The Big Issue multimedia slideshow – the final product Thursday, May 12 2011 

So! The other day, Kim, Sarah and I finished our multimedia slideshow about The Big Issue magazine, and the program that runs it in Canberra. You can read about our pitch here.

The final product didn’t differ too much from our pitch, the main difference was that we weren’t able to get an interview from the people who buy the magazine from the vendors (perhaps this was because it was a very cold day when we went out to interview vendors Eddie and Justin on the job – a lot of people want to buy the magazine and hurry back into the warmth).

It was a really enjoyable project to do – we went to their fortnightly barbecue/get together for the vendors, volunteers and organisers, that is held when a new issue comes out. We chatted to a number of the people there, though not all the vendors like going to these events. Unfortunately I had to leave to do an interview for another journalism assignment, so I couldn’t stay long, but Kim and Sarah had a lovely time chatting and taking photos.

We’re all quite pleased with the final product, and we had a lovely time making it.

Enjoy 🙂

The Big Issue – ACT from Ash Leal on Vimeo.


The Budget Thursday, May 12 2011 

What a busy day Budget Day is for Australian political journalists. On the 10th May this year, Treasurer Wayne Swan announced that the Budget is in a bigger deficit than they had promised, but that there were some severe cuts to spending. He said that this was necessary so that the budget could return to surplus by 2012-13.

Treasurer Wayne Swan - Image from

However, economics commentator Ross Gittins wonders why there is such a rush to return the Budget to surplus, arguing that if the economy is not travelling so well (as a result of the Global Financial Crisis and natural disasters), there really needn’t be such a rush – these setbacks are just temporary.


Ben Folds Thursday, May 12 2011 

I was lucky enough to experience the magnificent Ben Folds performance at the Royal Theatre in Canberra this week, his first stop of his Australian ‘Lonely Avenue Tour’. Perhaps during such a hectic week of uni, taking the night off to go to a concert might not have been such a good idea, but let’s face it – it’s Ben Folds!!

But first, a lovely supporting set by Australian artist, Kate Miller-Heidke, who was wonderfully warm and engaging with the audience. It was an intimate set – just her, her guitarist, a keyboard and the audience. I was disappointed that her set was only half an hour long, but she thrilled the audience with her humorous take on Facebook friend-adding etiquette. Have a listen, I dare say it resonates with many a Facebooker!


Being a Twit Tuesday, May 10 2011 

Now I’ve written about my experiences with Twitter before, but now it’s time to get into a little analysis of the more confident and professional twitterers (what I hope to become…someday…)

Annabel Crabb

From ABC Online -

Bit of an obvious start, but she does social media well. Her smart, humorous commentary on Australian politics is always interesting to see pop up on my Twitter feed, often with a link to an article of hers on ABC The Drum.

Whether she has another personal Twitter account, I don’t know, but what she does publish on Twitter is always professional, without seeming like a news generating robot – always adding a bit of her wit and humour, like she usually does with her articles. I am undecided on whether I should set up a separate account (when I’m more of a fully fledged journalist perhaps…). (more…)

What I’ve learned about slideshows Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

In class we had a look at the different multimedia slideshows, both in the lecture and in our tutorials. This was an interesting exercise, not only because our own slideshows will be due in a couple of weeks, but because, let’s face it, watching multimedia slideshows in class is a pretty awesome way to spend an hour.

A small group of us had a look at the Bluesfest slideshow. While I kind of liked the casual, in-the-crowd feeling of the audio, it was also a bit disappointing in other ways. For example, there were plenty of close-up photos of the artists themselves at the festival, but very few of the crowd. I guess what I was hoping for was to see the crowd’s response to the performances – whether they were enjoying it, how big the crowd was, or even how muddy they were. (more…)

Analysis of a travel blog Tuesday, Apr 5 2011 

In class today, we looked at various blogs that were attached to mainstream media organisations. Our group looked at The Backpacker– a travel blog on the Sydney Morning Herald website by Ben Groundwater.


