I spend a lot of time thinking about the implications of journalism in the digital age, and in a time of uncertainty, what a sustainable business model for digital news would look like. I’m also excited about the opportunities the internet has opened up to improve the health of communities through hyperlocal journalism.
While I started my journalism career as a print journalist, I now spend most of my time operating in the digital space. I am passionate about investing into the next generation and preparing media students for a career in digital media, and mentor and train students through my not-for-profit start-up Meld Magazine.
I wear a number of hats, and a big one is as founder and editor-in-chief at Meld Magazine.
A labour of love, I started Meld as a not-for-profit organisation in 2008 in response to a need in the community – to give international students a voice, and reflect the full picture of the overseas student experience. At Meld, we take a grassroots-driven approach and collaborate with the audience we serve, tapping into the wisdom of the community while at the same time reaching out to that same community. Recording more than half a million pageviews in 2012, and tripling our readership in two years, Meld has been an interesting case study on how new media platforms have opened up opportunities to engage intensely and intentionally with a local audience, encourage new ways of information sharing, and spur non-traditional interactions that have an impact on a community.
Meld is also about training and preparing media students for a career in the digital environment. There is no better way for students to learn than on the job, and Meld has served as an avenue for students to meaningfully apply their skills in an area of need in the international student community. Over the years, we’ve taken on students from both Australia and around the world, and it’s very encouraging to see how many of our students have gone on to carve out a career for themselves as digital journalists, digital content managers, social media managers and digital communications strategists.
Peak body for online publishers and citizen journalists
In 2013, I embarked on a Master of Journalism part-time at the University of Melbourne, and undertook a journalism project exploring the viability of establishing a peak body for online publishers and citizen journalists in Australia.
The idea for a peak body was birthed out of the work I was doing looking into business models and sustainability for Meld. I had come to the point of view that there is perhaps an opportunity to support a new and emerging industry, as well as solve some of the challenges on an industry level, including the problem of credibility and trust online, fragmented audiences and the loss of advertising revenue to platform owners and distributors.
Carlton Community Website
The not-for-profit Carlton Community Website is an initiative of the Carlton Together Working Group – Opportunities for Carlton Project. The community website enables the coordination of information, events and discussions across Carlton and creates a digital meeting space for the community. I am currently working with members of the group to see how we can mobilise members of the community and initiate grassroots-driven journalistic endeavours in the neighbourhood.
While working for community newspapers around Melbourne, I covered a broad range of topics and issues including news and politics, lifestyle and entertainment, as well as sports. During this period, I developed a special interest in human rights and social justice issues, as well as health.
During my time at the Heidelberg Leader in particular, I worked closely with local council, social welfare agencies, legal centres, schools and residents groups and published numerous reports on issues facing the disadvantaged community in Heidelberg West, including public housing woes, education and crime.
I also had the opportunity to report extensively on health and medical research at the Austin Hospital, Mercy Hospital for Women, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Olivia-Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre.