The final Women in Media event for 2016 at the Claremont Hotel was attended by an amazing group of women, powerful personalities and a few brave men. We were all there to learn a little bit more about a new but increasingly important part of media – the online landscape and how we can navigate social platforms.
Syan Dougherty from Today Tonight led panel members Dan Stinton, head of digital media at Channel Seven, ABC digital media guru Andrea Mayes, and Tama Leaver, internet studies professor at Curtin University, through a range of topics such as how to build a personal brand and the importance of online videos to media organisations.
Online video was a big topic for discussion as Dan suggested that online video is where the money can be made for news organisations. To reflect the value of video to Chanel Seven, Dan said the organisation had a creative team dedicated to making online videos with content specifically aimed at social media. Although his suggestion that ‘convincing journalists to make online video is hard’ conflicted with me as a journalism student as I find that most video content I produce is used solely online. Andrea added that there is pressure on journalists to make online pieces and they are expected to file stories across multiple platforms including desktop, social and online. This is something I think all budding journalists can relate to as we are being taught to expect to produce for multiple platforms.
Tama said we should think of ourselves as a personal brand in social media and to consider what we would want the world to see and what we would not (like those pictures from that wine trip down south with the girls!). He made us all reconsider the way we display ourselves on social media as more employers refer to Facebook and Twitter accounts when deciding on new employees. From Andrea we learnt that some social media platforms work better than others. She cited the effectiveness of snapchat stories, Facebook messenger, mobile alerts and geo-targeting to increase viewers. Like many other outlets, Andrea pointed out that ‘the ABC attracts younger audiences through social media, socials are the name of the game’.
Tama reminded us that on social media ‘people can talk back’ and encouraged journalists to make room for these open conversations.
Question time brought discussion about how members of the media community with disabilities can own online journalism, something I had not considered before. Dan admitted that the industry was behind in accessibility, which was something they were looking to improve. There was some sprightly debate on the question of whether podcasts were dying. Tama said ‘podcasting was really big in 2005’, indicating that podcasts were once a very popular medium but only live on in niche markets. Dan disagreed, saying podcasts take time to build audiences therefore revenue comes from a loyal audience base and with better in-car technology more people wanted to listen to a podcast on their way to work. It was very interesting hear the discussion about online media as something that we share with the public. While the media can control corners of the market, online still belongs to everyone and as journalists we need to learn how to share this space with viewers whilst also making it work to our advantage.
Again, a huge thank you to the sponsors, the MEAA, Lamont’s Winery, The Good Store and Media Super for making the night possible as not only did we all get to learn something new but had a ton of fun doing it. As we all passionately discussed online media we could sip on our drinks and have a bit of a laugh. This was my first Women in Media event and I was so warmed to have met so many women who lead the media sector, it gives me inspiration as a journalism student that great things can be achieved and I am so grateful to be in arms with such a diverse and loving group. Thank you for having me WIM and I look forward to seeing you all dominate the online world.
By Rhiannon Holmes: Rhiannon has just competed her second year at Curtin University studying journalism. She works mainly in broadcast journalism but also likes to write a few pieces here and there. Rhiannon is passionate about making a lifelong career in journalism and, on graduating, hopes to pursue current affairs reporting as there are so many stories to be told. She can’t wait to be a part of the media community!