"Australia's media diversity issue has a lot to do with senior management"

Topics Inclusion

Ricardo Goncalves is a presenter and finance editor for SBS World News, and he also fronts Small Business Secrets. He has a Portuguese background and has covered news globally, filing stories from the Middle East, LA and New York’s Ground Zero. His most memorable pieces of work include interviews with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva and Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson. Here, he talks to DCA about Australian media's diversity problem. 

To borrow a question from the Greens’ NSW MP, Mehreen Faruqi, why is it, do you think, that ‘multicultural Australia lives and breathes on the streets, but disappears as soon as you switch on the TV or open a magazine or newspaper?’

I think a lot has to do with senior management within the industry.

The people running it, particularly in leadership positions in commercial broadcast television, have been doing so for decades. A lot of the time, it's the same people as the 80's, 90's and 00's, just at a different network.

They may be 'stuck in their ways', 'acting on personal preference', 'afraid of change because they don't understand it' or simply 'unwilling to change'.

If the leadership team of an organisation isn't diverse, then how can one expect there to be diversity within a company, or in this case, on air?

As a media insider, what do you recommend leaders in the industry do to help the many Australians left out of media participate?

Get out into the community to find out what they want and what they really feel, not what you think they want. Speak to your customers.

This doesn't mean conducting a focus group, commissioning a survey, or issuing a research report.

It means physically going to your viewers, and speaking with them face to face.

That will give you an idea of what they really want, and understand their needs.

It's not giving them what you think they want, rather what they actually want.

I think that would make it clear viewers want a greater representation of modern Australia in the media.

And what should diverse voices be doing to be heard?

They just need to speak louder for longer until there is change!

SBS is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. How has this benefitted the organisation as a whole?

It allows for diversity of thought, and a sense of camaraderie because staff are working as a team toward a common goal.

In the newsroom, a diverse pool of talent means having access to different people, with lots of contacts with community groups around Australia.

It also means knowledge, having ease of access to people that understand different aspects of culture.

Plus, it makes for an interesting workplace.

As a finance and business journalist, in what ways do you think diversity and inclusion can positively impact that famous bottom line?

Simple: having a diverse workforce makes it easier to talk to your customer, because your customer comes from diverse backgrounds.





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