by Sarah Chlala
Indigenous students who dream of working in the media will have the opportunity to realise their dreams through a mentorship program established between SBS and National Indigenous Television (NITV) in August.
The new three-year program has been designed to assist Indigenous media students gain hands-on experience in television, online and radio. Students are also given the chance to expand their network and improve their employment potential.
“I think it’s powerful because it adds another layer to the student’s experiences overtime and the beauty of the program re-affirms their dreams are possible,” says Anna King, Project Manager, Social Inclusion, at Macquarie University.
The program is based on a similar one set up between SBS and the Ethnic Communities’ Council and Macquarie University last year aimed at students from a refugee or migrant background.
Media student Karina Marlow, who has been chosen for the new mentor program for Indigenous students, says, “I was super lucky they opened it up this year for indigenous students. They obviously really care about us as people.”
Although Karina believes the mentorship program has increased her chances of getting a job in television, she acknowledges the industry is very competitive for all media students.
Dr Folker Hanusch, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at University of the Sunshine Coast, initiated a study, ‘Who’s views skew the news?’, that found journalists who identify themselves as Indigenous represent just 1.8 per cent of Australian journalists. The number is disproportionately lower than the 2.5 per cent of Australians with an Indigenous background.
Mr Michael Dunstone, Employment Advisor at Yarn’n Aboriginal Employment Services, says Indigenous unemployment is the highest of all unemployment rates for any ethnic background in Australia. He thinks a the new mentor program should benefit Indigenous students.
Karina Marlow hopes the program will encourage Indigenous students to tell their stories.