Hannah DeMilta recently caught up with Simon Crerar, editor of BuzzFeedOz.
Your most recent role was with News Corp as their visual story editor before becoming the Australian editor of BuzzFeed. What are the important experiences or lessons you brought with you from your most recent role?
This week Community Ambassador Lisa Fox interviews Jenna Price from Destroy the Joint.
For those that are not familiar with Destroy the Joint could you please explain what it is?
Destroy the Joint (DtJ) is an online community which began on Facebook and it aims to bring sexism and misogyny to public attention and then to stop them. Our community uses a variety of tools, from email campaigns, to boycotts, to Facebook posts, to phone calls, to change the way women are treated in Australia.
How did you become involved and what is your role?
I became involved because I clicked on a Facebook invitation! Seriously though, I got involved because it is devastating to think women are still judged on their gender or their appearance – and even worse, treated differently because they are women. Women are paid less in all kinds of jobs, from unskilled to professional; get fewer job opportunities, struggle to get promoted; aren’t on corporate boards; the list is a long one. I’m one of eight admins who organise the page ( along with Sally McManus, Emily Mayo, El Gibbs, Amanda Mack, Jill Tomlinson, Wendy French and Jennie Hill), 40 moderators who keep the conversation civil; and now we are joined by 25000 Destroyers. I love that so much.
You were a journalist for a number of years and are now a journalism lecturer at UTS, how is social media reinventing journalism?
Journalism continues – we just do it differently. It thrills me to read my students liveblogging a courtcase or tweeting an AFL match. I like to think that the speed and sheer inventiveness of social media inspires everyone but I see that some of my journalistic colleagues get a bit anxious about it. The biggest worry I hear is that they will make mistakes. But there have been mistakes in the media for as long as media has existed – the message here is if you are going twice as fast, you need to be twice as careful. That’s the newest skill – the need to be hypervigilant at breakneck speed.
What is your favourite example of innovative journalism?
Good journalism always tells us something new – and the basic skills are the same as they have ever been. Be accurate, be quick, tell the audience something it doesn’t know. I love Media Storm and ProPublica, I love the liveblogs on the Guardian website – but I also really love the way the Destroy the Joint community crowdsources sexism, researches sexism and reports on sexism. It’s advocacy journalism and I think that’s really innovative.
What does 2013 hold for Destroy the Joint? Are there any specific campaigns or events you would like to share?
So much, so many. We are keen to shine a light on how candidates for the Federal election measure up to what Destroyers want – and that would include the position on reproductive rights. We are in talks with Telstra on provisions for victims of domestic violence who seek silent numbers at no cost. Getting rid of the tax on tampons. Closing the pay gap. We could be here all century. And we will be, fighting all the way.
On 26 February 2013, a Telstra spokesman was reported as sayingTelstra is reviewing its policy on charging the monthly $2.90 silent-line fee for customers who were the victims of domestic violence. It will currently waive the fee in some circumstances.
About our Ambassador // Lisa Fox is a recovering a Government Lawyer and the Cofounder and Director of the peer-to-peer rental site, Open Shed. Lisa is passionate about spreading the word about the Australian Collaborative Consumption movement and helping Australians access what they need when they need it! Connect with Lisa via @_lisafox or @openshed.
This interview is brought to you by Doug Millen from our Fetch Community Ambassador team in Sydney.
This week I interviewed the radiant Louise Alley, BBC communications extraordinaire and lover of Sydney’s inner west community. Her time with the BBC had me interested as to how she’s managed to stay there so long – and then she revealed a little about what it’s like on the inside. In the true style of a professional on maternity leave, here are some wise thoughts she shared before she ran off to plan a little one’s birthday party.
Name:Louise Alley Works: Head of Communications, BBC Worldwide Australia
Tell me about the most important thing in your life.
He’s 77cm long, weighs 9.9 kg and is called Benjamin. His Dad’s not too bad either.
Wonderful! Has that always been the case? How have things changed?
Well, it’s not as easy these days to get the backpack on and head off on an adventure – I guess before I had a baby travel was something I prioritised. Career-wise, I realise I spent my twenties worrying too much about climbing the ladder and comparing myself to my peers.
If a graduate asked my advice now I’d tell them not to care that their friends might be managers at 25. Find something you love and offer to make the coffee.
You’ve told me that you started your career at the BBC – how did you find yourself there?
I was 23 and had a temp job in London at BBC Worldwide’s magazines division. I was only supposed to be there for four days, but I heard on the grapevine about a job working for the Director of Communications and got that. I then worked in corporate communications and in publicity for BBC Books. I spent my last three years in London as a press officer in the international TV team, promoting titles like The Office and Absolutely Fabulous to the BBC’s global audiences.
When you were starting out, how did you find your feet?
I had very patient managers! There’s quite a collegiate sense in the company with a good deal of knowledge-sharing. And clearly a good deal of very forgiving people, given how many of them I still work with. London was an incredibly upbeat, optimistic place in the late 1990s (at the risk of sounding about 200). It was also really uplifting to work on programmes and with people I’d grown up watching in New Zealand.
A lot of people shift jobs and even careers every few years, but you’ve stayed with the one organisation for quite some time now. Why is that?
