end of the session:
So, at the end of the session it was the community broadcasting sector coming together to find solutions to a problem for young enthusiastic presenters on their journey within our wonderful community with all its complexities.
I hope this breakdown of our session assists with policy development. The workshop agreed that there was an opportunity to circulate the notes for further input that may benefit the stations involved but also the NEMBC in their deliberations.
Voice FM 99.9
Ballarat Community Radio
eChamp 2015 Una Madura Verde reporting live from NEMBC’s national radio conference
How can the media and ethnic community broadcasting support community leaders, community groups, educators, the police, young people, social workers and other relevant groups and individuals to help bring about long term effective measures to maintain resilient communities and communities resilient?
Building resilient communities these days means asking for a whole of society approach to strengthen social cohesion. Indeed, during times of political, natural, economic and/or social tensions and crises, a strong public commitment to cultural pluralism and social cohesion has never been so important. Media coverage of the recent events in Paris in particular, and its impact on our collective perceptions of ethno-cultural diversity demonstrates the importance of community resilience as a key element in countering racism, discrimination, misrepresentation and even violence.
In Prognosis Critical: Resilience and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Australia, Melbourne based Professor Michelle Grossman defines Resilience as “an individual’s, community’s or system’s ability to adapt to and ‘bounce back’ from a disruptive event.”
In seeking to contextualise this definition both within the topic of the discussion and the conference itself, we must oversee its application by equally seeking to define that which we as ethnic community broadcasters are bouncing back from.
This afternoon delegates were encouraged to contribute to the conversation by listening to the stories, projects and experiences shared to us by three panellists who have under their various portfolios defined what resistance means in the context of community development, and played a major role in building social cohesion in Multicultural Australia.
The panel which was facilitated by Dr B. (Hass) Dellah AO, Executive Director, Australian Multicultural Foundation, featured (in order of their contributions), Mr Mark Duckworth , Chief Resilience Officer, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Mr Abdul Ghannoum, President of Australian Muslim Youth League and Mr Kuranda Seyit, Film maker and Secretary, Islamic Council of Victoria.
Here are some of their insights:
Mr Mark Duckworth began by defining the contours of community resilience today in the context of the media, he noted, “the issues that we face today are highly complex and involve an intersection between global and local matters.” Unfortunately, he continued,
“ the media is yet to relay complexity and do so and in way that captures the listener, reader or viewer… lack of complexity in the form of sloganistic language often do.”
The result of this Mark suggested is the risk of misdiagnosing social cohesion and thus coming up with solutions which not only discourage community accountability, but its objective of intercultural respect, understanding and communication. He insisted, “if we don’t stress the complexity of social cohesion, the result could mean the vilification of whole communities,” and thus a chronic episode of community division.
In order to address this ongoing problem, Mark suggested a “a bottom up approach.” That is communities affected by social tension must be given the upper hand when comes to either conceptualising or resourcing different elements of Australian transcultural communities within the generalised framework of “community resilience.”
This he insisted would help overcome issues of trust particularly between the government and marginalised communities directly affected by social, political or cultural tensions.
Our second speaker Mr Abdul Ghannoum, President of the Australian Muslim community radio, provided a practical application of Mark Duckworth’s contentions. In many ways, his extensive work with young Muslim communities in Sydney has incorporated the varieties of resilience capital that many culturally diverse individuals and communities may bring with them when resettling in, or contending with, new environments. This achievement has meant Abdul has been able to effectively transform cultural difference from a vulnerability to an asset and thus, project onto Australian society, a very different counter narrative of the communities he represents.
His radio project 2MFM in particular has enabled an evaluation of how communities can practice resilience on their own terms. The show which is produced and presented by Muslim young people provides new ideas about what empowerment might look like in times of social tension. In describing the project, Abdul noted,
“my work with Muslim young people is about breaking down the stereotypes which overcrowd our representation in mainstream media.”
Our third speaker, Mr Kuranda Seyit, echoed the perspectives suggested by Mark and Abdul. The focus of his talk was how to achieve a societal approach to community resilience. Given the contours of the conversation- the challenge of ensuring community resilience in the media– his talk specifically dealt with how Australia can overcome dominate media narratives which have normalised racism and discrimination. As a representative of Australian Muslim communities, his thoughts were applied to the experiences of exclusion felt by Muslim communities in particular.
