We went to a student media conference in Melbourne, listened to professionals speak, met fellow editors and got a taste of the city.

Looking up at the stage from a sea of unworldly 20-somethings, I was struggling to understand how
we were supposed to become them – the inspirational, cutting-edge guests at the forefront of Australian media.

‘I’m going to be unemployed for the rest of my life’, ran on repeat in my head as I relentlessly compared my own achievements to theirs, spiralling into the depths of despair by the first session. I needed to soothe my soul, so I got some pizza.

I cemented my post-carb self in a chair closer to the front, desperate to absorb the professionalism, experience and talent emanating from the real-life adults who seemed to know what they were doing.

One reported on the inner workings of parliament, one wrote for VICE, one ran their own magazine and there I was trying to mentally preserve each nugget of wisdom because I brought paper but no pen.

A couple of on-stage pros were fresh out of uni. They were established in their field and deemed important enough to talk to a room full of people about what they do. They all had pens. I took note.

Meticulously comparing myself to everyone on stage made me realise that I shouldn’t. Purging the negativity after the conference did me a world of good. I traded the fear of dismal failure for beaming confidence and now I feel like I can tackle anything. Reality may prove otherwise. I guess I’ll find out.

Words by Emmylou

The conference’s official name is the National Editors Workshop and Skillshare. I know, a mouthful of words that probably mean nothing to you, right? Don’t worry, I admit I had to hit up our best mate, Google, to remember what the conference was officially called because I, as the newly appointed Communications Editor, found myself summarising the trip into #EMNEWS16 in an amateur attempt at live tweeting and keeping you guys up to date with our escapades. Possibly the most stressful experience I‘ve had this year, it proved to be both insightful and demanding, while the majority of the tweets included gems like:

  • “Don’t mess up other people’s work because they’ll hate you forever.”
  • “Don’t hang people out to dry.”
  • “Don’t add legs to a snake,” in a well-if-it-ain’t-broke approach to editing 101.

These wise words of Voiceworks’ Elizabeth Flux were passed down to us as captivating dry humour. But beyond her sarcasm and much appreciated honesty existed two notions that I couldn’t shake off. Firstly, editing is a privilege and secondly, student media is indispensable.

There is a common misconception surrounding student media and university publications, whereby students deem them ‘exclusive’ and limited to merely the aspiring journos. This is certainly not the case – we’re not a snobby sorority club. Instead, Verse Magazine and other student publications are essential in voicing your thoughts, experiences, issues, and opinions. No you, no Verse.

Refreshing references to the IT Crowd were welcomed throughout #EMNEWS16 and the occasional stab at student politicians made their appearance. Instruction to stay in the good books of student politicians and advice on how to deal with student politicians making you feel sick inside were addressed, which ultimately prompted the question, “hands up, who hates student politicians?” In response, the majority of student editors quickly and confidently raised their hands, and I, guilty as charged, was with the majority. However, I now understand that student media and student politicians are not so different after all.

Contrary to popular belief, student politicians are more than just those odd balls who hang around the USASA offices or chase you across campus in an effort to feed you information you don’t want. Like the members of student media, they perform an important function in the creation of university culture and community, believe it or not. Our short, sharp, and shiny trip to Melbourne provided many perks for us as individuals, editors, aspiring journalists, and university students. Beyond these obvious pleasures for us, however, the advice and ideas expressed throughout the conference extends to our contributors, to our readers, and to you.

Of course, Verse Magazine welcomes journalism, writing, and communication students to add to our pages and their portfolios. Moreover, Verse is a voice for the students of UniSA and essentially a creative outlet for people in all degrees. Engineering, science, education – you’re all part of it too!

Words by Adrienne Goode

There are three things I took away from Melbourne last month and I’m not talking about the stash of free muesli bars which were generously provided by the editors’ conference. Although, they were delicious. Here’s a vignette of my experiences in our hostel, the suburb of Fitzroy and inner city Melbourne.

The Nunnery is a hip little hostel in Fitzroy. It’s a three-story, Georgian-style building with friendly staff and clean bathrooms (basically all you want in a hostel). The Nunnery has a cool story behind it too. It was originally used as a convent for the Daughters of Charity in the 19th Century, hence the name. Sadly, the staff do not dress up as nuns, crushing our hopes on arrival. In fact, today, you will find no nuns at all. What you will find are glassy-eyed European backpackers, cheerfully drinking goon out of coffee mugs and chatting in the common room. The spirit of the nuns lives on.

This place is a five minute tram ride from the heart of the city and a two minute walk to the Melbourne Museum. If, like me, you feel the need to indulge the artsy side of yourself, you can walk through the Museum Gardens whilst reflecting on deep, philosophical stuff. After all, you’re staying in Fitzroy where people are supposed to act deep and philosophical. As much as I like to bag the artsy-fartsiness of Fitzroy, it is a suburb filled with character. Brunswick Street is the main street and it’s packed with funky cafes and covered in groovy street art. Walking along Brunswick, there’s a feeling of freshness and warmth. It has a buzzing energy about it and there’s a lot to keep you occupied. Step 1: Look at some groovy street art. Step 2: Drink coffee in a funky café. Step 3: Feel young again.

The city earned my instant adoration. In some ways, Melbourne feels very old. You can buy French crepes from a crepe stand, made by some Frenchmen who only speak French. You can buy newspapers from a newspaper stand, run by a woman who only sells newspapers. You can’t get that same vintage vibe here in Adelaide. Where’s the aesthetic in buying a paper from a shitty old newsagent or a crepe from the Pancake Kitchen? On the other hand, Melbourne is remarkably modern. There’s a tongue-in-cheek pizza bar that sells a meat lover’s pizza called the ‘Sausage Fest’. Isn’t there something so appealing about a city which has the best of both worlds?

Words by Jordan Leovic

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