Critical Question: Options Trail

“More people looking online for their news, will affect journalism as a whole negatively” Agree or Disagree?

After almost a terms worth of research, I would have to chose disagree. Many people would beg to differ with me, but that just tells me they are focusing on a very minute part of journalism. For one, the internet has opened up a whole new median for news and also forced news to be a lot more truthful about what they publish, because any one person could prove them wrong with a photo off their Iphone.

You would think with all of the recent downsizing to many newspapers, especially The Age, that newspapers are a dying breed. In June 2012 15% of the Age was cut, over $248 million, but due to the fall of the mighty, the small have grown and flourished. Trent Casson, with whom we talked to on Friday said that recently his company, Metro Media Publishing, had launched 9 more local newspapers, already owning 13. He explained to us that with the rise of the internet and it as a median, people are looking for local news, which isn’t very accessible via the internet. As well he said that their newspapers make small short stories that are entertaining, relevant and engaging to the  local community. But also with them being recently bought out by Fairfax, they can get the best writers. He said that 70% of their profit comes from their property section in their community newspaper. He showed us a copy of their leading newspaper, The Weekly Review, and revealed to us that more the two thirds of the paper are property ads. Since all of these newspapers are community, they all have local property ads, making these ads  ‘prime real estate,’ since most people buy houses within 2.5 km of their original house. As well community newspapers are easy to pick up and typically free. The reason big newspapers used to thrive, were because they would get ads for jobs and cars, which could be from the other side of town, but as soon as website like  “” started to pop up, with nothing to lose and significantly cheaper ad spots, the big newspapers had nothing to advertise, therefor no profit.

Overall, the Internet has given journalism a whole new frontier to explore, with a lot to learn and benefit from, as well as forcing their articles to be truthful and fair. Before our Options Trail I thought that online media would affect journalism but after our interview with Trent Casson and other various research, I think quite the opposite now. Although recently The Age went through heavy cuts, the positives outweigh the negatives. In general the Internet has affected journalism as a whole positively.


Critical Question: Future

“The people of Melbourne can feel confident about what the future holds”                                       

                       Agree or Disagree?

If I had been asked this a week ago, I would have had no idea on how to answer this question, but after my experiences this week, I would disagree.

Do we know now what will happen in 50 years? 20? Even 5? Do we know where new technologies will lead us? How the education system could change, how we will solve problems like over population and global warming. This week the question was posed “Can the people of Melbourne can feel confident about what the future holds?” and I believe that the people of Melbourne can be confident about a few things, but the for the most part they can’t feel confident about most events in the future, even things like the next state election. Future has a few different definitions, but I chose only two; “at a later time, going or likely to happen or exist” and “a prospect of success or happiness” I chose these two definitions because I think that they are not black and white, and the 2nd one also adds prospects and hopes into the word future, which we all have.

In 20 years time, climate change will have continued to affect the world. Melbournians cannot feel confident with the future, as one dominated by global warming isn’t really what we want to achieve. In 20 years time EPA expects temperatures to rise by 1 degree, as well as seasonal events and storms becoming more powerful, and more often. With many new technologies appearing, one could think that climate change could be cured or fixed via reducing carbon emissions and possible   atmosphere rejuvenations, but even if these projects were completed climate change would continue. As EPA has predicted even if carbon emissions dropped by a third climate change would still continue and effect ecosystems for hundreds of years afterwards. This future is not looking very upbeat.

In 1875 the first ever commercial oil field was built in California, bringing with it a new era of power, motion and climate change, since then mankind has been powered almost completely by oil, and as all good things do, it must come to an end. Oil is the most used natural resource apart from water, and the BP World Energy Review measured only 190 million tons remaining, enough to last just over 46 years, at our current rate of consumption. A world without energy would be disastrous, but is also very likely. Estimations are that Oil should be priced 27x higher than it currently is, because of the remaining amounts. Drastic measures should have already been taken to an energy crisis from happening; such using more renewable energy, but that hasn’t been done yet. Melbournians can’t be confident with their futures, because of this.

