More effort needed so young people can be seen and heard in media #NEMBC19

The National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadasters Council (NEMBC) has begun its annual conference in Brisbane.

Yesterday, Steve Ahern opened the Youth Conference with a keynote speech about the evolution of audio and the future of media, outlining the latest technological advances, changing audience habits and evolving programming trends. Today James Cridland will give the keynote address, view today’s program here.

Ahern discussed podcasts and smart speakers, demonstrating routines and voice activated information content that will change the way programmers format thier shows, especially breakfast programs.

In a panel discussion (pictured), moderated by 4EB broadcaster Khwezi Nkwanyana, a recent study was discussed, which pointed out that youth are underrepresented in media. A range of views were canvassed on this and other topics from technology to the visibility of youth in media.

“Until a few weeks ago I would have said that Australia does not do a great job in the visibility of young people in media, but the recent changes at the national youth broadcaster triple j have signalled that young voices are important. Triple j hired a whole lot of new young presenters under the age of 30… this has made a statement that has confirmed the place of young people in media more strongly,” said SYN’s Molly George.

Lizzie Orley, host of the Murri Hour on Brisbane’s 98.9 FM said: “We could be yelling and screaming about things, there needs to be more improvement so that we can be seen and heard more clearly… Don’t underestimate young people.”

Waqas Duranti said youth should not just be heard but also “need to be part of decision making… A lot more needs to be done to share the stories of ethnic youth, especially the success stories of youth involvement in society.”

Ahern, who joined the panel, questioned the methodology of the study. “Who did this study and what did they examine? Did they turn on SYN and FBi, or did they just count column inches in traditional newspapers? Did they look on social media to see what youth advocates are saying there? I wonder if this is another symptom of the problem, there are youth voices out there but not everyone knows where to go to find them. I hear lots of youth voices because I go and seek out those views, then I balance them with the views of older people and others. I seek out a full range of views, but does everyone do that? Many people don’t even know they are missing out on multiple viewpoints because they don’t know where to find them.”

David Wang from 1CMS Canberra described how the station’s multicultural youth program developed over the past few years. “Once it was created it attracted a lot of diverse members from the existent programs and also from the children of existing presenters. Everyone comes together and we broadcast a program with so many diverse views because of it.”

Ahern was asked what he has learnt in his work around the world. He said: “When I go to other countries where there was no media freedom for a long time and now they have it, I see that they really know the power of media and the importance of media freedom. In Australia media freedom has not been threatened for a long time so we have grown complacent that the media will always be there and will always be free. But the ABC raids signalled that, if we take our eyes off the ball, those freedoms can be quietly eroded. The rest of the world can teach us the importance of media freedom and to take notice when anyone tries to erode it.”
The full panel discussion is available on facebook live here, also embedded below (the camera changes its aspect ratio after about 3 minutes).



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