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Young journalists find fresh angle at media makers forum

“You’re the one in your community. You’re the one seeing things first hand. As much as journalists want to be everywhere, they can’t. So you’re the ones that have the view point that no other journalist can get. So use it your advantage.”

This was advice from Rashell Habib from News.com.au to more than thirty aspiring journalists from western Sydney at a Young Media Makers Forum hosted by the Point Magazine at Bankstown Arts Centre.

She was part of a panel discussion which was well worth televising. There were four other speakers from mainstream and multicultural media - Michael Safi (The Guardian), Naomi Selvaratnam (SBS), Naomi Tsvirko (El Telegraph) and Kavita Bedford (Mapping Frictions) who came together to discuss issues surrounding media and multiculturalism.

The young journalists enthusiastically joined in discussion with members of the panel who revealed their own pathways into the profession and the strategies they adopted when reporting on racial and religious minority groups.

Students from a number of journalism schools across the Sydney region seized the opportunity and asked panel members on how to achieve the correct balance in reporting on migrant communities.  The discussion also dealt with the expectation placed on journalists from a multicultural background when they are dealing with multicultural issues.

“Just because I’m Asian and I cover stories affecting Asian communities, I don’t want to be categorised as the Asian reporter only - I want to report on other things.”

– UTS Student

While others questioned the role the media plays in maintaining social cohesion and fair representation of minority communities living in Australia.

Naomi Tsvirko from El Telegraph said: “Although there are stereotypes at times perpetuated by the media, it raises questions about what the media owes a community and what does it mean to do a fly in fly out journalism piece on a particular community. I think that’s an interesting debate to be had and an important ethical dilemma.”

Kavita Bedford from Mapping Frictions encouraged young media makers from diverse backgrounds to assist communities in reclaiming their narratives, “offer opportunities for them to tell their own narratives and to be heard in the voice of their choice.”

Attendees were encouraged by the panel members to take advantage of the opportunity offered by The Point Magazine and other media outlets to hone their skills and to get their stories published.

During the evening a number of multimedia projects by young producers were presented to the young audience to stimulate their interest in reporting on real life stories, multiculturalism and community issues.

The Point

More than thirty aspiring journalists from western Sydney attended a Young Media Makers Forum hosted by the Point Magazine at Bankstown Arts Centre.

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