In Late 2007-8 the Global Financial Crisis otherwise known as the GFC hit stock markets, with worldwide effects, some countries like Greece had riots on the streets. Some nations’ GDP (How much that nation’s economy has grown) reached -10%, which means that nations economy was actually downsizing. The GFC was very abrupt and tore apart jobs, wealth and lives. Melbournians can’t be confident about when another GFC will hit again, and how. The next GFC could come at any time, according to Analyst Robert Lenzner, and very rapidly; “there is no mechanism for determining when there actually is a crisis.” Melbournians cannot be confident in when the next GFC will hit, and how it will hit them. It is not possible to be confident with the future economy wise, except you can be sure that the GFC will hit again.

Melbournians can’t be confident with their futures, because to be confident in a future you do not only have to be sure of what will happen, but that futures needs to be a positive thing. Many things are uncertain in the future, including the economy, climate change and natural resources. We don’t know what will happen in the future, and we can’t be confident in it.

“The future is uncertain but the end is always near.”

―Jim Morrison

Options Week Reflection

OPTIONS TRAIL! What a day that was.

For our group, it was quite a success. The most unexpected part was the amount of information we got from our interview with the General Manager of the Weekly Review (Trent Casson). We learnt a lot of which we hadn’t previously even explored! It was a whole new perspective for us. We’d never gone over the fact that local newspapers are thriving more than ever because of all the big newspapers moving to the digital media. Next time, if there will be a next time, I would love to improve our surveys a bit. Things like ages would have added a lot to our collected information, such as knowing which age groups are fine with the movement to digital news. Another thing I would of loved to do would have been set up more interviews with other people in the Journalism business, not just a General Manager. It would have been nice to get an interview with someone more along the lines of a journalist, who could tell us how they are getting affected by the switch. Apart from that our Options Trail went just as planned. As opposed to our Mini Trail, we all lead our group together, when last time I had to take the role of leader. This time around Aidan decided to take the interview, which last time he backed out last minute of, so I had to do it for him, but I was more than glad to get the experience at the time. By the end of it we had gotten everything we wanted to get and more, so overall it was a success.

Futures Week Reflection

So last week we discussed our future and it wasn’t so much as an eye opener as it was restating my point (to myself). I still believe that our future will be dark until we discover some way of preserving the Earth and dealing with the very real problem of global warming. Apart from that, I feel that humanity will keep growing as it has, new ideas popping up everywhere, especially with the popularity of the internet. But if we were to talk about personal future, I’m not so sure, no one can ever TRULY predict the future. Sometimes, it’s harder to predict your own future than another’s.

OPTIONS TRAIL ON FRIDAY! I’m excited but nervous. MY group is ready, we have all the resources we need, it’s more a problem of getting ready for actions project. We are all quite confident in ourselves and we’re very ready for this Friday.

Learning Goals. What can I really say? I feel I have sort of achieved some of them (like leadership and independence) but then there are some which I feel I haven’t achieved nearly as much (such as first aid and divergent thinking) which are things that will have to be worked on in future and just something that I have to keeping chipping away at.

Critical Question: World Around Us

“The subjects we learn in school provide the most effective tools with which to understand the world around us.” Do you agree or disagree?

The only reason this question is a tricky one for me, is that it all depends on a person’s definition of “understanding”. According to our good old friend, The Oxford English Dictionary, understanding means “The ability to understand something; comprehension”. If you take it by that meaning, then I fully agree with the statement.

At school our core subjects are Science, Maths, English, German, Art and for us taskies, Latin. If we go by the previous definition of “understanding”, these core subjects do teach us about the world around us. Science is literally about understanding the world around us and how it works. Maths is just the core of science plus we use it on a daily basis. English we use all the time, even during this very paragraph and without it, we wouldn’t be able to communicate as well, so there would be less information for us to pass on to one and other. German is similar to English in it’s usability, except that it’s not as widely accepted. On the other hand it has been proven that learning a second language can do things like stave of dementia, increase brain growth and more. Art can be quite a controversial topic, but in my opinion, it does help with things like creativity, imagination and analytical thinking. Latin has been an controversial one for us taskies, because we just see it as extra work, but Latin has all the same benefits as learning a second language as well as improving your English.

But to me, to understand the world around us, we don’t need to literally understand it, we need to  understand the world around us. By that I mean, we need to know and learn practical things for the real world, not things like quadratic equations and what the author really meant by “the curtains were blue”.

