OZ African TV’s Dorcas Utkovic

Dorcas Utkovic
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“As a journalist, producer or anything along those lines, you really have to love it or eventually you just drop off when things get hard. And trust me it does get hard.” OZ African TV’s Dorcas Utkovic speaks to Gemma Rowley.

 

What is the best thing about your job?

Everything! No, but seriously everything because of course it’s my passion project. If I were to pinpoint little things it would just be the opportunity to meet different people with different stories that are being missed in mainstream media. I feel a lot of the time when Africans are in the media it’s when they are on on the news and it’s because something bad has happened or they’re talking about health or immigration. Yes, these things do happen and should be told, but these people are also just every day people apart of our society. We do our grocery shopping, we enjoy shoes, we take part in sports etc, so I love being that voice for all the good that’s out there.

And what is the hardest…?

*Laughs* probably the fact that we don’t get paid yet!

I’m here using my own contacts, my own resources, my phone, my time. It’s all the same stuff as someone working in a well known newsroom, so the hardest thing is not getting paid to do similar if not the same work. I know it will eventually happen, but it’s hard sometimes to stay with it and back yourself. People constantly ask what the pay is like so it’s weird for them to hear I’m not getting paid at all. We do it for the love of what it is. As a journalist, producer or anything along those lines, you really have to love it or eventually you just drop off when things get hard. And trust me it does get hard.

How do you find people to interview and have on your show?

Starting out it’s a bit about outreach, finding suitable people to email and get in contact with. After our pilot episode and use of social media, thank goodness it’s free, people began to get in touch with us as well.

So emails, how many would you send in a week?

Roughly between 5-10. It depends though. We definitely don’t do automated replies or anything! I absolutely HATE those! They’re so impersonal. I like to be quite on top of my game when it comes to emails, but if I’m super busy, I send a quick email briefly addressing the question and say that I’ll reply to them with more information as soon as possible. That’s so much better in my opinion. I think having that human element is important.

What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve heard for when times do get tough in the industry?

I once watched The CEO of Pepsi, Indra Nooyi, talk in a panel and she said something along the lines of ‘When you’re a woman in a leadership position, everyday you have to make a choice about what is going to be first priority that day’. So you may choose that today you’re going to play mum, so everything else that day is going to become second priority. Then the next day you wake up being the boss lady and your husband and kids are going to have to be second priority. It’s not to say you forget about them completely, it might just mean that I come home and dinner is just a frozen meal chucked in the oven, but it just reinstates focus. If you don’t specifically put time aside, you can get lost inside a little bubble. If the people you love can’t access that little bubble, the risk is that you could lose all of that. Balance and time management are very important.

And what about some advice for creating something that may not be typically seen as ‘Australian’ such as OZ African TV in the media?

Sure! I’m not blind to the fact that it was my choice to come here to Australia, I saved up, bought a ticket and made Australia home! So I don’t want people to think my show bashes how current media may portray multiculturalism or anything like that. I also don’t want people to assume it’s just black TV. My husband is Croatian and we have beautiful mixed beige babies and we are starting a mixed couples segment to include all sorts of stories. I really want to avoid being that person that’s like, “Back home we do it like this or that” because if it’s so great then just go back home then right? OZ African TV is simply another source. The sky is big enough for all the birds of the air to fly. There’s room for all of us. It’s just nice to see something that feels like home I guess. No matter who you are, I think you always search for something that speaks true to you.

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