Welcome back

So my first semester of my Journalism course is over, done and dusted! So far so good with my results too! Sitting on a distinction in my Journalism class and my Sound and Media class! Only need my photography results now!

I’ve decided that because I got a pretty good mark on this blog (90%) I’m going to keep it running. Hopefully I can start writing some things people are interested in and pick up some followers and start gaining some relevant experience.

I’ve done a few things over the past couple of days that I will probably write about- including the Townsville “In Hearts Wake” show and a trip to Magnetic Island for the first time. 

Bye for now!

Holidays? Woo!

Here we are, it’s the end of semester 1 and I’m stuck questioning if journalism is the path for me. I’m lazy, uninspired and journalism is a competitive field in which I have very little to offer. So I’m stuck, scrambling for alternative careers short of managing some retail store for the rest of my life.

Anyone reading this may think that those obstacles are nothing, they’re tiny hurdles and all I have to do is push myself that extra bit, but to me they are mountains. My anxiety is so crippling that the things I used to believe I was good at now seem as hard as learning another language would be.

Not to mention that for some stupid reason, I refuse to resign myself to writing the same typical bullshit that you see every day in the news. I want to be exciting and do exciting things, I want to travel and take photos and make documentaries and not be stuck working for some newspaper or channel in Australia.

I’ve also been considering “science journalism,” learning how to convert scientific reports into articles suitable for the general public to read. It seems interesting enough and different enough to appease my mind.

I’m just conflicted as to what I want. I’m 20 now, and I need to get my life in order, but I’m more confused than ever. Perhaps next semester will help me decide where I really want to go with journalism. My writing and my photography are much too lacking for what I really want to do. But given time perhaps I will become more confident in my abilities and journalism as a career choice.

For now, I’m questioning journalism as the right path for me. 

ONLINE & PRINT REPORTING

Sometimes I question whether journalism is the right choice for me. I’m not very good at keeping to rigid structures unless it’s for an essay. I have my own writing style and the format required for journalism may make me feel restricted and lacking in originality. But, practice makes perfect right?

Image retrieved from- http://blogs.agu.org/sciencecommunication/files/2011/03/Inverted_pyramid.jpg

The different ways stories can be presented for impact is quite intriguing. How does a story hold the most impact to the necessary audiences? How does an individual write a story that is appealing and straight to the point? The inverted pyramid is a simple way of remembering the layout of an article, the most important information first and then extra information after.

The words “a journalist is never off duty” has been sticking with me since they were first mentioned. How does one determine which events are newsworthy, I know it is a combination of things that have been discussed throughout this semester and most importantly the news values present. But how do you decide which lead and angle is the best, and which audience you want to present it to? The rest of writing an article seems pretty straightforward- keep it neutral and unbiased, no comments or opinions, source information appropriately and you have yourself a seemingly credible article. But it is the beginning of writing the article that stumps me.

This lecture covered so many basic points and fundamentals of journalism that seem vital to keep in mind when attempting to build a portfolio, such as basic writing techniques and journalistic terms when it comes to interviewing potential sources.

The internet offers a way to broaden the journalistic field and journalists are now expected to be experienced with multi-media platforms, and the way to write stories online varies from print stories. Online journalism is important as young people rely on the internet for social interaction outside of school and the workplace. I know personally, I receive most of my news online and I won’t bother with an article if I am not drawn to the title. 

INVESITAGTIVE JOURNALISM

The idea of investigative journalism sparks an image of spies and undercover operations into my mind. The types of things that may have drawn me to being an investigative journalist as a child. The reality of it, whilst still important, is rather bland in comparison to the imagination of 5 year old me. Now when I think of investigative journalism I think of political scandals and stealing money. Not as many car chases and definitely less threats. 

Reading the lecture notes on investigative journalism, I can’t help but liken in to the role the female protagonist in Zoolander plays. A journalist attempting to follow up on a tip and write an important and relevant investigative piece that highlights corruption and scandal. Zoolander also features the things I imagined when I was younger, but hey, anything to make a future career seem amazing.