It’s a company that has given me a great breadth of experience across comms, and in two countries. I’ve had roles in corporate and internal communications, public affairs, and brand publicity and my role now incorporates all of those.
Some colleagues have carved out their entire careers from the BBC – it’s a hard place to leave.
In London, in particular, you could easily do twenty different BBC jobs within your career span, but things are currently pretty tough in the UK and more and more of our colleagues are looking longingly towards the Sydney office. We had to hold onto our hats when we advertised my maternity cover!
Your work covers a lot of ground. How do you keep your mind and life organised?
Someone wise once told me that if you turn up to your job every day feeling 100% confident that you can handle it, that there’s nothing you can’t deal with, then you’re probably bored.
I’m reassured by a bit of professional uncertainty sometimes. And, um, yoga.
You’ve worked on some big projects with the BBC. Can you share with me a major lesson you’ve learnt, and how that came about?
In London, it felt really easy to tell territories how to promote ‘our’ brands and titles. Moving to Sydney and working in-market was a huge lesson. I’m better at taking into account the realities of individual markets, as well as the cultural nuances that shape our partners’ audience outreach. But there’s still sometimes a squeeze between company expectation and client priority.
How do you stay connected with what’s going on in your professional world?
Well, the media has always loved reporting on itself so since I’ve been on leave it’s never been hard to find the news. Social media-wise, I think LinkedIn is responding more intuitively with relevant content, but it still seems that most people are using about a tenth of its potential.
I don’t miss spending my evenings on the phone to London, or dealing with emails that start flooding in at 6pm, but luckily my favourite part of my job is something I can still do from the sofa. It’s fantastic just enjoying the telly, and not worrying about ratings. Well, not too much.
What’s your favourite thing about Sydney?
It’s big enough for there to be something for everyone, small enough that you can still run into people.
Unlike a lot of places you have heaps of options once you leave the CBD. There’s so much life in neighbourhoods like Glebe, Potts Point and Leichhardt. I moved to Newtown because it reminded me of Camden in London (fewer junkies though) and I love the mix of high-density with green spaces. And there’s a club at the top of our street doing Star Wars Burlesque at the moment. What’s not to love?
About our Ambassador // This article and photography were contributed by Community Ambassador Doug Millen. You can connect with Doug through his site dougmillen.org or on Twitter @dougsky.
My co-founder Alex and I met while working at Ashoka in Washington DC. Ashoka is the world’s leading organisation support social entrepreneurs. Ashoka’s mission is to create an “Everyone a Changemaker World.” I was the social media director, exploring how social technologies could support help bring about this world. Having founded a couple of non-profits previous and spent a lot of time fundraising I understood that access to seed capital is one of the greatest barriers to new changemakers and innovations. Meanwhile Alex had been traveling in India and had had a realization that social change needed to be a mass movement and that it would take communities working together to bring about a better future. We re-connected and started talking about how we could support emerging social entrepreneurs and changemakers to raise the funds and rally the community they need to make a difference and over many late nights and a lot of coffee StartSomeGood was born.
You prefer to use the term “peer-funding” rather than “crowd-funding” can you explain why?
Crowdfunding as a term derives from crowdsourcing which derives from outsourcing. Crowdsourcing describes a non-collaborative dynamic of competing to win the right to do projects. This is a terrible analogue for any fundraising platform. We prefer to think of this as peer-to-peer fundraising. This isn’t just a matter of preference however but a more accurate way to describe what’s really happening. There just isn’t a big anonymous group of individuals out there just waiting to fund your project. The initial group of supporters for almost any successful project is the personal community cultivated by the founding team. Without their support you are unlikely to make it out to a wider audience. So focus on peers and the crowds will follow.
What are your three top tips for someone thinking about starting a StartSomeGood campaign?
Craft a compelling story about the future you are creating
Design rewards which connect supporters to your project and further your social mission
Work really hard on sharing your story and inviting people to be part of it. Successful fundraising takes work, there’s no way around it.
Are there any exciting plans for the second half of 2012 for StartSomeGood you can share with us?
Our focus right now is on growing and internationalising our community of Changemakers. There’s a lot of amazing and important social initiatives who are not currently supported by the creative crowdfunding platforms or the traditional charity fundraising websites. We are focused on connecting with changemakers and helping them design fundraising campaigns that work. We tripled the number of campaigns on our site in the first half of the year and hope to do that again in the second half. And each successful campaign represents a very real impact in the real world. We think that’s pretty exciting.
Where do you seek inspiration?
My main inspiration comes from the social entrepreneurs using our platform to make the big scary and important leap from idea to action. It takes a lot of guts to put an idea out there and ask for support; to step up and commit yourself to making a difference for your community and to create a better future. It’s an enormous honour to work closely with and support so many inspiring changemakers.
Where do you get your information from?
Where do you get your information from?
Twitter mostly. I find it incredibly useful for keeping track of friends and social entrepreneurs all over the world and connecting with people around shared interests and passions.
What are some upcoming events you would recommend to the Fetch community?
About our Ambassador // Lisa Fox is a recovering a Government Lawyer and the Co Founder and Director of the peer-to-peer rental site, Open Shed. Lisa is passionate about spreading the word about the Australian Collaborative Consumption movement and helping Australians access what they need when they need it! Connect with Lisa via @_lisafox or @openshed.