Why we need voices.

A thousand years from now, you wish you had done it.

A hundred years from now, you wish you had said it.

Ten years from now, you will tear yourself up over why you never had the courage.

One year from now, it will keep you up at night.

Today, you are questioning why it should ever happen and how someone else will do it or has done it already.

Stop that thought immediately.

I often am questioned as to why I continue to pursue a career path that is incredibly competitive and also diminishing in desirability. With funding and job cuts occurring quite regularly in one (Journalism) and the other being a battlefield with a free-for-all tournament commencing every day, with each combatant wishing to beat the others, and be the loudest voice heard (Writing).

However rather than let myself become disheartened, I approach the question differently. I flip the question to the person asking and pose the question, “If you could change the world forever with your actions, even though there were many trying to pull you back, would you?”

By placing the question in this manner, it allows the individual to understand that their actions can and do hold value. There may be others wishing to stop you from achieving your desired conclusion, but if you were able to make a change, you would, and we both know it.

We need to get out of the thought pattern of believing that others will achieve what we are too lazy or nervous to do because odds are, they are thinking the exact same way. Every day is a new chance to get closer to the goal that we want and envision for ourselves.

If we can acknowledge that our actions are powerful and we must use them in accordance to becoming closer to our vision, hopefully, we can break this negative aura that plagues our mind. The thought of- “It doesn’t matter, someone else will do it.”

If I have not given up, so shouldn’t you. Every step is a place closer to the world in which you wish to live within.

Make sure it happens.

 

Winters Breath – Part 3

My stomach dropped at the question, and an instant feeling of nausea filled my body. I had only a few moments to answer before they realised something was not right.

“Thomas, how did she die? Where’s her brother?”

I took a deep breath and proceeded to lie through my teeth.

“We were attacked by hunters along a wooded path a few hours from town. We tried to hold our own, but with only one gun, we were soon outnumbered.”

I faked a few tears just to be sure it was believable.

“Drew got impaled by a spear and soon after, out of anger or sadness or maybe both, Martha sacrificed herself and told me to run to tell the tale. They were both heroes, especially Martha.”

Sweat ran down the back of my neck, a warm entity opposing the cold outside. The wind outside rattled against the walls of the building, shrieking at the inhabitants inside, myself included. The fire inside continued to burn, using the pages of books and rubbish as kindle.

“We will remember them and their stories. Do not forget Thomas, you were meant to survive. Their sacrifice will not be in vain.”

He continued,” But I have a question for you. Did you shake the hunters off your trail on the way here?”

“No.”

“And why not?”

“I don’t know. I was scared.”

I fidgeted, playing with my clothes. Perhaps to distract my mind from wandering thoughts. If it’s not one thing, its another. I wish things went my way at least once but alas, that would be called luck and that is something I lack dearly.

I knew I was a piece of shit, but you could not blame me. Survival is key and the state of the world in which it is, only the smart and liars survive. All the others are just awaiting their time to meet their fate. A sad truth.

The man smiled in front of me. It was colder than the ice outside.

“Thomas, what is my name?”

I thought intently. I do not recall him ever telling me his name. He just found me one day sick and knocking on his door, covered in bile and blood. From that day forward I was a member of the town.

“I do not recall. Maybe watching Martha and Drew die has caused me to forget.”

“Generalis. That’s my name. I plan to do what my name intends and protect this town.”

I was now confused and did not understand which direction he wished this conversation to continue to.

Generalis continued,” And due to my job, I have to do what is right. Sometimes even if its hard and I know will weigh upon my conscious.”

In the distance, chanting could be heard, along with the occasional sound of gunfire perpetrating the stillness.

He glanced at the two men standing near him faces covered by rags and goggles, hands upon their rifles, and nodded at each.

“He’s a murderer and a fucking liar. Bring him outside. We have some trading to do.”

To read Part 2 of Winters Breath, click here!

 

 

 

Winters Breath – Part 2

“We’re being followed,” I whispered.

Light snow began to fall, erasing any of the minimal warmth that existed previously. Ice pricked my skin repeatedly, numbing my body.

We had to continue forth and quickly. Otherwise, we would not make it. The village is on the other side of the forest, and it’s our only chance to survive the night.

“Martha keep up, please! You’re falling behind!”

A few yards behind, Martha trudged on with no purpose as shown by her slumped over shoulders. Her brother was dead, and I understood all too well what she was feeling. The loss of a loved one never failed to hurt.

I glanced around, in an almost nervous response to the situation.  The shadows of dangerous things were moving between the trees and thick undergrowth, stalking us.

