Thematic Dialogue #6
How are Public Service Media and Public Service Content Providers meeting audience needs when it comes to diversity, equality and inclusion and how can the situation be improved?
How are Public Service Media and Public Service Content Providers prioritising practices and policies that accelerate diversity, equity and inclusion in the structure of their organisations and in the content that they create?
Thursday April 15th 2021
16:30 - 17:50 GMT
16:30 Introductions. Prof. Brian MacCraith, Chair, Future of Media Commission
16:34 - 17:12 Panel 1 - How available is media output to a diverse audience? What needs to change? How is media output in Ireland reflective of an increasingly diverse audience and society? What are the solutions to creating more intentional, authentic and representative content?
Contributions by panellists, followed by questions and answers.
17:12 - 17:50 Panel 2 - How can we ensure that diversity is reflected in the output directed at “mainstream” audiences and not left as something to be addressed by “niche” channels or podcasts? How can careers in the media be made more accessible for people from diverse backgrounds? How can the future of media deliver on the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ in its content creation and organisational structure?
Contributions by panellists, followed by questions and answers.
Prof. Brian MacCraith, Chair
Brian MacCraith held the position of President of Dublin City University (DCU) from July 2010 to July 2020, during which time DCU grew significantly in terms of scale, footprint, and reputation. During that period, DCU was Ireland’s fastest growing university) and added 3 new campuses (DCU St. Patrick’s Campus, DCU All Hallows Campus, and DCU Alpha, the University’s Innovation Campus) to its original base in Glasnevin.
During his Presidency, DCU developed a significant international profile, with major academic and research partnerships across the globe and a strong reputation for innovation. The university is ranked consistently as one of the world’s top young universities and is in the top 20 globally for its graduate employment rate. Brian MacCraith is a member of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Physics, an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Ireland, and a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineers.
16:34 - 17:12
How available is media output to a diverse audience? What needs to change? How is media output in Ireland reflective of an increasingly diverse audience and society? What are the solutions to creating more intentional, authentic and representative content?
Panel Chair: Sinéad Burke
- June Sarpong OBE, Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC, Presenter and Award-Winning Author
- Moninne Griffith, CEO, BelonG To
- Suzy Byrne, National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities
Sinéad Burke, Panel Chair
Sinéad Burke is the Director and Founder of Tilting the Lens, a consultancy company working to accelerate systemic and cultural change across design and innovation in every business sector. Leveraging her expertise as an educator and disability rights advocate, Sinéad supports clients to activate the breadth of business and creative opportunities to be gained by a focus on accessibility and inclusion. Her work facilitates an organisation’s approach to designing an inclusive future and does not just ask the question ‘Who is not in the room?’, but constructs pathways to ensure that equity is embedded in the growth trajectory of both the organisation, and the wider world.
June Sarpong OBE; Director of Creative Diversity at the BBC, Presenter and award-winning author
June Sarpong has enjoyed a 20-year career, in which she has become one of the most recognisable faces of British television. June began her career at Kiss 100 and later became a presenter for MTV UK & Ireland. It was when she started on Channel 4’s T4 that she became a household name. June hosted 2005’s Make Poverty History event and presented at the UK leg of Live Earth in 2007. In 2008 she hosted Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in front of 30,000 people in London’s Hyde Park. June has also interviewed and introduced some of the world’s biggest names including HRH Prince of Wales, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and George Clooney.<br />
She has worked extensively with HRH Prince Charles as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, whilst campaigning for One and Product (RED). June was awarded an MBE in 2007 for her services to broadcasting and charity, making her one of the youngest people ever to receive an MBE. June was awarded an OBE in the 2020 New Years’ Honours List.<br />
June is the co-founder of the WIE Network (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise). June is also an author of two award winning books; Diversify: Six Degrees of Integration and The Power of Women. Diversify was launched across the USA and Canada earlier this year, where June toured over summer 2019.
Monine Griffith, CEO, BeLonG To
Moninne Griffith is a passionate social activist with over 20 years’ experience in the fields of advocacy, law and social justice. Today, she leads BeLonG To Youth Services, Ireland’s national organisation for LGBTI+ young people. As CEO, she is dedicated to supporting and empowering LGBTI+ youth, and achieving a world where they are equal, safe and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences.
After spending 8 years as Director of Marriage Equality, a single-issue organisation working for, and historically achieving, equality for same-sex couples in Ireland, Moninne is acutely aware of the needs and challenges of the LGBTI+ community in Ireland today.
Moninne is a member of the Government’s Taskforce on Youth Mental Health and the oversight committee of the National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy. She was appointed Chair of the Gender Recognition Act Review in 2017. She is a former Chairperson of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.
Moninne worked as a solicitor in general practice for a decade and holds a Bachelor of Civil Law and a MA in Women’s Studies from University College Dublin. She lives in Bray with her partner Clodagh and their daughter Edie.
Suzy Byrne, National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities
Suzy Byrne has been involved in community work and campaigning on disability and equality issues for 30 years. Suzy has contributed extensively in these areas in print and broadcast media and also has blogged and led in social media platforms discussing equality and diversity issues. She is a regional manager for the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities which provides professional representative advocacy for disabled individuals who may need support in decision making.
Suzy is also a Director of Iarnród Éireann as one of the first disabled people to be specifically recruited to a state public transport board. is also a board member of the Irish Council of Civil Liberties and an external advisor for the Rethinking Ireland’s Equality Fund.
17:12 - 17:50
How can we ensure that diversity is reflected in the output directed at “mainstream” audiences and not left as something to be addressed by “niche” channels or podcasts? How can careers in the media be made more accessible for people from diverse backgrounds? How can the future of media deliver on the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ in its content creation and organisational structure?
Panel Chair: Stephen McNamara, Director of Communications, Irish Rugby Football Union
- Tommy Hamzat, Founder of Black Irish Media
- Jacinta Brack, Irish Traveller Movement
- Eugenia Siapera, Professor and Head of the School of Information and Communication Studies, UCD
Stephen McNamara, Panel Chair
Stephen McNamara has been Director of Communications at the Irish Rugby Football Union since 2013, where he has helped transform the organization’s communication across multiple platforms. The IRFU is now one of Ireland’s most respected organisations with digital reach and engagement levels fitting of one of the countries strongest brands. In his previous role with Ryanair, Stephen helped the ambitious airline grow its share of voice in the ultra-competitive aviation market across Europe. With no budget and an insatiable appetite for publicity, Stephen worked with the airline’s charismatic CEO to maximize exposure across media globally. During his time with Ryanair Stephen developed a strong symbiotic relationship with media.
A qualified tax consultant, Stephen’s media career began by penning ‘how to’ responses to financial queries for readers of a Sunday newspaper. An MA in Public Relations from DIT assisted in a successful career change into the world of media and communications.
Tommy Hamzat, Founder of Black Irish Media
Tommy Hamzat is the founder of Black Irish Media, an initiative that campaigns for greater access to media careers for recruits from a wider perspective than the existing narrow focus of the current middle-class grouping. The main aim of his work is to enable people from all walks of life to be able to both enjoy and engage with elements of the media without being constrained by their economic background or their education status.
Jacinta Brack, Irish Traveller Movement
Jacinta Brack leads the Irish Traveller Movement’s Communications, Policy and Political Advocacy programme, working in the organisation from 2010-to date. Specialising in Public Affairs, Social Justice and Equality communications, she is a graduate of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland. Jacinta was Director of the public education programme the Citizen Traveller Campaign 1999-2003, co-authored Travellers’ Last Rights 2007 and was joint coordinator of the National Traveller Survey 2017.
She was Communications and Funding Coordinator of the HIV /AIDS NGO Cairde 1995-1998, and formerly worked in Public Relations and Logistics management in the private sector.
Currently she is also secretariat to the cross-party Traveller Oireachtas Committee, and represents the Irish Traveller Movement on the Access to Justice Initiative and on the Advisory Group on Traveller History and Culture to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
Eugenia Siapera, Professor and Head of the School of Information and Communication Studies, UCD
Eugenia Siapera is Professor and Head of the School of Information and Communication Studies at UCD. She is the director of the UCD Centre for Digital Policy and the editor of Online Information Review (with Kalpana Shankar). Eugenia's research interests are in the area of digital media and communications, race, gender and cultural diversity, journalism and political communications. She has written numerous journal articles and books chapters. Her most recent book is the edited volume on Gender Hate Online (Plagrave, 2019, with Debbie Ging). She is currently conducting research on media memories of past conflict (RePAST, H2020).