I do like the idea of working on large projects with a group of people- the kind that inv. Journalism calls for- I feel as though it is something I would enjoy more than writing short articles with no real substance. I know that to write a decent piece of investigative work it needs to have public interest, and I know that the piece needs to be well thought out and provide the public with information that serves them some purpose. But I do feel like the only topics worth investigating are usually political stories- whether it be about corruption or money scandals.


I think the values of investigative journalism are worth noting and important to remember if ever deciding to partake in the investigative process: you are helping people make informed and good decisions, you identify threats to communities and people, and you reveal the truth to those who would otherwise be in the dark. One day when I am more motivated and interested in the stories I am writing I will partake in at least one investigative piece. For now, I am too lacking in those qualities to even consider such a path.
Perhaps I should pretend I am a child again, and investigative journalism is more akin to the work of spies. I’ve been watching Burn Notice lately, I could pick up a few things.

POLITICAL ECONOMY

Political economy is like a strict parent who doesn’t want you to watch the Simpson’s in case you pick up bad habits. In the media this censorship determines how information is provided to the audience. You may want to watch a program about the new-found conflict in Thailand, but that’s not what your cranky mum (a.k.a big business’s) are going to make money off, so forget it. Those big corporations, they run the show and I can’t stand it.

Image retrieved from-http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130519234549/simpsons/images/5/51/The_Simpsons_Movie_90.JPG

The dominance of financial propaganda leaves a bitter outlook on mass media and is a conflicting factor when I consider journalism as my future career. The idea of “selling out” my beliefs to appease to a higher body or currency has forever been the key factor in any distaste I have of journalism. I don’t want to pretend that the biggest issues are the ones I’m being told to write about.

Image retrieved from- http://pongrealize.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/media-spoonfeeding-cartoon.jpg?w=749

The high concentration of ownership in media allow a few individuals to control what the general public hear and see. My number one priority should not be worrying that I’m spitting out enough propaganda to keep the advertiser’s happy.

I just want to know what is happening in the world. I want to relay that information to people who need and deserve to know. I want to tell the truth in an industry where the truth should be the number one priority.

The quote, “I propose a new definition of quality journalism. Quality journalism is useful journalism. Not only narrowly useful – whether like trains will be running or the time of the local fete, although that kind of journalism will always have an important place – but useful to people in being engaged, knowledgeable, connected and powerful citizens. Much of what we now call quality journalism fails this test,” is a good example of the way political economy effects standard journalism  

It’s the end of semester one and I am really beginning to consider where I want journalism to take me and what path I want to leave. I know that I need to begin putting together a portfolio now, but I need to decide what medium I would like to present to and which audience I can best appeal to whilst keeping my personal morals and ideals intact.

Battle of the Ethics

Discussions about ethics are rather intriguing and can challenge the personal beliefs of individuals. The question that is raised most often is, how does someone know if they are acting in an ethically correct manner? Ethics are a matter of personal opinion. Sure there are widely socially acceptable ethics, but when does the line blur?

Discussing ethics in journalism is a very conflicting topic. As a journalist you are more than likely going to be in completely unfamiliar situations and as someone who would like to be a photojournalist and travel the world, being in unfamiliar situations will occur more often than not.

But when do I draw the line and stop doing my job to be human and help people in need? As a journalist I will be expected to document various events and occurrences. But if I can help someone in need and miss out on an opportune moment, should I?

The ethical conduct really ties in with my desire to do war coverage. If I see injured children will I really be able to put up an emotional blockade and continue to do my job? Or will I help?

The class discussion we had about Carter’s iconic vulture photo is really quite interesting. Discussing ethics with peers is a good way to gain an insight into your classmates thought processes and personal ethics. I think I came across as really harsh and unsympathetic in our class discussion because I feel as though Carter’s photo justified the means. He was there to do a job, and that photo caused enough outrage to draw attention to what was happening. Although, I must note that I do not feel like he did the right thing if he did not offer any help to the child whatsoever.

In reality I have very strong opinions but I am a sook. But ethics are such a touchy subject and opinions may vary so widely depending on someone’s age, background or personal experience.

But as I wish to become a photojournalist I have to try and be objective about Carter’s photo. I believe that the photo really demonstrates the severity of poverty in third world countries even if it does not convey the magnitude of the situation. The method may have been poorly executed, but the photo really invokes emotions in me and I believe that is the job of a photojournalist. They portray strong emotions in their photos.

