Writer recalls racism in SBS workplace

Mystery Road screenwriter Kodie Bedford has recalled issues of racism when she worked at SBS in 2008 as a cadet journalist.

On social media she described a workplace culture that maligned Indigenous journalists at the multicultural broadcaster.

Further posts said:

I won out a journalist cadetship for SBS. I only mention SBS because it’s touted as a champion of diverse voices. It wasn’t a champion for me. I still believe in SBS’ charter & mission, and personally think they have the best content in Oz. A lot of good people in the newsroom

I started out as a pretty solid journalist. I could string a story together pretty quickly. Sure I was always introduced as “the Indigenous cadet journalist” while the others were just “the cadet journalists” but this was my dream job. I’ll put up with the othering.

But by the end of 2 yrs: my writing was worse, my self-esteem destroyed, I had suicidal thoughts. The stress on my body meant I developed eczema, I lost my period for 4 months, I stopped eating; a piece of toast filled me for the day because of anxiety. THIS IS WHAT RACISM DOES.

Bedford notes the issue was largely confined to one person. She indicates she is not bitter towards SBS but claims “the system is still broken.”

“I’m told that me writing that status is now an example in their induction program of what not to do. Least I have some legacy,” she adds.

She has previously documented difficulties, telling MediaRing in 2016

“I didn’t realise the difficulties that would present themselves because I was a journalist who was Aboriginal. I had more of a responsibility than non-Indigenous journalists because of the relationships I would build with mob. But I wasn’t quite seen as an equal in the industry, dismissed as just an “Aboriginal journalist” who wasn’t able move out of Indigenous affairs and tell mainstream stories. It was beyond frustrating and sometimes humiliating to see your non-Indigenous peers given more responsibility and ability to add to their skill set.

“My career in the media took a different turn when I left SBS to join ABC’s documentary series Message Stick.”

An SBS spokesperson told The Australian, “We were deeply saddened to read Kodie’s account of her experiences at SBS in 2008.

“Racism is abhorrent and we are committed to ensuring it has no place in SBS.”

Bedford has also written for Squinters, Robbie Hood, Grace Beside Me and the upcoming Blood Sisters.

You can read more here.

2 Comments:

  1. It is sad that she had to wait 12 years to feel she could share this, but I am glad she now feels confident to tell Her story. Hopefully her career continues upwards and onwards

  2. It seems that there has been discrimination also in the organisations that are outwardly inclusive and diverse. A former Triple J presenter that has appeared as a guest or panellist on at least a couple of television shows had also called out racism during her time at Triple J.

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