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Apply now: Community Voices Melbourne

Do you want a greater role in the public discussion of issues critical to Australian communities? And can you contribute your professional expertise to the media’s coverage of national and international topics?

The Judith Neilson Institute and Media Diversity Australia invite outstanding individuals from Melbourne to apply for Community Voices in 2022.

The program aims to strengthen the ability of people from diverse backgrounds to participate in the national conversation.

Over 12 months, the Community Voices program will provide you with sustained, intensive training, support and experience to help you engage effectively with the media and participate in public life.

You will be trained across different mediums including TV, radio and print interviews and communicating well on social media. You will learn how newsrooms make editorial decisions, how to pitch yourself to media organisations and how to manage the pressure that comes with a public profile. You will get the opportunity to use these new skills in live media situations that will build your experience.

Community Voices gives participants the chance to improve their media skills and learn from the best in the business.

Participants will be coached by a project team with deep expertise in both working in the media and also engaging with diverse communities. The program is managed by Jim Carroll, the former Director of News and Current Affairs at SBS, in collaboration withMedia Diversity Australia.

You don’t need media experience to apply and there is no age limit. We are seeking applications from people with ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity, different political and cultural outlooks, or experiencing socio-economic challenges, for example unemployment, homelessness. Successful applicants will be chosen based on their potential media talent and also their close connections to and deep understanding of their communities.

The program will be an intensive one. Participants should reside in Victoria as you will be required to attend monthly group and training sessions in person (subject to COVID-19 restrictions).

As far as practicable, we will time sessions to fit around participants’ professional and personal lives. The program may include evening and weekend sessions and you should expect to give a time commitment of 6–8 hours per month.

Applications closed on Monday, September 20, 2021.


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 Victoria. Following completion of next year’s pilot program, JNI will explore the possibility of running the program in other states.

Q: Do I need to be an Australian citizen to apply?
A: No, you do not. What is important is that applicants have a strong connection to or knowledge of  their community, culture or socio-economic group and a desire to speak publicly on issues that affect them. We also welcome diverse applicants who have other expertise to — including their profession and other lived experiences — who wish to share this with the media  (in addition to their cultural perspectives.)

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 a central CBD location, in person (i.e. not via Zoom – restrictions permitting). 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 types of referees are you looking for?
A: Referees should be people who know you well. They can be people from your community, someone you work with, or a teacher, lecturer or sporting coach, for example.

Q: I am having trouble with my application.
A: Please email communityvoices@jninstitute.org and we can help you.

Q: Who can I contact if I have further questions?
A: Please contact us at communityvoices@jninstitute.org.