Media Diversity Australia expands team ahead of new research plans

Not-for-profit Media Diversity Australia has expanded its team as it plans to grow and have more impact on an industry it sees as lacking in diversity.

Chris Vaughan has joined the team as its operations director, bringing experience from his work in the finance industry, as well as media and advertising.

Vaughan said the work Media Diversity Australia does is close to his heart.

“I moved to Australia at the age of seven from London, it took many years before I saw someone else who looked like me let alone on the TV. It was because of that and many other reasons, that I feel very passionate about playing a part in this narrative to ensure that the seven year old me today is able to see more diverse cultures represented equally across all media platforms,” Vaughan said.

Chris Vaughan

Vaughan worked for the past eight years in the financial services sector as an investment strategist and has led and built domestic and international partnerships. He has also worked both in Australia and the UK as a Freelance Television Producer for Fremantle Media, ABC and the BBC.

Media Diversity Australia made headlines in August 2020, when it released landmark research on the state of representation in television news and current affairs.

The report, Who Gets To Tell Australians – led by the NGO and produced by four universities was funded by Google and the union representing journalist, The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. It found that at the time, every national news director in Australia was a white man, and 96.9% of those in the most senior news management roles either had an Anglo-Celtic or European background.

More than 75% of presenters, commentators, and reporters on screen in news and current affairs broadcasts had an Anglo Celtic background, while only 6% had Indigenous or non-European background.

Now in its fourth year, the not-for-profit organisation will be doubling its paid internship program to create pathways for talent from a diverse array of backgrounds to enter the industry. The organisation also plans to repeat its research on the state-of-play in television news and current affairs to measure what has changed in three years.

“We have a clear vision and strategic plan over the next three years, which will see us scale our efforts to ensure we have a stronger representation across the entire media landscape of both culturally and linguistically diverse talent and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” a spokesperson for the NGO said.

Also joining the team is Simone Amelia Jordan as events and project manager, whose career spans news and music journalism and music management.

“When I came home in 2016 after a decade away in New York, I was immediately hit with familiar feelings of frustration and disappointment. Why did Australia’s mainstream media look as homogeneous as when I left? It was completely disheartening,” Jordan said.

“The following year, I learned about the launch of Media Diversity Australia, and was proud to support such a crucial movement. To now work with them in an official capacity is an honour,” she said.

Media Diversity Australia was founded in 2017 by journalists Isabel Lo and Antoinette Lattouf. They are supported by an  advisory board including Indigenous journalist Stan Grant, The Project Host, Waleed Aly; veteran journalist Monica Attard, SBS head of indigenous content, Tanya-Denning Orman; philanthropist Talal Yassine, former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphomossane; multicultural advertising advisor, Sheba Nandkeolyar and head of the Walkley Foundation, Louisa Graham.


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