In my opinion, what we learn in schools is less about teaching us about the real/practical world, but more to teach us to learn. At our school, we do the program I am currently in, the Galileo Program, which has been explained to us as the teachers giving us the opportunity to learn, rather than “this is right, write it in your books.”. But to me, I also see it as an opportunity to learn life skills, that we will need later on in life, such as the Community Services we do, or all the interviews we’ve done to better understand the reality of things.

I think one of the main problems contributing towards this is not only that schools don’t do things like our Galileo Program, but also that they are too heavily academic focused, expecting everyone to do something academic. What about all the the people who want do art or something that requires less maths and more creativity? That is one of the biggest flaws with the current academic system. The people who get through with high scores, aren’t always the most intelligent, they just know how to jump through the right hoops at school.

So in conclusion, if you go by the literal meaning of understanding, then yes, I agree, our current curriculum helps us understand our world. But If you were to go by the idea of practicality, then no, I would have to heavily disagree.


Week Six Reflection: A Hidden Place

2014-03-05 13.22.10

To the normal person, it would seem that I’m gloomy, sad or trying to hide from something. While in fact, that’s not even close. This is place of serenity, of calmness. This is where a go every week, to get away from everyone else and all the happenings of the week. This is where I am happiest. This is a hidden place, this is My Place. When I first found My Place, I thought it was one of a kind, and that it was like finding the Garden of Eden. But then I learnt, most people have a hidden place, just for others it could be elsewhere. I once met a person, whose hidden place was in the middle of a bustling street. For the longest time I couldn’t understand, but now I do. A persons hidden place doesn’t have to actually be hidden, it just has to be where they feel happiest.

Critical Question: Justice

“Is Melbourne Fair?”

To answer this question, we first need to know the definition of fair. According Oxford Dictionary, fair means “Treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination”. If we follow this definition, I feel Melbourne is quite fair.

For one it has the Independent Third Person system. During Justice week on one of the trails we got to meet one and she explained to us what she did. For those who don’t know who an Independent Third Person (from now on referred to as ITP) is, it is a person who informs young/disabled people  of their rights when they are taken into custody. They are called upon if no parent/guardian is contactable. For more information head to: . ITP’s are quite important, because from time to time, the police can be too rough on a suspect/witness or they might rush through the rights and confuse the suspect/witness. Without ITPs, a lot more people would be saying things they shouldn’t have to, or they wouldn’t understand their rights fully.

From the trail, when my group got to speak with a jail guard, we learnt quite a bit about how jails operate. For one, they give prisoners a chance to come out to a life of some sort, because they teach them all sorts of tradie skills while doing their time. They also have a sort of canteen where they can weekly spend “money” for things like cigarettes and other things for entertainment. Having gone to Old Melbourne Gaol I learnt that even though it looks and sounds horrible, it was all in all quite fair. We had also gone to the Magistrate’s courts, where we got to sit in on a couple court cases, in which you could see that the judge had done their research, had looked over previous history and other relevant information, as opposed to things like gender, race and religion.

On a larger scale, Melbourne is quite a diverse city, with all sorts of cultures. According to wikipedia, almost a quarter of Melbourne’s population is born oversees and the city is home to residents from 180 countries, who speak over 233 languages and dialects and follow 116 religious faiths.

But on the other hand Australia has been known to be quite a racist country with it starting back when settlers first landed on Australian shores. Starting with the discrimination against Aboriginals decades ago, and it still continues with some police saying that young African people are a lot more likely to commit a crime, while racism in itself is a crime.

So Melbourne could improve, but there is always room for improvement, no matter the situation.


Camp Reflection

CAMP! what can I really say? This was one heck of a ride.

A lot happened over camp, so much, that I could probably write a novel, but this will have to do.

Day 1:

The day started off with an excessive amount of time spent in vehicles travelling to the destination. Once we finally got there, it turned out that our bags were stuck, so we spent another 20 minutes fixing that up, so by the time we finally got hiking, it was already around 4:00pm. The hike itself wasn’t all that bad, until we hit the leeches. Oh how people whined. I’d worn jeans, which before that moment I had regretted, but then I saw it’s advantages. By the time we finally got to our camp and set up tent, it was around 6 or 7 o’clock. Right after my group had finished dinner, Scott came over to us and asked which one of us was the most hardcore. Being the confident person I am, I naturally said me. He then dared me to sleep in this pile of twigs (some would call it a hut/shack, but it didn’t even protect me from the rain). I of course said yes and as it turned out, was the right idea. Alex, Lachy and Harry ended up fighting what they described as a dragon and a lot of the other groups had leeches in their tents, while I, who had decided to sleep practically outside, didn’t face a thing, except one mosquito.

