Community Voices is an initiative of the Judith Neilson Institute, in partnership with Media Diversity Australia. Its goal is to strengthen the ability of individuals from diverse backgrounds to participate in Australia’s national conversation.
Over the course of a year, it will provide 12 outstanding Australians with the training, support and experience they need to engage effectively with the media and contribute to the public discussion of issues critical to all Australian communities.
Participants come from a broad range of backgrounds reflecting Australia’s ethnic, linguistic, religious and socio-economic diversity, including different political and cultural outlooks. Individuals are chosen for their close connections to, and deep understanding of, their communities.
The program is led by an experienced team including Jim Carroll, the former Director of News and Current Affairs at SBS, senior journalist at Ten and Director of Media Diversity Australia, Antoinette Lattouf, and Ky Chow, a freelance journalist and media consultant and Professional Development Director at Media Diversity Australia.
Applications close at 11:59pm on Wednesday, December 9 2020.
Q: Do I need experience engaging with the media to apply for Community Voices?
A: Media experience is not necessary. We want to give media skills and experience to capable, articulate members of diverse communities who may never have had media opportunities before. It is useful, however, for the trainers to know if you have experience.
Q: Do I need to be a community or religious leader to apply?
A: While we are certainly open to applications from people in official positions and roles, Community Voices is keen to invite people with close connections to and understanding of a community to apply, even if they do not have formal status or an official title. We are looking for a range of talented people from different professional backgrounds.
Q: Are interstate applicants able to apply?
A: As applicants will be required to attend monthly group and training sessions they will need to be residing in NSW. Following completion of next year’s pilot program, JNI will explore the possibility of running the program in other states.
Q: Is there an age limit on applicants?
A: There is no age limit.
Q: What type of issues should I be ready to comment on?
A: We are seeking participants who can comment on issues that specifically affect a particular community, but also who can comment on broader social and political topics.
Q: I have different perspectives or opinions to many commentators I see in news and social media. Will this disadvantage my application?
A: No. Community Voices is keen to attract participants with genuinely diverse opinions on social, political and other issues. This includes those that may differ from those often seen or heard in current news media – or (respectfully, of course) other Community Voices participants.
Q: What if my English language skills aren’t strong or I have an accent?
A: While the training will all be conducted in English, we strongly believe that our program can help participants with different levels of English language skills engage with the media. We also believe Australian media will benefit from hearing more accents.
Q: Do I need to provide my social media account details?
A: You do not have to give us your social media account details.
Q: Where and when are the training sessions?
A: Participants will need to attend monthly group and training sessions, in person (i.e. not via Zoom). Most sessions will be conducted at JNI headquarters in Chippendale, NSW. We will give you a modest travel allowance. As far as practicable, we will time sessions to work around participants’ professional and personal lives, which may include evening and weekend sessions. You should expect to give a time commitment of 6–8 hours per month.
Q: What type of referees do I need to provide?
A: Your referees may be people who know you professionally or within your community.
Q: I am having trouble with my application.
A: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you.
Q: Who can I contact if I have further questions?
A: Please contact us at email@example.com.