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Community Voices is coming to Melbourne

Community Voices, a Judith Neilson Institute and Media Diversity Australia initiative giving people from diverse backgrounds a greater voice in Australia’s national conversation, is now open to applicants from Melbourne for 2022.

Apply now: Community Voices Melbourne

Community Voices provides participants with training, support, practical experience and industry knowledge to help them engage effectively with the media. 

It encourages participants to add their community knowledge and professional expertise to public discussions on issues affecting all Australians.

The program supports participants from a broad range of backgrounds. 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.

Community Voices will be open to applicants in Melbourne for the first time in 2022, following a successful pilot program with 12 participants in Sydney this year.

Class of ’21: Community Voices is already helping 12 participants to develop their media skills.

Participants are already making a mark in the media having featured on television and radio news and current affairs programs, print and digital stories, as well as social media and podcasts.

2021 Community Voices participant Joy Adan said the experience has been eye-opening and challenging.

“I’ve had the honour and joy of learning from some of Australia’s most experienced and engaging journalists, researchers and strategists, while seated alongside some of Australia’s incredibly hard-working and inspiring community contributors,” she said.

“It has opened doors to opportunities and conversations I always thought unwelcome for a migrant girl from Western Sydney, and we’ve only scratched the surface.”

Fellow participant Basim Al-Ansari said he has previously felt a void between the Australian media and his community.

“As an Australian Muslim, in particular, I felt a deep mistrust in a media that had its agenda for portraying us as the ‘other’ in the National debate,” he said.

“The Community Voices program is, successfully and elegantly, trying to fix that void, bridge that gap and heal that mistrust.”

Community Voices participants Joy Adan and Idrissa Dumbuya with JNI Education Director Andrea Ho and Media Diversity Australia’s Ky Chow.

JNI Education Director Andrea Ho said: “It is pleasing to see more media outlets making efforts to more accurately reflect Australia’s diversity, but our industry still has a way to go.”

“I recognise that most people find it challenging to front up to the media, let alone comment on difficult topics or in a contested space,” she said.

“This year, I’ve seen our Community Voices participants step into the media arena and speak up confidently on current topics. 

“With the pandemic and related issues it’s been extraordinarily important to have the Community Voices’ contribute to the news cycle.”

The year-long program will give participants comprehensive training in different mediums, including radio, TV, print and digital media.

Community Voices participant Daniel Gobena chatting with 2SER.

Participants will learn how to pitch themselves to the media and manage the opportunities and challenges that come with having a public profile.

They will also be given opportunities to develop their skills in live media situations.

Participants will work closely with the project team, as well as media executives, identities, trainers and experts from across the industry.

The program is led by Jim Carroll, former Director of News and Current Affairs at SBS and Network Ten, in collaboration with Media Diversity Australia.

Applications closed on Monday, September 20, 2021.