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Economic Media Centre

Diversifying the voices shaping our economic narrative

Diversifying the voices shaping our economic narrative

The current economic story in Australia’s mainstream media perpetuates the status quo and entrenches inequality by excluding community voices and alternative...

01/07/2020 > 30/06/2022


  • Civic engagement & leadership
  • Social inclusion & justice


  • General population
  • Professional workforce


The current economic story in Australia’s mainstream media perpetuates the status quo and entrenches inequality by excluding community voices and alternative views. A review of economic media in mid-2020 found no community voice in mainstream publications. Instead, the dominant narrative was that we should cut services to save money and that looking after people is costly and unsustainable. Mainstream media sets the public agenda and in doing so, shapes public policy. However, journalists and producers are more stretched than ever, while social changemakers and people with lived experience of economic injustice are all but locked out of the national conversation.

The Economic Media Centre exists to amplify the voices of lived experience and bright economic thinkers for an inclusive economy. The Centre seeks to challenge and diversify who sets the economic story in Australia through (1) media spokesperson training, (2) mainstream media pitching, and (3) economic narrative development. Since launching in August 2020, the Centre has already trained 40 diverse spokespeople, briefed 250 community advocates on economics 101, and secured media coverage of issues from renters rights to racial justice.

Reimagining an Australia with an inclusive economy

Join us in supporting the Economic Media Centre through the Impact Fund’s Reimagining Australia program. If you have a fund or foundation with us, please contact us to make a grant request. Alternatively, anyone can make a direct donation.


The Economic Media Centre has so far been funded for six months to deliver against its three immediate strategies:

Media spokesperson training: The Centre will build a diverse cohort of spokespeople with backgrounds in grassroots activism and/or lived experience of economic injustice.

Mainstream media pitching: To ensure the community voice is represented in the media, the Centre will monitor daily media themes and reactively pitch to outlets. The Centre will also work proactively with spokespeople to identify gaps in mainstream media coverage.

Economic narrative development: The Centre seeks to shift economic narratives by researching and testing messages that build support for policies that support people, public services and good industries.


Given mainstream media’s role in shaping public discourse, and therefore public policy, more balanced economic journalism in Australia will push decision-makers to prioritise a more inclusive national economy that puts people first over debt minimisation and tax cuts.


With Covid-19 exacerbating existing economic inequalities, and decisions currently being made that will shape Australia’s economic future, there’s never been a more important time to increase the diversity of voices contributing to public discussion on issues of economic justice.


In its first six months, the Economic Media Centre seeks the following outcomes:
• 50 spokespeople trained in media landscapes, practice interviews and message development
• Spokesperson network established for peer support, alongside a network of expert journalists and producers to mentor spokespeople
• 60 media bookings that increase the volume and variety of stories on economic justice with at least 50% of media spots secured being for First Nations spokespeople or people of colour, and at least 55% for women or gender diverse spokespeople
• Spokespeople further supported to shift the economic story through virtual briefings with bold economic thinkers and a Covid-19 economic messaging guide.

To scale the Centre for increased impact, the team will build on learnings from the pilot phase, expand activities and set ambitious new goals, including:
• 200+ spokespeople trained and offered learning opportunities, including an annual alumni learning retreat and quarterly professional development masterclasses
• Expansion of economic messaging research through message testing and focus groups
• Hundreds of mainstream media stories secured through both reactive and proactive pitching in collaboration with spokespeople
• Diversification of the Centre’s income streams to grow revenue from earned media income
• Alliance of founding partners formed to build long-term media and narrative capacity of grassroots movements advocating on issues of economic justice.

Profile of Economic Media Centre

Economic Media Centre

The Economic Media Centre is a new project from Australian Progress and Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), designed to connect journalists with spokespeople for a more inclusive economy. Australian Progress is Australia’s leading organisation strengthening the capacity and voice of civil society, and ACOSS is the peak body for the community services sector in Australia. The Centre is supported by a distinguished advisory board of journalists, media professionals, philanthropists and bold economic thinkers.


TOTAL BUDGET: $905,000
Funding sourceAmount
Funding requested through Impact Fund$150,000
Confirmed philanthropy (Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation and McKinnon Family Foundation)$80,000
Additional philanthropy$495,000
Earned media income$110,000
Partner organisations$70,000
Expense itemAmount
Staffing (FY21–23)$618,000
Project costs – media monitoring, training, evaluation (FY21-23)$162,000
Project management and operations (FY21-23)$125,000

Support Diversifying the voices shaping our economic narrative

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As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.