Day 2:

Once everyone had gotten up and packed up their tents, we got going again to the next destination. This hike was “interesting” for several reasons. The first was, after I had slept outside I got crowned “the most hardcore” and Alex felt like he wasn’t being hardcore enough, so we both ended up trying to be as “hardcore” as possible. Some of the things we did may have been considered stupid, but in our opinion, unless it has a negative outcome, it is hardcore. The second was more leeches. In the end we made pretty good time and we all got there in one piece. After we spent some time discussing why we were there and having lunch, off we went to where we would be setting up camp. After finally getting there, we met Zoey, who hadn’t been there for the hikes because of injury. Once we’d set up our camps, all the other walking groups starting appearing, setting their tents up. We then went to what I would consider to be the highlight of the camp, caving. This was loads of fun, even if I did scrape my shoulder a couple times. We ended up seeing glow-worms and Scott even called me a bit like Chuck Norris, which in my opinion is one of the best compliments you could really give to someone.


After getting covered in mud, we had a while to just chill with the other groups, which is exactly what we did. Then came the best part, the food! We finally got a hot meal. It was a god-send. After experiencing heaven, we socialized some more and that was the whole day.

Day 3:

The last and final day. Not much happened. We spent a lot of time on the bus, tested water, did a final wrap up, got lunch and went home. It was a fun experience all-in-all and I think I came back with a better understanding of nature and of the other students.


Week 4 Reflection

Week 4 was quite an eye-opening week for me.

The highlights would have had to of been going to court. Even though going to court doesn’t sound the very “positive”, it was more of an eye-opener. We got to see what real cases were like. My group went into only two cases, but it was still enough to understand somethings, for example I thought the judges wouldn’t be as sympathetic or as down to earth as they were, but that is probably just a misconception from tv shows and movies.

I also went to Old Melbourne Gaol, which brought up a lot of ethical dilemmas, which made me think that justice is very strongly tied to ethics. We also spoke to a jail guard and we found out, that the goal of jails haven’t changed at all, just the way they go about it.

The lowlight of the week would probably have also been going to court, because it didn’t feel very appropriate going into people’s cases, which must to have been quite personal for them. I’m not quite sure how I would feel if a group of teenagers just walked into my case, I’d probably feel like I’m some kind of public amusement.

Critical Question: Ethics

“Our lives today demand that we face and respond to ethical dilemmas.” Do you agree or disagree?

Personally, I’d say I disagree, but that is very dependent on what you consider an ethical dilemma.

Some people would beg to differ that we face ethical dilemmas everyday, but that is a point of view, for a lot of people, they feel they have to deal with the dilemmas like  “should we help the homeless” or “Am I doing enough for the homeless”. With that example, some would say that they do and that they try to help the homeless by giving them money or something along those lines. While others would say it is up to the government to fix the problem of the homeless.

For those who said that that it is up to them to solve this problem, they should feel they face ethical dilemmas everyday, but for those who think it should all be solved by the government, they have it a lot easier. They feel they don’t need to worry about anything, that since they’ve pay their taxes, they’ve done their part for the community, but in my opinion that’s not true. There is always more you can do for the community than just pay your taxes, so rather than them not having to face the ethical dilemmas, they just ignore them, even though they’re still there.

But you do face harder ethical dilemmas occasionally, for example the one we faced in class, with the “10 suspects, 1 murderer”. It went something like this: They’re are ten suspects for a murder that was committed, but only one of them did it. The problem is, you can’t figure out who did it, so you’re faced with a choice: Jail them all or let them all walk. This is one of the harder than the ones you would see on a daily basis. This one for me, is the definition of a ethical dilemma, because it has no right answer, because to me, ethics is just another way of saying morals. So an ethical dilemma, is a dilemma with no morally right choice, while for example the homeless one has a morally correct choice.

Most people consider a problem where they just can’t be bothered, or where they have to put in an effort an ethical dilemma, but it’s not. What they are actually facing is the question of do I do what’s morally right, or do I do what’s easier? In my opinion that’s the real dilemma people face on a daily basis, not an ethical one.