Case study: Meet Diversity Hero Karen Poh

Cultural diversity advocate and author at Meld Magazine.

Karen Poh

At the time of winning a 2015 Multicultural Award for Excellence you said you wanted to see even greater cultural diversity in the stories you publish in Meld Magazine and also in the students that volunteer there, has this happened?

We’re certainly trying! Much of it has been about attracting students from different cultural backgrounds to get involved and enabling them to use that to shape the stories they write.

Another ongoing aim of Meld was to improve student integration as well as providing support to young people in their personal and professional development – how is this going?

It remains front and centre of what we do – we’re very pleased to see that our newsroom collaboration with Trinity College Foundation Studies has been going from strength to strength, where we bring the newsroom into the classroom of media and communications students at the college, many of whom have never published a story in their life. They get to do so through us, and their excitement is not only palpable, but also reminds us of what it was like when we got our start in the industry.

Last year you were rightly proud of the way Meld sensitively covered the realities and reflections of being a Muslim student in Australia – have there been any developments in this story at Meld?

Not particularly – we’ve sought to feature a diversity of perspectives and student experiences, and since then, we’ve published a piece about a student’s extraordinary story of breaking down the cultural divide.

What stories or issues have you been most proud of covering in Meld in the past five months and why?

I’m passionate about providing students a voice, and in addition to the story mentioned earlier, I thought this piece about what Western and Eastern education can learn from each other was balanced and nuanced, and provides terrific insights into the international student experience.

Meld was also working with the Victorian Government, gathering students and alumni and to establish what their views were on the future of the international education sector – is this collaboration still ongoing? Are there any updates you can share with us?

That project has concluded, and the input we gathered from our student engagement efforts have fed into the Victorian Government’s new strategy for the international education sector.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Meld, yourself personally or about winning a Multicultural Award for Excellence?

Technology has radically transformed the way we live and work, and it has huge implications for young people entering the workforce. We are focusing our efforts on exploring how we can better back young people to prepare them for the new reality, but also to help them see that they can have a hand in shaping the media industry.