Change the Date – It’s a Matter of Respect

Video Credit: Buzzfeed Australia

After spending a lot it time studying the position of Indigenous Australians in this country from first contact to now and their culture and heritage I believe 100% the date needs to be changed. The relationship between non indigenous and indigenous australians has always been one lacking respect. Upon first arrival there was an informal kill on sight policy (blatant genocide) regarding Indigenous Australians. The formal policy was paternalism, which saw them having to be taken care of and ‘shown the light’. Then there was the assimilation policy, which was an effort to ‘breed out the blackness’ (also genocide). Integration was a step in the right direction but that only came about in around the 70’s if not later. And now we rest in self determination, where the policy regarding the first people only now respects their ability to make choices and govern themselves. January 26th marks the landing of the first fleet. It marks the beginning of the frontier warfare that massacred a people for sport, it practically became a hobby. The mentality for genocide was also reflected in the official policies until around the 1970’s-1980’s. For more detail on Aboriginal Australian’s in history click here.

We now live in a society where the word reconciliation is thrown around a lot. Cambridge dictionary defines reconciliation as a situation in which two people or groups of people become friendly again after they have argued. In order to reconcile there must be a foundation of respect. That means we can’t just do things the way they’ve done before out of tradition. We can’t ignore what happened, because that impedes our ability to learn from it. An incredibly basic step towards building a foundation of respect is to change the date.

By changing the date we would together be acknowledging that when the first fleet landed on January 26th it was the beginning of disrespect, mistreatment and attempted genocide. It is acknowledging the fact that even though we ourselves did not massacre a people and try to do away with their culture, our predecessors did. It is acknowledging that there are continued systematic disadvantages for Aboriginal people in 2017 as a result of that. It is acknowledging that Aboriginal Australians really don’t have any reason to trust us when we have only abused their trust and never trusted them.

Changing the date is the beginning of a new Australia. One that respects its first people and hears their voice. It would be a unified Australia. It would be one that acknowledges their previous wrongdoing and promises to do better. It would be the beginning of an Australia I want to live in.

Chatting with the Newsroom

Journalism is becoming personal. On the same platforms you share private conversations with friends companies like Purple Politics, CNN and Buzzfeed are sending news directly to the phones of those that opt in.

The information sent out by Purple Politics is bite sized, just like you’re talking to your friend who chooses to watch question time. At the moment it’s endemic to the United States election and political state but it’s a sign of whats to come. Watch me explore this new platform below.

University of Florida has already incorporated this into their journalism classes by setting up a thread namely, swamp juice in lieu of the traditional college newspaper. The Swamp team publish updates regarding student life and just general goings on on campus in a highly interactive format. The audience is encouraged by the very nature of the app to ‘up’ or ‘down’ a post and leave comments.

Swamp juice is undoubtably less personal than purple politics, but 98% of its users are millennial and the audience can only view posts made locally allowing for an accurate snapshot of local events. Yik Yak has also been used by the BBC to gain an insight into younger peoples views on taboo subjects for example, mental illness.

Snapchat has added the Discover feature to the direct chat interface to allow for news distribution.

snapchat-discover-scroll (1).gif


However, a 2016 study found that only 17% of people use Snapchat as a news source. Veteran journalist Bill Adair suggested  this to be because of the simplification of news stories which has gone to the extent of bolding the most important information. He also suggested this unenthusiastic reception is caused by the high concentration of clickbait and celebrity centric articles that in a traditional media landscape would have been reported on in gossip sections of newspapers.

It is also common belief that traditional news organisations like CNN and National Geographic can’t engage with a younger audience. While this is true in regards to their traditional mediums of print and television, but on Snapchat they have a larger audience than organisations directed at millennials like Refinery29 according to a Variety magazine survey.


Trushar Barot, BBC’s mobile editor believes people are becoming more and more likely to engage with the internet for the first time on a smartphone in many parts of the world, and their first interaction with other people is on a chat app, thus becoming their default interaction with the internet. (Trends in Newsrooms, 2015)

This is supported by Fusion’s international editor Santiagio Tarditi, he says “we do have to understand that there’s a new generation of consumers that are more interested in news being delivered straight to their mobile phones.” (Trends in Newsrooms, 2015)

Traditional media has successfully navigated changes in popular mediums in the past. This is, but the next challenge for an ever developing industry.

Day One of Trump, a Reflection

At eighteen most people don’t know what they want for breakfast, let alone what they want to do with their lives. I am different. I know that I want to spend the rest of my life fighting for those who need it, the minorities. Donald Trump’s presidency has led to a great deal of introspection and reflection on what I want to do with my life. I kept wondering “what’s the point if people like him can be elected president of one of the most powerful countries in the world?”