War and Trauma Journalism.

This week’s lecture discussed war, famine and disaster journalism and what entails covering stories during these events.
I am highly interested in covering war and disaster. After learning about what entails war journalism I feel as though it is something I can do. Even if I only do it once. I would like to do war coverage because I believe that it is important to portray the stories of not just the political parties involved, but of what the citizens feel about the conflict and how war has affected them.  
My biggest worry is that I cannot build the emotional blockades that our lecturer told us were important when undertaking this type of journalism. However, I also believe that emotional attachment to the victims of war or disaster is not always a bad thing. I believe compassion may be a good trait to help you relate to the people you will be talking to and taking photos of.

The technicalities of war coverage and the entitlements of the journalist are also such a significant thing to consider when deciding whether you would like to go ahead with traveling to dangerous environments. The discussion in our lecture about the journalist’s rights when dealing with being offered these types of jobs is something that has me quite curious about other journalist’s experiences and the type of hardships that they encountered whilst overseas.

I keep asking myself harsh questions. Will certain countries have problems with female journalists? Will I have the emotional stability to pursue this career? How often are the rights of the journalist upheld? What sort of trouble might I face? Will I be ready for it?

I have experienced my own trauma on a different scale to what other people suffer on a daily basis, I need perspective.

This blog post sums up my feelings on war coverage better than I could hope to say:

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2012/06/19/my-thoughts-on-war-photography-by-charlie-atkinson/

Ink Again.

A recent opinion piece ran in the “Kochie’s Angels” segment on Sunrise has many women in an uproar.

During the segment quotes such as these,

"Any tattoo you will get you will regret in time to come…"
"We make negative assumptions about women with tattoos…"
"I do not find it attractive and I do not think men find it attractive. They (tattoos) make a negative statement…"

Have offended many tattooed females in Australia.

A Facebook friend recently posted a status stating that there was no problem with the segment and that everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is true, however I do see a massive problem with the comments made during the segment. 

"Any tattoo you will regret in time to come"
I think this statement implies that females are not competent decision makers. This segment is ran about females that get tattooed. Not men. Why is it that females will regret their tattoos? Is it because “Kochie’s Angels” feel as though by having tattoos we will regret not living up to the “traditional” beauty standard? 

We make negative assumptions about women with tattoos”
This statement is another example of the ridiculous double standards placed on women. Do we not make negative connotations about men with tattoos? In fact, on the Gold Coast there is a strict “no tattoos” policy in clubs to help prevent bikie gang violence. I have rather large tattoos visible on my thighs and I was not denied entry into any clubs on the Gold Coast, however I have male friends that have been denied entry. This comment made on national television helps perpetuate these negative assumptions about females with tattoos and is detrimental to the mind-set of women everywhere. 

"I do not find it attractive…"
These women with tattoos you are discussing did not get their ink in the hope of aesthetically pleasing you. Nor do they care if you find it attractive or not, I know I don’t. We do not have to live up to your unrealistic beauty standards.

"I do not think men find them attractive…"
This statement was probably my least favourite of them all whilst watching the segment.  WOMEN DO NOT HAVE TO ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH MAKING MEN HAPPY. I also do not believe you have any authority to speak for all men. 
There a plenty of examples to disprove that men don’t find tattoos attractive. For example the Suicide Girls official website has over 6 million fans. Not to mention the countless tattoo magazines appreciating all types of people and tattoos. 
This type of bigoted and ignorant statement should not have been allowed to air. 
Women should be taught that they do not need a man’s approval. Tattoos do not change a person’s personality, they are merely decoration. 

A link to a Sunshine Coast Daily story written on the issue- http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/girls-with-tatts-unattractive-ink-again/2250785/

A link to the Sunrise Facebook status and discussion on the issue- https://www.facebook.com/Sunrise/photos/a.107123005886.105919.22265760886/10152005423470887/?type=1

These are my tattoos. I am proud of them. I love them and I certainly do not think they are unattractive. I also most certainly will be getting more.

Social Justice- The New Frontier.

