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Women in Media brings Canberra communications professionals together

Amanda Whitley

Canberra is a city of communicators.

It’s a diverse industry – we have ‘local’ journalists; those who work as producers and behind the scenes across print, broadcast and digital; the Press Gallery; PRs working in the public and private sectors; media advisors in Federal and Local government; and people like me who I guess fall into the category of ‘new media’. There are many, many ‘circles’…but it’s rare that we are given a chance to connect.

I’ve been working in the Canberra communications sector for 15 years – first as a public affairs officer in the public service and more recently on the other side of the fence – and I don’t think I’ve ever discovered an organisation that brings everyone together. Until now.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 29 October, Women in Media (WiM) Canberra will launch with two events: a lunch at the National Press Club (NPC) with a speech by Julie Bishop, and a less formal evening launch with WiM National patron Caroline Jones from 7.30-9.30pm, also at the NPC.

Both events are a chance to meet others in the industry and be inspired by some amazing women working in the media and communications arena, with WiM Canberra’s organising committee including: the ABC’s Virginia Haussegger and Eliza Borrello; SBS chief political correspondent Karen Middleton; The Australian’s Stephanie Balogh; Sophie Morris from  The Saturday Paper; Lenore Taylor and Shalailah Medhora from The Guardian; Fleur Anderson from The Financial Review; The Canberra Times’ Emma Macdonald; Tara Taubenschlag of CMAX Advisory; and yours truly.

Convening the WiM Canberra Committee is ABC reporter Emma Griffiths (you can read more about her in this great piece by Emma Macdonald) – I caught up with her ahead of tomorrow’s events to find out more.

What is Women in Media?

Women in Media is a way for women in the communications sector to connect. But we’re aiming for much more than that, too. We want women to always feel like they learn something from our forums, and to feel like they find support for any issues they’re confronting.

It has been set up around the country through the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, but each chapter is a little different. Our hopes are to hold two keynote speeches at the National Press Club a year. We will also hold a networking event there every couple of months, featuring a panel to discuss a variety of issues.

Why bring it to Canberra?

It’s been sadly lacking! We have a wealth of women journalists, communications advisers, bloggers…and everyone I mentioned a “women’s networking group” of some sort loved the idea – the politicians included!

Why were you, in particular, keen to get involved in establishing it here?

I came back to work from a stretch of maternity leave (two children) early last year and found networking much harder. I needed a structured way to do that. Also, I was reporting on stories, eg. about Julia Gillard that people across the political spectrum found offensive. I felt like women needed a formal network of support.

Who should come along to WiM events?

It is for women who work in the media sector: journalists, camera operators, editors, TV directors, content providers, public relations professionals, communications advisers, press secretaries.

What is WiM aiming to achieve with its Canberra chapter?

We want to connect women, support women and help them build their careers. We want to promote women already in leadership positions and help find the next generations of leaders, too.

Interested? Find out more about tomorrow’s events below!

the essentials

What: Women in Media Canberra launch
When: Wednesday 29 October 2014. There are two events: Lunch, featuring a speech by Julie Bishop at 12 noon ; and Networking Drinks with Patron Caroline Jones at 7:30pm.
Where: National Press Club, Barton.
How much: Lunch – $79; Networking Drinks – $10.
Tickets: From the National Press Club website – book here for the Lunch and here for Networking Drinks.

Feature image of young female making notes from shutterstock.com

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Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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