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Changing The Ratio: NITV’s Anna Dancey On Growing Australia’s Indigenous Media Sector

Changing The Ratio: NITV’s Anna Dancey On Growing Australia’s Indigenous Media Sector

As our Changing The Ratio breakfast events beginB&T is excited to be sharing conversations with some of the changemakers in our industry.

Anna Dancey is a proud Gamilaroi woman and NITV’s National Sales Manager. She chatted to B&T about NITV’s future, the role media agencies can play in supporting Indigenous Australian talent, and the importance of SBS’s Beyond 3% campaign.

B&T: Our theme for this year’s Changing The Ratio is ‘Belonging: it starts with you.’ What do you think authentic belonging looks like?

AD: Great theme! I really think it starts with the recognition that we’re incredibly diverse in Australia. We have to go back to inclusion before belonging can happen. Inclusion is everyone having a seat at the table, but belonging means ensuring that we’re able to equally participate and contribute.

That really means that we need to ensure that there are no barriers to inclusion in workplaces, but also importantly through the work that we do.

There’s real power in connecting authentically with audiences, and what we’re seeing is increasingly more advertising and marketing with this in mind.

NITV plays a crucial cultural role in Australia’s media landscape – how are you looking to expand its presence?

We’re the home of the world’s oldest continuous culture and the world’s oldest storytellers, so absolutely it’s a really crucial role.

NITV focuses on sharing First Nations history and cultures to all Australians while providing a really vital voice that supports greater equity in our society. So really, I want the industry to know more about what we do, and how incredible it is. A lot of it is education, and talking to a very specific cohort, but I think the flow-on effect from that is incredibly powerful.

What I also want to highlight is the impact of investment into Indigenous media services like NITV, and what a real difference it can make. There’s a lot of work to do with driving engagement within media agencies and with brands because that’s really going to be the catalyst to our growth.

How often do we get to say that we are part of something that creates economic opportunity for our Indigenous community?

That’s really what this support means because those dollars [go to us] – which is really what Beyond 3% is about.

It is acknowledging investment, which means that we can create more content, we can grow teams, we can tell better stories, that we can expand our storytelling, and that has a ripple effect on communities. Then outside of it, we who are in the industry see ourselves and see that support from brands, which I think is extremely powerful.

How are the values of diversity and inclusion reflected specifically in your work as Sales Manager?

My job isn’t just to sell advertising at NITV. Really, one of my main passions and focus areas is to increase awareness of the channel and the culture, and actually why it’s so important.

I’m so proud and excited to be in a role that has a direct impact on NITV’s ability to do more. Like I said [we want] more content, more investment in the Indigenous media sector, and continuing to grow those stories and make sure that we have a really strong platform.

It’s incredible because when I speak to the production team and Tanya [Denning-Orman], who’s the director of Indigenous content, really understanding what that investment enables us to do is so exciting!

It just helps. We’re able to tell our stories in a place that we feel really proud to be a part of. I just think: what a wonderful thing to add, to the country and to the conversation.

What are some of the obstacles preventing diversity and representation in the industry, and do you have ideas of how to overcome those obstacles?

I think there’s a really strong intent and desire to be inclusive, and that’s a really great start. Even being able to have those conversations would be a much harder battle to deal with, and I think there is a lot of really great intent there.

So the next step is really about learning more and taking the time to increase people’s awareness of what diversity is and what it means. There are so many different cultures and perspectives that make up this really really diverse country.

Going back to Beyond 3%, it’s more than just increasing ad spend, it’s actually making a commitment to learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and exploring the ways that individuals or organisations themselves can be more inclusive.

That could be through Indigenous employment, using First Nations creators in organisations…at the SBS, we’ve got great cultural awareness training and everything that comes with that, so understanding protocols and guidance for engaging with and portraying Indigenous Australians as well, through the work that they are potentially going to do.

And look, this won’t happen overnight! I think we all know that. But myself, the team – the whole purpose of Beyond 3% is wanting to really support and work with this sector to create a long-term shift.

It can be daunting to think of. Perhaps there is that intent, but it’s like, “how do I do it? how can I execute? what can I do?”. That’s really what this campaign and initiative are about: helping bridge that gap and guide people on this journey.

In what ways can the media industry in general become more welcoming to and supportive of Indigenous Australians?

There are a lot of great resources out there. Learn more, be more engaged with platforms like ourselves. On the site Beyond 3% there is a great list of alternative platforms. I would say from myself, something I’m trying to be more aware of is getting out of my own echo chamber.

I follow people with quite different views to mine on my social media. I try and do that on LinkedIn, I try to subscribe to or consume content outside of the mainstream. I think that is really helpful on an individual basis, trying to find those stories and find information outside of where you would normally be getting it from.

Where do you see the future of NITV? 

I’m just really excited to be able to represent NITV, and that they’ve really set me up for success. There’s an amazing, supportive team at SBS that really wants NITV and the Beyond 3% campaign to succeed.

I think certainly we’re in a period where Black Lives Matter happened in America, and suddenly there was an appetite to learn more about what was going on in Australia. A lot of people did come to NITV for that, and I think that is incredibly heartening on our way to reconciliation.

My vision for NITV is actually so much bigger than TV and digital. I think it can really be a brand that champions the culture – it already does, but I think it can be so much bigger than what it already is.

This campaign is aimed at the media sector, but my hope is that other industries see the work we’re doing and ask what they can be doing for minority groups. It might not even just be Indigenous communities, but to think about how they can diversify, and what value diverse groups can bring to whatever they’re doing.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

You can get tickets to our first Changing the Ratio breakfast on Thursday 13th May now

Thank you to our incredible Changing the Ratio sponsors!


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