Sugar Coating History?

Art effects people in unprecedented ways, and it is difficult to credit an artist to a pivotal change in a countries history. Malik Bendjelloul‘s Searching for Sugarman does however, though this does not come without criticism and complication.

Searching for Sugarman was awarded both BAFTA’s best documentary and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2013. It is considered, on face value, to be an exploration of music’s role in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. The film tells of Detroit musician Rodriguez’s role in fuelling South Africans resistance to the racist regime. Were the film to not ignore large portions of the story, it could serve as a strong example of music instigating change.

However, as explored in Searching for the Sugar Coated Man by Michael Titlestad, the notion Rodriguez’s fans were opposition to the apartheid regime is fiction. If anything, Titlestad suggests this film is simply an act of nostalgia for an artist that was widely adored throughout South Africa.

Jonathan Hyslop disagrees, he suggests that while the weak depiction of the apartheid movement leaves the film susceptible to critisism, however it does not render the exploration of the sociopolitical points of the rise of youth culture and counter culture’s impact on South Africa as a country. Using Rodriguez as an example of youth culture, one that infiltrated the entire country, the film is able to explore to some degree the anti-apartheid movement.

While Hyslop’s arguements are valid I find my views more aligned with those of Titlestad. I find that there are too many issues within this film’s depiction of the apartheid and the movement that caused it to fall for it to be seen as an accurate record of the impact that music had on South African society.


Hyslop, Jonathan. ““Days Of Miracle And Wonder”? Conformity And Revolt In Searching For Sugar Man”. Safundi 14.4 (2013): 490-501. Web.
Titlestad, Michael. “Searching For The Sugar-Coated Man”. Safundi 14.4 (2013): 466-470. Web.


Nollywood’s Next Step

How can a country with the 2nd largest film industry, second only to Bollywood, have just 14 cinemas?

Welcome to the world of Nollywood. The budgets are low, the turn around is fast and the impact is strong.

The films are made in, on average, just a m0nth and they are distributed direct to dvd. To a western audience they appear to be B-grade films at best, but to the Nigerian audience they are a voice.

Film maker Tund Kelani said “Nollywood is nothing more again than therapy – therapy to the Africans who have been deprived of so many things, who have disappointed by their various governments, who could only hope. So rather than everyone going mad and crazy, I think they find solace in a cushion, a support, in Nollywood films”.

The films are a reflection of the struggles of Nigerian life, addressing issues such as widows rights, corruption and domestic violence. However, the industry itself is a source of hope. The Nigerian film industry, which developed in the early 1990’s was estimated to be worth around $5.1 Billion USD in May 2015.

Sadly, Nollywood is yet to gain a sense of national unity that is seen in other film industries. Local films are not broadcast on televisions, nor are they played in the few cinemas Nigeria offers as a result of the censors board. Pierre Barrot, an African writer claims that this challenge is the next Nollywood film makers face. Once these films can diverge from the direct to home movie format a new audience is reached, and with that Nollywood can only become a stronger industry.



The International Experience

80% of Australian university students aren’t Australian, they are international students from Asia (Marginson, 2012). They travel here not only to gain an education, but to gain an experience. An experience that was marketed to them and while the potential to deliver is consistently present, there are a large number of variables that influence a students experience.

Below are two very different examples of the international student experience.
The first is a video that was made by the University of Wollongong.

This video is a depiction of the ideal international student experience, the one they are sold. However this is not always the reality,  a comment left below this video supports this.


Marginson suggests that the key to consistently improving international students’ experience in a new country is found within the domestic student’s interactions.

Justine Brown found that “International students stated that they found it harder to make friends cross-culturally, but that they would persist with attempts after initial lack of interest from locals”, from this style of research it can be suggested that domestic students simply need to engage more actively with internationals.

However the same study revealed “Domestic students differed by rating themselves as less likely to initiate interaction and more prone to giving up attempts at friendship within their own ethnic group than international students”.

Peter Kell and Gillian Vogl’s research found that while international students stated they generally associated with people from similar backgrounds, however on a deeper analysis of daily interactions they seemed to interact more with domestic students more regularly than they first recognised. This was credited to the international student’s perception of ‘real Australian’s’ to be anglo Australian’s casually dressed, smiling with a beer in hand. Perhaps our international image, like most is not accurate, leading to unachievable expectations of international students and rather than focusing on the responsibility of domestic students to rectify this, we need to focus on how we are perceived by the wider world.