We all have it in our pockets, but did you know your phone is the ultimate tool for telling stories?
Ross Turner

4 Nov 2015 - 2:28 PM  UPDATED 4 Nov 2015 - 2:30 PM

Mobile phones put storytelling at our fingertips every moment of the day, said Zoe Betar, a proud Bundjalung woman from Tweed Heads and Ocean Shores.

She was speaking on an NITV Awaken panel about small media groups sharing big stories, despite their small sharehold in the sphere media of influence.

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"We are our own journalists, we are telling the stories the way that they happen," she said. "Rather than having that agenda, or having that bias, the agenda is telling the story."

Ms Betar, who works as a digital designer for the National Indigenous Excellence (IDX) Initiative run by the NCIE, believes the role of social media and the citizen journalist is to hold people accountable, whether they are a from mainstream media organisation or the federal government.

"We are our own journalists, we are telling the stories the way that they happen"

She also sees them as a way to help stamp out racism.

Referring to recent racist slurs against AFL star Adam Goodes, Ms Betar said "Because [Adam] stood up to racist taunt...it got support throughout the community, within social media, within mainstream media, for him standing up for racism being wrong."

Combatting online racism and helping to keep people better informed through community is definitely encouraging people to step up, because racism is not ok, the digital designer added.

Doctor Paula Abood, a writer and educator, encouraged people to remember the boundaries of ethical practice, especially when telling stories of minorities, such as asylum seekers.

She drew attention to media's human story form. First, a refugee can be deported or defamed, if their stories are told, Dr Abood said.

Further, using storytelling to humanise a source implies they were lacking humanity prior. "Storytelling for me is about what stories a community wants to tell themselves, not what people want to hear," she said.

"Storytelling for me is about what stories a community wants to tell themselves"

But Welfare Rights Centre media officer Gerard Thomas, a man who routinely hears the stories of society’s minority groups, believes it can be difficult for communities to open up.

"People feel uncomfortable letting their neighbours know that they are receiving centrelink social welfare payments. Ego isn’t a dirty word, but social welfare is."

This episode of AWAKEN is hosted by Catherine Liddle on the grounds of the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and features Zoe Betar, Doctor Paula Abood, Rick Morton and Gerard Thomas.

Watch the full episode