I looked behind, watching Martha move more slowly than before. Maybe the cold was freezing her alive but she no longer cared. I did.

Sunlight had completely disappeared, with a thick mist forming and slithering its way throughout the forest, obscuring most details a few metres away.

The sound of my heart rattled my head, throbbing with intense pain. I could hardly hear myself think.

In the distance the sound of barking and barbaric chanting echoed, increasing in intensity.

“Hurry up, quickly! You’re going to kill us! They’ll be upon us soon! Please, Martha!” I begged, realising my next decision could prove costly.

I stumbled towards her, reaching for her arm to place over my shoulder. Her arm was freezing and her once blue eyes held no joy, only guilt. I tried to quicken the pace, but with my limited strength and the temperature against us, it would prove quite difficult.

The voices were everywhere, leaving us defenceless and shackling my courage with chains. I did not wish to die and definitely not the way in which the hunters would choose. I did not plan to become a feast for all those abominations of men.

“Martha, I’m sorry.”

I punched her in the ribs, hearing her groan and feeling the warmth of her breath as the air left her lungs.

I began to run, not daring look back. Even as I listened to the dogs dig into her.

To read Part 1 of Winters Breath click here.

 

Gonski 2.0, whose needs are most important?

I recently conducted an interview in the Illawarra region in regards to Gonski 2.0 and the desired budget changes to accommodate the funding plan. The business manager in which I interviewed of a popular Catholic high school in the region, gave insight into the realistic outcome that will occur if Gonski 2.0 becomes possible.

If Gonski 2.0 is passed, his school may be forced to make decisions that shall affect the overall education just to stay above water. Although the effect may not be immediate, he states that within 2018-2019, the effect will be largely noticeable with the affordable education standard the school currently offers being made to suffer.

This outcome will become largely similar for other Catholic schools in the country, with many being underfunded or losing their funding altogether.

 

 

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Gonski 2.0- Who will it affect? Source: ABC

 

 

The funding changes will cause alot of changes to occur within the span of a few years.

In recent reports, it is being made apparent that “rich schools will be even better off if the parliament fails to support the government’s so-called Gonski 2.0 schools funding model”, according to the Education Minister. However, if Gonski 2.0 is supported, more schools could potentially be harmed than not, especially Catholic schools which will have their funding cut. It is stated that Catholic schools will be $4.6 billion worse off while Public schools will receive a $4 billion increase.

Gonski 2.0 will cut funding by $1.2 billion over 10 years the budget office states.

Although the concept of Gonski 2.0 is great, its flaws are noticeable and will affect many children who may be forced to relocate their education to elsewhere. The needs-based funding system may work for some schools, but if its forcing other schools to lose parts of their education to accommodate the new changes while public and private schools are relatively untouched in a negative manner, it is not desirable.

 

 

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Needs-based funding- Why are some needs answered but not others? Source: The Australian

 

 

The Coalition is stating that the “neediest schools” will win. However Fairfax Media reveals otherwise that both Public and Private Schools will be receiving mostly funding increases, leaving Catholic schools underfunded and “needy” and not receiving the same treatment.

The purpose of this post is to highlight the fact that research needs to occur into who is being affected and that I do not believe the proposal of Gonski 2.0 is ideal for the education of most children. Sacrificing the education of some children for other children is not a correct way to achieve matters and will leave many affected.

Gonski 2.0, is this the right way to protect the future of all children?

Leave your thoughts below. If you would like to read more about Gonski 2.0 click here.

 

 

 

Who owns your news?

News is critical to our understanding of key events occurring around the globe. It provides us with an insight quickly to an event that has occurred, closing the borders in which govern countries and allowing distribution of information across those lines. In an ideal world, news is free and unbiased. However, in reality, companies are often bought, and the information is biased and/or unreliable.

It is becoming more apparent that information must be researched before it is consumed and believed. Before you continue reading news, you must ask yourself who indeed owns your news or media outlets. Are they independent organisations or are they funded by an individual/s? These questions are critical, because they can answer whether your information you are consuming is true or funded.

In Australia, a large number of news outlets are funded by rich individuals. Rupert Murdoch, a Media Mogul, owns various newspapers including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph and The Courier Mail, alongside others. Using Murdoch as an example, it brings forth the warning that news provided from listed outlets may not be 100% unbiased and may be funded.

 

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Rupert Murdoch, Australias Media Mogul and owner of various newspapers.

Newspapers around the world may be suffering the same fate. It is paramount that you research into who owns your media.

Other individuals who own parts of media outlets include Gina Rinehart, James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon who own select parts of The Ten Network.