He started his contribution to theme of resilience by suggesting that skewed media narratives not only exclude marginalised communities from greater conversations of social cohesion but subtract value from their demonstrated capacities and right to bounce back from the social repercussions which result. He suggested that a ‘bottom up approach’ to community resilience should reflect the efforts of cultural leaders such as Abdul. However, he was eager to add, this should not be interpreted as privileging the local at the expense of the national. Australia as a society of diverse individuals, communities and institutions should not feel exempt from doing their part. Indeed, how we- the media producers and representatives of our respective communities- can best help people to help themselves in such situations should be a key element of the contemporary ‘resilience’ approach.
Kuranda insisted that communities working towards their resilience in face of social tension should be supported politically, socially and economically in their efforts to ensure their individual and collective sense of belonging. Moreover, this support should not co-opt the voices of those communities vulnerable to exclusion, rather the government must work with communities to ensure a genuine commitment to social, political and cultural change. Expanded definitions of both “community” and “resilience” Kuranda reaffirmed, ensures that social cohesion remains everybody’s responsibility.
The Advanced Social Media workshop was one of three afternoon workshops conducted as part of the 2015 NEMBC Conference. The workshop was hosted by the NEMBC’s Operations Officer, Jinghua Qian. In this day and age social media is a dominant platform to connect and engage an audience, so this session had proved to be vital for all delegates involved.
It was a very intimate audience that was involved in the workshop, with a great mix of different broadcasters of different backgrounds and age groups. Jinghua explained what the workshop was going to be about, including using social media more effectively to reach more people, extend your program and your reach to your audience. She emphasised that this was an advanced class, so tips for things like setting up a Facebook page and social media advertising were not being covered.
She stated that the content always matters and not the medium itself in order to make social media more engaging to the target audience. In addition understanding who your audience is can make social media very effective. We went around the room to hear different stories about social media and how it has had an impact on their respective audiences. One notable example was the Filipino program in Brisbane’s 4EB where at one point they had 11,000 individual Facebook users view their page thanks to exposure during a large event. Polyfonix’s website was used as an example of a WordPress based website demonstrated to the delegates (hooray!)
Jinghua went into detail about the NEMBC’s collaboration program ‘Culture Cloud’, designed to assist radio stations with sharing resources, audio, images and links. The Cloud will provide ways to filter for certain languages or topics and amalgamate them into one search page (e.g. if ‘Spanish’ is entered, then all Spanish related shows or segments will be featured on the one page). It is certainly something to look forward to and it does have a lot of potential.
Jinghua provided some last minute advice on how to use social media effectively:
Thank you Jinghua!!!
We welcomed Anthea Hancocks, CEO of the Scanlon Foundation (@Scanlon_FDN).
The Scanlon Foundation supports and encourages immigration and social cohesion.
Anthea has an extensive background in strategic planning, business development and community services, and is the backbone of the Scanlon Foundation committed to “the successful transition of migrants into Australian society”.
She suggests there are five indices contributing to a cohesive society:
“I like to think of these as a pyramid – at the foundation of the pyramid is the importance of a person’s sense of ‘worth’,” she says.
“In making the decision to travel to Australia, families are seeking to have a sense of belonging and to make their way into their new home.”
Media plays an important role in all five steps of the social cohesion pyramid.
Particularly community radio is able to provide new Australians with a platform to be heard, to be accepted, belong and participate.
Anthea’s final message for multicultural broadcasters as follows:
“Be a channel for sharing global activities and news through a range of voices,” she says.
Recognise those in your community who go above and beyond, and share common interests in the community you represent as a multicultural broadcaster.
The panel discussion continues.
Follow the Twitter hashtag #nembc15.
A bit about Mr Stefan Romaniw
Mr Romaniw is the current executive director of Community Languages Australia. He has also served as the chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VCM) with years of teaching experience before becoming involved with the government but here is his biggest title. Mr Romaniw is responsible for over 20 million Urkainians outside Ukraine as the secretary of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC).
Connect – Create – Crossroads
Mr Romaniw to cover a range of ideas. Two of these ideas being the public policy and administration of ethnic broadcasting as well as the role of languages in communities and schools.
