MPC begins strategic review; establishes diversity sub-committee

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The Board of the Melbourne Press Club (MPC) today moved to establish a Diversity Sub-Committee as part of the organisation’s effort to lead the journalism sector into more action on cultural and gender diversity.

The Diversity Sub-Committee is one of a number of key priorities the MPC Board is embracing as part of a new strategic review, while it also assesses the issues and opportunities ahead for Victorian journalism.

The Diversity Sub-Committee follows the introduction of a new Quill Award in 2019 that recognises cultural diversity in Victorian reporting. It also comes after the 2018 establishment of the Michael Gordon Fellowships, a national program that enables social justice journalism, with a focus on Indigenous affairs, migration policy, human rights and international development. A total of $60,000 in grants has been distributed through the fellowships commitment, with more than $30,000 going to coverage of Indigenous issues.

The new MPC Diversity Sub-Committee will be responsible for developing the MPC’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, a strategy that will aim to ensure the club and industry incorporates cultural and gender equality initiatives in all its events and operations. The MPC will aim to enlist external experts to join the new sub-committee, with a current Board member to act as Chair.

Newly-elected MPC President Nick McKenzie said: "The Melbourne Press Club is acutely aware of the opportunity it has to influence more action on cultural and gender diversity. While our recent measures have been effective, we are resolute in our intent to do more. I look forward to working with our new sub-committee, as, together, we fight to shape a more inclusive society. There are also a number of other priorities for journalism in this state, and the nation, and we will be attacking these in the coming weeks and months as well."

Members of the MPC last week elected the club’s new 20-person Board. Twenty-seven members attended the 2020 Annual General Meeting, with dozens more providing proxy votes for the 22 board nominees. Prior to the AGM, the board proactively encouraged members of diverse backgrounds to nominate as candidates. One Indigenous MPC member nominated. This member did not attend the AGM, nor provide a proxy vote. Sixty per cent of the candidates elected at the AGM were women.

Mr McKenzie added: "The MPC looks forward to engaging various community and sector leaders in its work on this critical matter, including Media Diversity Australia. Together we can keep making a real difference to ensure journalism is representative of the whole community."

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