CommsDirect – Full Program


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From crisis management, campaigning and pitching your idea to the changing newsroom and social media, CommsDirect is a prime professional development platform and an opportunity for communication specialists from the corporate sector to the not-for-profit arena to come together and hone their craft with like-minded people.
Engaging discussions and dedicated networking sessions will connect you with leading communicators, media and industry.

Please note: CommsDirect includes a variety of training options on June 19 – click here to find out more.

Click on the sessions below to find out more.

8.00am – 8.30amREGISTRATION & coffee
8.30am – 8.40amWelcome from Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance
8.40 - 9.30amKEYNOTE
Fiona Tigar
, Communications Manager, Australia & NZ, Bayer.
Comms_tiles_350px9.40am – 10.40amContent & multimedia: Owned to earned, outsourced to in-house
How does the in-house newsroom operate – and what place does it occupy in today’s media landscape? How are in-house newsrooms prioritising integrity while creating value for their brand/organisation? Our panel will discuss the rise of terms like native content and content marketing, exploring where the ethical lines are for communicators and journalists.


Moderator: James Kirby, Managing Editor, Eureka Report
Mark Phillips, New Media Editor, ACTU
Matt Pinkney, Head of Content, AFL
Christie Poulos, ‎Head of Video Strategy, King Content
Simon Smith, Director Content Marketing, Fairfax Media
Alex Light, Head of Content, VICE Australia
10.40am – 11.00amCOFFEE BREAK
Comms_tiles_350px211.00am – 12.00pmCampaigning through the media and how it works
Is campaigning through the media effective? What is it like to be at the receiving end of a campaign? What are the short and long term strategies for competing interests?

Moderator: Sophie Black, Editor in Chief, Private Media
Matt Levinson, Communications Director, GetUp
Phil Freeman, National Manager – Communications, WWF
Yaron Finkelstein, Chief Executive Officer, Crosby Textor, (Australasia)
Andrew Hall, Executive GM, Corporate Affairs CBA
Comms_tiles_350px412.00pm – 1.00pmEarned media: Connecting with journalists in a changing newsroom
There’s been a shift in strategy back to storytelling. It’s now all about finding a story angle and then pitching that idea to make it onto the news agenda. How are journalists working now? Hear from senior journalists and editors.

Moderator: Gay Alcorn, Melbourne Editor, Guardian Australia
Andrew Holden, Editor in Chief, The Age
Nathaniel Bane, Head of Digital (News), Herald Sun
Damon Kitney, Victoria business editor, The Australian
Simon Crerar Australia Editor, BuzzFeed
1.00pm – 2.00pmNetworking Lunch
Comms_tiles_350px5 2.00pm - 3.00pm Crisis communications – putting out wildfires
Brand, reputation and crisis management in the digital space and beyond: the latest developments and thinking in crisis communication. What happens when a campaign backfires or a disaster erupts?

Moderator: Michael Rowland, Co-presenter, ABC News Breakfast, ABC
Alex Twomey, Managing Director, Bespoke Approach
Jonathan Rose, ‎Head of Communications, Cricket Australia
Merita Tabain, Director Corporate Communications - Victoria Police Force
Nathan Burman, ‎Head of PR & Communications - Twitter Australia
Brian Walsh Managing Director, Bastion Reputation Management
Comms_tiles_350px3 3.00pm – 4.00pm Social Media: Know your audience, grow your audience
What’s the value in social media for organisations of all sizes, and how can you build it into your strategy? Our panel will discuss building engagement and measuring the effects of your communications in real time. What are the drawbacks and challenges of talking directly with your audience via social media?

Moderator: Andrew Moon, Social Media Producer, ABC
Mandy Griffiths, Social Media Lead, Porter Novelli Melbourne
Amanda Gome, Head of Digital & Social | Group Communications, ANZ
Danielle Clarke, General Manager, Social Media, Telstra
Isabelle Oderberg, Social Media Lead, Red Cross Australia
4.00pm – 4.30pm CLOSING SHOWCASE
How we did it
Presentations on creative campaigns

• Matt Levinson, GetUp & Phil Freeman, WWF - Great Barrier Reef Campaign
• Bonnie Shaw, Foundation for Young Australians – growing audience
• Nathan Burman, Twitter - social media in action
4.30pm Wrap and close conference sessions
4.40-6.30pmNetworking drinks and canapés