Parra Youth Matters   University of Sydney DIMIA You Me Us - Living in Harmony Council for Multicultural Australia
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Ideas arising from the Speed Dialogue

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Recommendation: That workshops be made available for members of the general public to attend in order to learn more about media strategy and goals.

  • School, University and TAFE can serve as locations for these workshops and can offer assistance or help coordinate and promote them as well. Workshops will also need the support of the Department of Education.
  • Given the implementation of these workshops they can then be advertised to the general public to take part in. It is beneficial for the educational institution because it increases its exposure and reputation, thereby increasing its chances of receiving funding. Suburban newspapers, ethnic and culturally centered magazines are a good way to promote these workshops to the community.
  • Media resource packs can be formed to send out to interested members of the community. They should be available in different languages. This could be a way to counter the amount of money involved in spending on workshops.
  • Workshops can be conducted by media bodies - the extra incentive for them coming is that they too can be educated about media ethics that the community finds important.
  • In regard to how to encourage participants, it was noted that firstly, people would be more inclined to go to a workshop if they felt like their ideas would be seriously considered and also if they received some kind of accreditation for attending.

Recommendation: The formation of a body or group within each suburb or region specifically established to address issues of importance to cultural harmony within the community.

  • Contact existing youth organisation (e.g. YAPA) to see if they are able to recruit people to join and also form sub-committees within existing organisations (e.g. Parramatta City Council YAC)
  • Seek funding through government grants or existing youth funding organisations such as the Foundation for Young Australian, or try to find funding/ support through schools, media groups or University faculties. Use school forums such as the SRC to make use of the schools contacts/networks. Also target media studies courses in school and TAFE;
  • Utilise information technology to facilitate dialogue with community (e.g. expand 'Youth Alive' - Youth Week website);
  • 'Watch puppy (dog)' network to act as de facto youth media watch;
  • Inter-suburb cultural exchange - utilise school rather than overseas networks;
  • Set up new form of media, which can be used to present alternative views on issues and events. This form could come in several different mediums: Newsletter/website; Talk back radio, community stations

Recommendation : circulation throughout the general public of fact sheets describing how individuals can contact the media

What kind of information should be provided?

  • Contact numbers, addresses and opening hours of media outlets and media regulatory bodies
  • Information on what can be achieved by contacting the media
  • Information on what processes actually exist to keep media accountable, at an industry level as well as within organisations
  • All information should be provided in several languages

Packaged as fridge magnets; public education ad campaigns; TV, print media, radio; poster campaigns; school newsletters; council publications and newsletters; in community group newsletters; on organisation websites; mail drops

What strategies could be employed?

  • Create a website or links page, which is solely established to facilitate people contacting the media and addressing this issue has direct links to media outlets and peak bodies
  • Stronger emphasis on the contact details in newspapers etc supplied by print media and having more regular and clear announcements of how to contact radio media.

Recommendation: Promoting the 'social responsibility' of the media through more balanced and accurate media coverage of stories involving different cultural groups.

  • Start a school newspaper, magazine etc, which can report on current issues in the media (both sides) and print quotes and articles by students of different backgrounds about different issues, which affect students views & feelings.
  • Form a youth based lobby group to convey concerns with the media's reporting of multicultural issues.
  • Use school assemblies as a way to activate students and inform them of current issues being reported in the media. Encourage students to get involved and make a difference on an individual scale. Outside speakers could be brought in for different perspectives, for example, invite particular reporters to speak and be open to questions and being challenged.
  • Get involved in film, radio and article writing course at school, or start one. It is through these courses that students will be able to gain knowledge about media techniques. Learn how to write letters to media organisations and the Editor, and students can give journalists a different cultural view to a story/article and encourage them to write balanced reports.
  • Establish networks between schools so they know they're not working in isolation. Furthermore student groups should develop relations with other media alert groups and try to foster good relationships with serious journalists

Recommendation : That the Government at the Federal and State levels provide/s a commitment to ensure that the wider public is aware of differences in culture and their effect on lifestyles.

  • More community-based multicultural events need to be held so members of the community can see how other cultures live. Educating people about different cultures is the best way to increase awareness and, in turn acceptance. The jurors felt that Harmony Day was one such initiative but that this could be expanded, perhaps through "cultural excursions".
  • Community and school fetes should be used as sites for cultural awareness raising. Fetes should include a variety of foods, music, dancing and games with a history of these given by members of that culture.
  • It was recognised that particular geographical areas are home to particular cultures. Schools should be encouraged to promote the study of cultures in syllabus area such as Religious Studies and Society and Culture, which are not common to their geographical area. Different ethnic communities groups should be encouraged to meet up and discuss common issues and challenges that they face, through their local community centres.

Recommendation : That 'life-long' learning programs be introduced to educate journalists and media professionals in reporting on multicultural issues.

  • Youth organisations or a body of youth, actively organise 'youth run' functions for members of the press and wider media representatives. The youth would be responsible for the agenda.
  • Such a body of youth could also design a branch that is focussed on providing services to the media, similar to the idea of a consultancy organisation. Youth knowledge of issues concerning youth/ media/ multicultural would be available for journalists and media professionals
  • Ensure that teaching on multicultural issues is an essential component of the initial training provided by media organisations at the editorial traineeship level.
  • Performance evaluation of individual journalists and editors that includes explicit attention to reporting of multicultural issues if applicable, must become a part of the internal monitoring system of different media organisations.
  • Promote the idea of a mentoring system, or 'buddy-system' between individual media representatives and individuals from a youth organisation.
  • At the university level, have individuals from multi-cultural backgrounds who have been negatively/or positively affected by media coverage of a particular issue, come and tell their story to journalist undergraduates.
  • The introduction of journalists who specialize in multicultural issues, and have specific prerequisites.

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