NGO Media Forum 2015


Telling our stories for a more inclusive society

How are grass roots community organisations navigating the new media landscape to tell their own stories in positive ways? How is civil society using its own voice to challenge the often negative framing in media discourse about minority groups and building a social movement toward a more inclusive Australia?

In June 2015, ACOSS partnered with The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) to bring communicators from Not For Profit organisations together – working on similar issues and campaigns – for a day of learning, sharing, and networking.

The forum was an opportunity to share experiences through dialogue and showcasing innovative models and infinite ways to tell our own stories and world views for a shared future; and a chance for media, communications, campaign and advocacy workers to link up and explore ways of working together to achieve the positive social change we all want, an excellent Australia for all.

The forum included:

  •  A dynamic panel of working journalists and community based communicators;
  •  A workshop on ‘framing’ conducted by one of Australia’s foremost communications strategists Alex Frankel;
  •  Facilitated networking on advocacy issues supported by the NFP Comms Network;
  •  A session on how to effectively use digital media to unlock our collective reach as a powerful movement for inclusive social change.

media forum

Photo collage courtesy of @Amberfy_ from #YidakiYulugi 

Full Media Forum Program here



Session 1 – Networking: working together

This session provided a chance for participants to get to know each other and to link up with others working on key issues and campaigns.



Session 2: Telling our stories – Watch VIDEO of panel discussion aired on NITV

Chair: Catherine Liddle, Executive Producer (NITV)

Panellists: Zoe Beta, Learning Experience Designer, Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Initiative (NCIE) | Rick Morton, Social Affairs Reporter, The Australian | Paula Abood, Community Cultural Development Worker, Filmmaker, Writer, Educator | Gerard Thomas, Media and Policy Officer (National Welfare Rights Network).

Session Description: How do we effectively tell our own stories in an environment of media proliferation where the mainstream is losing its grip on information dissemination yet still maintains a stranglehold on social representation? This session focused on the innovative ways in which social minorities in Australia are using and creating media platforms to speak for themselves and challenge the negative portrayals of minority groups in Australia – from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to stigmatised Muslim Australians, welfare recipients, young people and other groups in our community. The panel dissected innovative models for a shared future showcasing infinite ways for our world views.

Session 2 Telling our stories


Session 3: Be the story of change

Facilitator: Alex Frankel, one of Australia’s foremost communications strategists, from Alex Frankel and Associates now coalescing under a new brand, Frankly.

Session Description:This session covered how we can use the power of stories to connect with people and build a social movement toward a more caring society. Part 1 looked at how different causes use stories (and control narratives), and how we can use them more effectively, while part 2 built our stories of change for Australia.

Session 3 Be the story of change


Session 4: Social media & advocacy: our stories, our audience, our influence

Panel discussion with leading social media practitioners and community advocates examining how NGOs can use social media to turn audiences into activists and achieve social change.

Watch the video of this session:

Facilitator: John Kelly, Media and Communications Coordinator (VCOSS)

Panellists: Natasha Akib, Engagement Strategist & Producer (Digital Storytellers) | Patrick Skene, Sport and Media Lead (Red Elephant Project) | Nathan Burman, Head of PR and Communications (Twitter Australia)

Session Description: Australian not-for-profit community organisations represent some of the most trusted voices in our community. Our combined audience reach through traditional and social media connects us in some way to the vast majority of Australians. Yet the power of our social media reach means we are directly connected to potentially millions of people who support our messages and who want to live in a fairer and more equitable Australia. How can we better use social media to unlock that potential and turn it into a powerful voice and public movement advocating for the social change we want to see?

Session 4 Social media & advocacy