Recently social justice took an all new leap on the Black Milk Facebook page after a meme was thrown out of context by many people “offended” by a harmless joke. BuzzFeed consequently decided to release an article addressing the mishaps on the facebook page.

As an avid user of social media it is becoming more and more difficult to freely express yourself without fear of offending one social group or another.

This image was posted on Sunday the 4th of May as a light-hearted joke to celebrate “Star Wars Day” by a Black Milk team member. Shortly after the post was swarmed by a myriad of females claiming that the meme was inappropriate and offensive to women as Mayim Bialik is an intelligent and attractive woman.

In later comments featured on the post “Lo” proceeded to explain that her intention was not to upset anyone and she was merely joking about herself.
The BuzzFeed article pointed out that despite Lo claiming to be poking fun at herself the meme did not feature a photo of herself. This is correct, however, what it did contain was a photo of a fictional character portrayed by the writers of the show as nerdy and unsexy. This is what I first believe makes all the negative attention the meme received misplaced and the comments merely seeking attention and a response.

The second point I believe is important is to consider the representation of this particular meme. I find this meme equivalent to me setting out with a particular drawing in mind but not achieving what I had aspired too. Despite the implications that Amy is less attractive, there was no intention to depict her as ugly or undesirable.  It merely implied that the end product was not what was desired. Not to mention the fact that it is not Mayim Bialik shown in the image, merely a character she plays on a T.V show (yes, I will reiterate this point).

In a recent post written by the owner and founder of Black Milk, Cam makes a sincere apology to those offended by the meme and the following comments and bans from people on the facebook page. However there are still a large amount of females protesting that the people that aren’t offended by this meme have clearly never had self-worth issues before and that is completely detrimental to the mental health of women everywhere.

Last time I checked I was a female. I also have had plenty of issues with my body (small boobs and butt, terrible posture, bad teeth etc.) I however, did not find the post offensive nor did it trigger any ill feelings towards myself.

Is social justice really about standing up for the “minority” or is it believing you have a voice for every single one of them?

Those same girls preaching that BM owed their customers an apology were very quick to start attacking the girls on the social media management team in comments about how they were attempting to deal with a very out of proportion situation. Even as team members of a popular business they are still human and like every single one of us they make mistakes.

“Social justice warriors” are rife on social media. There are those who make points to make a stand about things that are really important. But those numbers seem outweighed by the people that only take into consideration how they feel about a particular situation. In fact, yes I am worried by posting this that I will be attacked because I’m just a white, cis female who has obviously never felt discriminated against or suffered.

Perhaps the social justice warriors should take a step back and evaluate who the real “enemies” are and take a stand where it matters and counts.

Depression and Suicide.

`Sunday marked the four year anniversary for the death of my sister. As a victim of bullying my sister gave up her own life and recently bullying has been making headlines.

Suicide is a taboo topic in most conversations however teens these days are finding it socially acceptable to tell others to kill themselves as a way of bullying and throwing it into every day conversation.

Recently on Facebook I saw a rather confronting status, a young girl was talking about someone else being unable to sing and ended her status telling the girl to “kys” the abbreviation for “kill yourself”.

From 2001 til 2010 there was 22, 526 deaths caused by suicide in Australia and is a large cause of death for men and women aged between 15-24 years old.  (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Bullying may have links to many of these deaths.

The recent death of Charlotte Dawson threw depression into the headlight and significantly raised awareness of suicide, however, the lack of involvement by government bodies prior to the death of Charlotte Dawson is rather disheartening to those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

It is perhaps even more disheartening to the families when the wider public petitions to start tough anti-cyber bullying legislation despite the multitudes of children that had previously suffered at the hands of online bullying. 

There are many organisations designed with the aim of eradicating bullying in schools and others designed to help children suffering from depression. Groups such as Stand for the Silent advocate being kind and compassionate to others and TWLOHA aims to foreground the significance of depression.

It is very hard to know what to do in a situation where someone you know me be contemplating suicide or hurting themselves. It is important young people know what to do and who to turn to. If you know anyone that needs help it is best to direct them to many of the organisations and help lines that are trained to deal with depression.

If you fear for someone’s safety please call the police, they will help as best they can.

Kids Helpline- 1800 55 1800

Lifeline- 13 11 14