 

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Ten NEWS- Owned by Gina Rinehart, James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon.

 

It does not take long to research into who owns the various media outlets your consume. It is also important to look  into independent publishers who may be more reliable with their validity of information over larger publications who may be suffering the Murdoch effect. By investigating into your news sources, it will save you a headache in worrying about where your news actually comes from. As a member of the Media Audience, it is your responsibility to investigate.

Click here to find out which networks are owned within Australia. To find out the future of Journalism within Australia click here.

 

How to stay safe online

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” –Malcolm X

The media, the very sphere in which we live our lives within, is great in power and reaches far and wide. We exist within the media sphere, indulged in its information, craving its touch. Although the media is very beneficial in its uses, allowing its users to get a constant stream of information at their fingertips whenever and wherever, it is important to acknowledge that such a utility should still be used with precautions. Read below to find out how to be more “cyber smart”.

Digital Footprint:

This tip is very important for any user of media. Always, and I emphasise the word always, check what you post before you post. This is because every time you go online and post, you leave behind a digital footprint. A digital footprint is a trail that is your mark upon cyberspace and showcases your whole existence upon the web. This trail can be used and abused by others, and it is almost impossible to have no digital footprints.

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Your digital footprint- is your trail what you really want everybody to see?

It is imperative that you monitor what you post before it is placed upon cyberspace. As I stated before, your personal data can be used and abused which is why I claim individuals should not place very serious and/or personal information online that can place the user in a dangerous situation.

Social Media:

If at all possible, use different passwords on different websites, have your social media accounts on private and also limit your personal postings on public forums. By doing this you shall minimise the risk of fraud and other hostile actions being taken against you. By using private social media settings, it shall allow you to acknowledge who can follow or friend you and create a safety net around you online, limiting unknown individuals from contacting you.

It may seem important to gain more likes but remaining safe is more critical.

VPN:

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is “a technology that creates a safe and encrypted connection over a less secure network, such as the internet”, as stated by TechTarget. In the current media age it is very important to consider the use of a VPN due to its much needed security additions which can help “mask” your digital footprint and general internet usage by hiding your IP from the public.

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ExpressVPN- A diagram of how VPNs work in a basic form. VPNs are used as tunnels.

VPNs that are great at what they offer include:

NordVPN (My personal favourite and the VPN I am currently using)

Express VPN (For users who wish fast VPN usage)

Tunnelbear (Has a great free version)

These 3 VPNs are my top 3 favourite. Research into VPNs and find one that it most suitable to your lifestyle and budget, it is worth it.

Although the media can be scary and its power immense, do not be afraid for it can also be great and rewarding. Embrace that we live in the media age and use its potential towards furthering yourself and your career. We are the media generation, of the new digital age, cherish that.

Remember also, be smart online at all times and do not post what you wouldn’t wish everyone to see.

Happy posting.

The future of Journalism

The future is looking dim for journalists with jobs getting cut, newsrooms becoming smaller and the fear of “fake news”  becoming common occurrence. Fairfax is cutting costs by $30 million and is believed to be losing 115 staff across The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WA Today within the future.

The previous year Fairfax axed 120 jobs from the newsrooms in Sydney and Melbourne. These two events bring forth the realisation that careers in journalism are not dependable and thus these jobs are not secure.

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Fairfax workers go on strike after recent staff axing and $30 million funding cut.
Last month Fairfax workers went on strike due to the funding cut and axing of staff within the company. The strike began on Wednesday the 3rd of May and lasted a week. It is believed that 1 in 4 newsroom jobs will be cut.

The future of journalism based careers are not secured and due to the recent funding cuts and axing of staff by Fairfax it has become apparent that freelance journalism is becoming necessary.

Big companies like Google and Facebook have a combined ad-revenue of $3.2 billion, which have taken away the spotlight from journalists and made it harder for journalists to get their content in the forefront of the media.

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Newspapers companies like The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have been forced to cut some of its workers.
Freelance journalism I believe is now the path for journalists to pursue due to the unreliability of newsrooms and the lack of job security within Australian media companies it now becomes apparent that journalists may now have to become freelancers.

Freelance journalists, although may find it harder to start, will find their career a more rewarding approach. However a portfolio is needed and it is made more difficult as journalists are entering a job market that is diminishing quickly. This means journalists are forced to come up with more creative and engaging work to combat the growing competition within the market.

With the journalism job market diminishing quickly it is now paramount to turn to freelance journalism to increase your job security and be more in control of your future.

Click here to find out how to become a freelance journalism writer.