Women making a difference in the modern media landscape

Friday, 19 February 2016

Vanessa Desloires

This article is part of a series celebrating International Women’s Day and the difference that women make. As part of this celebration, ACU will be hosting five free events across our campuses on 8 March.

The media industry has traditionally been viewed as old boy’s club. However, the industry is undergoing change. Meet three women – all ACU alumni – who have excelled in the industry and are helping to challenge the traditional media landscape.

Sarah Leach, freelance sports journalist/producer

You’ll see her at Bondi talking to the life savers about a big surf rescue. You might catch her courtside at the Kings’ basketball grand final or reporting live from the opening of the Women’s Big Bash League.

Since graduating from ACU with a Bachelor of Health Science in Human Movement, Sarah Leach has gone from court to court, bringing sports news to Australia. She has worked with media outlets such as ESPN Australia, Fairfax, Nine Network, has written front page stories for the Sun Herald, and is now a field producer for Bondi Rescue and a freelance sport journalist for Australian Associated Press, Perform Media and ABC News24.

While sport may be traditionally considered the domain of male journalists, the former professional netball player says that never got in her way.

“I’ve never really thought twice about it... if you can prove you are delivering, that speaks for itself.”

And thanks to reporters like Sarah, the culture of sports and sports journalism is changing.

Now it is Sarah who you will see interviewing Usman Khawaja on his Australia ODI selection, speaking to lifeguards or the Australian Wallabies ahead of the Rugby World Cup, and bringing you updates from the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

Sarah admits it is still a hard industry to get into – regardless of gender – but believes that should not stop any young woman from pursuing a career in media.

“Go for it... you need to learn all the skills and become really good at it. But if you get the opportunity then go for it.”

Vanessa Desloires, Fairfax Markets Reporter

Her stories are printed on the front page of the Australian Financial Review. They are read by over a million people and influence some of the country’s most important business leaders, policy makers and investors.

As a markets reporter for Fairfax, Vanessa Desloires, an ACU Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Business graduate, is helping to shape the country’s understanding of national and international business news. It is work she deeply believes in.

Vanessa explains, “I thought to myself if I really want to work, I want to make it count, I want to make it matter.”

For her, the biggest reward as a markets reporter is in educating the public about the complexities of the market as they develop.

“I really enjoy working in markets... Being able to bring what’s happening in the share market to readers as it is happening is a highlight for me in terms of what I’ve achieved so far.”

While Vanessa agrees women are underrepresented in business boardrooms, she has not encountered any gender bias.

“When I speak to people in the industry there’s no differentiation between how I’m treated or related to.”

“I’ve been the beneficiary of coming into journalism where yes, there’s a lot of change going on, but there’s a lot of women at the forefront of it.”

Gilli Aliotti aka Gilli Moon, Warrior Girl Music

When she’s not touring with Monty Python’s Eric Idle, she’s recording her latest album or giving a motivational speech.

Since graduating from ACU with a Bachelor of Education in Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Education, Consumer and Legal Studies, Gilli Moon has thrown herself into the performance industry – as a musician, artist and facilitator.

Gilli started her record label Warrior Girl Music, co-founded Songsalive!, a not-for-profit that connects songwriter across the world, and helped launch Los Angeles Women’s Music Festival, an event that drew over 3,000 people.

For Gilli though, the biggest difference she has made to the industry has been to help other musicians, especially female performers, achieve the recognition they deserve.

“I like to think I support the ‘underdog’, the independent artist that doesn’t get much support, financing or recognition... I believe I’m providing opportunities, support and recognition for these artists.”

Celebrations for International Women’s Day are gearing up across ACU on a national scale with major events planned for 8 March in Ballarat, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. This is a great opportunity for ACU alumni to reconnect and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Register for these events