The audience were asked to think about whether mainstream media is capable to do our job. Also, how do multicultural and community broadcasters differ? We were asked to wonder about who our audiences are when broadcasting. How do we connect with them? What do they want and how do we connect with the mainstream?
A reference was made to everyone in the room that is a part of the NEMBC. Mr Romaniw quizzed the us about what our roles are and what our niche is. He was able to relate these questions to a brief story he shared. At a forum Mr Romaniw attended, former AFL CEO Andrew Demitriou was also there and was asked a difficult question. We was asked if he believed whether soccer would overtake AFL. His response was that ‘Competition is good’.
To create partnerships was said to be crucial in developing ethnic broadcasting organisations. Partnerships with groups like school council organisations, the Minister’s circle, principle associations and the Department of Education are what Mr Romaniw was talking about.
The role and position of ethnic media was said to interlink and cross over. Funding models also, and the changing expectations of audiences in radio.
Mr Romaniw left our audience thinking more about their role in the media. Their position in multicultural broadcasting. And how they can help grow diversity in radio.
“Media isn’t what the media used to be,” says Rob Curtain as he opens his conference session ‘And now for the news – writing a news bulletin’.
— Nao Azuma (@naoazuma_) November 27, 2015
Rob is a former News Director at 3AW, currently working as a communications specialist based in Melbourne.
“Everything is merging as a soup,” he says.
“The world is filled with screens.”
All journalists are asked to be multi-platform journalists unlike in the past, where radio journalists, print journalists, and tv journalists worked separately.
As he says, journalists operate in a world of screens where media is consumed through screens when we wake up, before we go to bed, and at all times in between.
It is important that young budding journalists in the field of communication understand the prominence of this conversion.
Rob explains certain stories resonate with people more.
He gave the example of a story that ran in February, about a Melbourne local hit and killed by a garbage truck at an inner city intersection.
Melbourne media, quite literally, went to town with this story.
However newsrooms in other cities did not – the story was not “emotionally relatable” to their audiences.
This is one of many examples illustrating why broadcasters must be aware of their audience.
Broadcasters should not succumb to information fed to you through media releases from the police, government bodies, or organisatons.
Keeping at the back of your mind your audience, make sure it is relevant.
As journalists it is your responsibility to embrace the honourable, and responsible role you are vested with – maintaining authority and credibility.
“There’s no magic formula,” Rob says.
No matter what platform you are reporting for, as a multimedia journalist, make sure your stories reflect the interest of a reasonable, general audience.
The NEMBC National Conference has just commenced.
Make sure you follow the twitter hashtag #nembc15 all throughout today.
Once upon a time in a delegate’s life with eChamp 2015, Una Madura Verde
This afternoon at NEMBC 2015 Radioactive Youth Media Conference, I had the honour of talking to conference delegate, Leenie Fabri.
Fabri represents and works for JOY 94.9 , an independent voice for the diverse lesbian and gay communities listened to by 329,0001 people in Melbourne and more online.
The reason why I asked Leenie to have a chat is because apart from being a passionate and knowledgeable radio geek, she is also a talented graphics recorder. Instead of opting for the usual delegate charade, which often involves rigorous notetaking on hotel-provided note pads, Leenie, like her radio station, decided to stray from tradition. Leenie decided to document her experience at the conference through a series of drawings or graphics which as she explains, suit the relativity of her experience here at the conference and in the community more generally. Read her insights and see her visual documentary of the conference below!
U: What station are you representing today?
L: I am the manager of people, services and culture at JOY 94.9, Australian’s only LGBTIQ community radio station. I am also a community radio trainer and consultant at SAS, Sound Advice Services.
U: What brings you to the conference this year?
L: My colleague Alice Berkeley and I are here to engage with ethnic broadcasters and invite people to participate in a JOY 94.9, CBF funded project called Multicultural Rainbow Community Service Announcements (CSA) project. The aim of this project is to provide vital LGBTIQ resources and community engagement information for all culturally and linguistically diverse community broadcasters around Australia. These announcements have the potential to reach CALD rainbow listeners who may not otherwise have access to essential health and wellbeing services.
U: The reason why I am interviewing you is because your engagement with the conference has been very particular. Instead of writing notes on each of the conference sessions you have instead chosen a more creative path. You have responded to the ideas offered by the conference through a series of graphics. Could you explain this creative note-taking mechanism?