‘The Backpacker’ is not like any Andrew Bolt-type blog, where it aims to start heated debate over various topics. But I suppose that’s part of writing a travel blog –  there aren’t too many people opposed to travelling.

It’s definitely a feelgood blog (I know I’m getting itchy feet after reading about his different travel experiences), but he also writes with a down to earth style, with none of the ‘travel really changed me’ type stuff. Just see his “Does travel really teach you anything” post. (more…)

Multimedia Slideshow – Our Pitch Tuesday, Mar 22 2011 

So today we pitched our idea for our multimedia slideshow, which is due in 7 weeks or so. When I say ‘we’, I mean Kim, Sarah and I. Our topic is probably more along the lines of ‘soft news’, but basically – we want to try and make people cry. Or at least feel a little bit teary.

I should probably say what we’re planning on doing – we were thinking about the people who sell ‘The Big Issue’ magazine, and we wondered what led them to becoming a vendor, and how they ended up doing this. I remember helping another journalism friend who was doing a story on people with disabilities, and some legislation that was changing at the time (I think… I’m a little hazy on that – I was just the camera operator!). She interviewed a young woman with Cerebral Palsy, and I found she had some really good insights and stories. She received a portion of her income selling ‘The Big Issue’, and this gave me an idea for a story. (more…)

Earthquake, nuclear disaster and a tsunami… and it’s only Tuesday Friday, Mar 18 2011 

Poor Japan has really felt the worst of it in the last few days.

First, the largest recorded earthquake in Japan, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale, hit northeast Japan on Friday afternoon, which triggered a 10 metre tsunami, hitting the coastal town of Sendai, in northern Japan. On top of this, an explosion at the Fukushima nuclear power plant blew apart the building that surrounds the plant’s Number 1 reactor. You can see a brief outline of events here.

Nearly 2,500 people have died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.

Here is a map of just some of the affected areas.


Social media, and my love/hate relationship with it Monday, Mar 7 2011 

As part of my journalism course, I need to have a Twitter, Facebook and WordPress account (hence why I am here). Which is great really – I know what’s going on with my friends, with world events from the marvellous to the mundane (Justin Bieber’s haircut, for example…) through Twitter’s power of the immediate spread of information, and then I get to comment on it all, right here on WordPress.

I wish there was some way of sending a witty statement to my colleague over there without having to open my mouth - is what this person is thinking, I bet.

Lately, I’ve been hearing so much praise for social media – it’s immediate! It’s more interactive with audiences! It’s a great research tool! It’s a great employment-seeking tool! And trust me, I’m on the social media bandwagon too –  I’ve tweeted this to the world (all 47 followers). (more…)

Centrelink happenings Tuesday, Feb 22 2011 

Whilst university students from regional areas may have suffered a setback with the House of Reps deciding not to debate on the youth allowance bill, all may not be lost.

As a student from a regional area, youth allowance is basically how I survive as a university student – I pay my rent with it…. yeah that’s about all I can do with it. There isn’t much left over.  However, I was quite fortunate to have been able to score my Youth Allowance the old way – by working to earn $19,500 in 18 months.

NOW, those who want to go to uni and be paid by the government at the same time have to work an average of 30hrs a week for 18 months, which was a way to cut out some of the more fortunate ones who had wealthy parents and spent a gap year gallivanting overseas.

My younger brother was one of those people who had to abide by the new system in order to get his Youth Allowance for this year. Fortunately for him, he had no shortage of work. But I worry for others – those who might struggle to find a job at the start of the 18 months, or those that might be unwell for a prolonged period of time and are therefore not working for that time. What then?

They have to work even more once they finally get back to work in order to meet the standards of Centrelink? Continue to work the same amount of hours once they become a full time student? (A tough gig for regional students who have to move to a new city to go to university)

Going to university is a pricey affair as it is, let alone having to move to do so.