Women in the media, we’re listening

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Media access to expert female business commentary is now just a click away, thanks to an exciting new initiative from South Melbourne public relations agency, Think HQ.

Providing campaign support to leading rights group, the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia, Think HQ have developed a website that provides journalists with free, timely access to over 100 credible female thought leaders.

Launched in March, Women for Media is an attempt to promote widespread change in the media industry by encouraging local, national and international journalists to explore female opinion on a heightened basis.

The Think HQ campaign strategists. From left, Amelia Salter, Jen Sharpe and Anna Anderson.

By providing a categorical segmentation of Australia’s most senior female business leaders, journalists are able to complete a simple online form to propose interviews and call back requests.

Jen Sharpe, Think HQ’s director, described the initiative as “truly ground-breaking.”

“This is such a unique service. It’s precisely the shake-up the media industry has been calling out for,” she said, adding that although Women for Media remains in its embryonic stage, “the initial response has been staggering.”

Top national news publications, The Australian and Business Review Weekly have already thrown their support behind the concept, taking advantage of the fact that the website is very easy to use.

“Journalists are enjoying the service. Rather than sending dozens of emails, faxes and leaving voicemails, we’re connecting them directly to female talent,” said Ms Sharp, noting that the most impressive part of the service is the three-hour turnaround response time.

Carol Schwartz, the Founding Chair of the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia, described the initiative as a “significant breakthrough” in the pursuit of unbiased news reporting.

“We recognise that journalists need reliable, credible sources who make themselves available for comment at short notice. That’s why we’re making it easier for journalists to contact willing talent directly.”

A loud and vocal campaigner for female rights, Ms Schwartz declares that Women for Media is an important keystone in the pursuit of workplace and social equality.

“We hope by raising the issue of gender bias in news commentary, we can make a difference and see more credible female thought-leadership in the news.

“I feel very strongly that the time is now right, through collaboration and effective partnerships, to source, create and deliver bold initiatives that will result in systematic change in our country.”

The concept comes to fruition in lieu of a recent Media Research Group report that identified a significant lack of commentary in Australian newspapers by women journalists.

The report, which analysed 81 Australian newspapers between 23 and 29 October 2011, identified that female opinion occupied just 20 per cent of total news commentary. Individual newspaper sections highlighted further imbalances, with financial news receiving a mere 10 per cent contribution from female business leaders.

The website, which now boasts access to contact details for more than one hundred female business leaders can be accessed at www.womenformedia.com.au.

Think HQ is a public relations agency that focuses on campaigns targeted at the not-for-profit sector. Their office is located at 9 Yarra Street, South Melbourne.

By Ben Campbell

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