L: Yeah so, I take notes with visuals and key words. Amongst my other skills, being passionate about radio and being a radio trainer, I am also a graphic recorder. I recognise and am passionate about the power of visuals, how they cross all languages and make stories more accessible. Hopefully the images inspire the messages imparted to us by the sessions and great speakers of today’s conference.
E: I’m sure they will, thank so much Leenie for talking to us!
Follow Leenie’s visual documentary of NEMBC’S 2015 Radioactive Youth Conference here:
JOY 94.9 is currently seeking volunteers to participate in the CSA project mentioned above. The only conditions for participating are being able to speak, read and write in languages other than English. For further information, please contact Alice Berkeley via firstname.lastname@example.org
Una Madura Verde Reporting on NEMBC 2015 Radioactive Conference Session Two: Modern Cultural Identity Q&A Panel
A quick google search reveals that cultural identity is defined as a feeling of belonging to a group. Wikipedia states ‘It is part of a person’s self-conception and self-perception and is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, locality or any kind of social group that has its own distinct culture.’ In reality however, cultural identity isn’t so fine cut. Indeed, despite the broad nature of Wikipedia’s definition, it fails to capture the sensitivity and complexity of personal experience.
Our globalised and interconnected society has proved that ‘cultural identity’ is a fluid process fraught by our collective attempts to not only define cultural identity as a measure of experience but also, by our tendency to utilise ‘popular’ definitions as a criteria of belonging. In many cases, young people including myself, have described cultural identity as a framework which restricts rather than facilitates our self-expression and consequently, one which motivates a collective search for alternative platforms, words, ideas and labels which can better capture “what it means to be me.”
This morning NEMBC Radioactive delegates had the opportunity to contribute to this conversation by listening to and pondering on the words of advice given by an amazing panel eager to guide and aid our own journey for self-definition.
The panel facilitated by convenor and NEMBC youth committee member Curtis Ho featured Adolfo Aranjuez, editor of Metro magazine, Faiza Rehman, Lawyer, former MasterChef contestant and member of Australian Multicultural Council and Fatima Measham, social commentator and editorial consultant at Eureka St. The panellists were asked to share their thoughts on what is modern cultural identity and how this fits into broader perceptions of who we are as Australians.
Here are some of their insights:
According to Adolfo, cultural identity is relative, something which changes according to what we have normalised as acceptable or popular. Adolfo explained this by suggesting that cultures are time contingent and acutely shaped by the dominant attitudes and perspectives which suggest their value and meaning in ‘mainstream’ society. Faiza agreed, however her interpretation of this conceptual thread- the relativity of cultural identity -was more opportunistic, focusing instead on how her identity encouraged her to “dream to be on the frontline.” Having under her belt numerous and distinct opportunities to express her cultural identity – She is a former MasterChef contestant and currently working for the Australian Multicultural Council- Faiza stated that we often dismiss cultural identity as a hindrance to our political agency when in fact the opposite is true. The relativity of cultural identity, she noted, ensures its transformative capacity especially to those who seek or work towards its revision as an act of self definition. Together Adolfo and Faiza suggested that we must perceive the fluidity of cultural identity as an advantage or better still, as a unique opportunity to actively define how we and others perceive and communicate who we are. Faiza candidly expressed,
“for me culture is being yourself, there’s ten different people in that person, we must be proud of who are.”
Fatima on other hand, contributed to the conversation by identifying the importance of time and how this has provided young people of today with unique opportunities to define who they are and thus, reconstitute their representation in the mainstream. She noted that compared to her time, when she one of the only ethnic kids in the classroom, children of today are more comfortable with diversity because they are more likely to encounter it in their everyday lives. This she suggested, has given young people from culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds more confidence and opportunity to tell their stories and do so on their own terms. Ideas that multiculturalism is still on the periphery were pushed to floor after Fatima wholeheartedly informed us that,
“statistics bear this out”
Overall the panel was insightful and a genuine opportunity to explore the state of young people and multiculturalism in Australia today. One of the many messages which I took away from the panel was that we must not be afraid to be in the ‘middle.’ Between then and now, between here and there, we are the future of today and the change of tomorrow.