Follow-up on Fallout: Lanius.

A little while ago, I posted about a fan film being made here in sleepy Perth. If you’re a fan of the Fallout games, or if you appreciate creative people getting together to do some awesomeness, now is your chance to help them out!

They are asking for your help to keep the set alive! With an IndieGogo endeavour, a Facebook page, and their own blog, these guys are intent on keeping people in the loop about their progress and keeping it real. They’re not looking for all of your cash (though I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you felt the compulsion), but every little bit helps.

For the record, I am not affiliated with these guys in any way, other than being a fan of awesomeness. I just think we ought to get behind those teams of people who seek glory on the battlefield of fan films!

Ahem… Yes. Assist them in any way possible. Even $5 helps.

If you can’t assist financially, they still need to know you support what they are trying to do, so head to their blog to keep up with all that’s happening on set, and check out their Facebook page for more updates and to ask them questions about it all. Spread the word!

Online Students: What Do We Want?

I’m finally going to write a little a bit about my studies. It seems that not only do a lot of people still feel that online learning and, by default, external learning, is a bit of a cop out, but they really don’t understand what it is that I am studying and how it can lead to anything in the future. Also, I would like to start documenting my intentions for this magical piece of paper I’ve been working towards, and noticing when or if those aspirations change.

First things first: What is it I am studying?

Head of Internet Studies Dept. Prof. Matthew Allen at the Curtin Uni Open Day. For license and info:

I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Arts in Internet Communication through Curtin University (and I’m not supplying these details for kudos or cash FYI). As it stands, Curtin University is the only Uni in Australia that has a dedicated Internet Studies department, which I find particularly strange considering the ubiquitous nature the Internet has these days. I started my line of study through Open University Australia, because it offered a delivery system that I could work around the rest of life. Also, I have to admit, the university system, to one who hasn’t wrangled it is daunting and more than a little intimidating. Given that OUA offered a HECS-style payment system, it also worked in with my available cash flow (ergo: nil), meaning I could study towards getting an awesome job (as yet to be decided upon) and then pay it all back, which I am cool with. Other students find that the more flexible study times, due to the delivery system, are the key to their choice. It allows them to work their study in and around parenting and work commitments.

I am learning about interactions online, why people have flocked to it (and continue to), the issues surrounding online practices and privacy concerns, how writing for an online audience is a little different to writing for an offline one, and how society can find balance between the two “worlds”. It may not sound like much, or its relevance may not be immediately apparent to you, but it is these kinds of studies that will allow people such as myself to develop better practices for the future world in which we all become cybermen, symbiotically attached to our tech… wait a minute! 🙂

I still have just over a year to go of my BA at which point, depending on my grades, I will think about Honours. And, just because I’m crazy and have obviously taken leave of my senses, a PhD application may be thrown in for good measure. Because I can… Or might be able to… Hopefully…

What do I hope to achieve with all of this?

I want to keep researching what is making people tick. Ever since I was a young’un, I’ve been interested in why people like what they like, why they do what they do and what can be done to make people happier. Some days, this comes from a kind of altruistic intention to make the world a better place… If only for myself. I want people to stop their whining (myself included) by aiding them in finding what it is they want or need out of life. Also, realistically a virtual world is only going to become more integrated with “reality” (whatever that is these days) and, as such, if I want to have a place in that multi-world, I need to carve a place out now. I’m not super smart, or a massive tech head. I’m not an engineer and I don’t have a really good head for creative coding (plain and simple stuff I could probably deal with, if I could be bothered updating my language skills, which I can’t), so it’s not likely that I will be heading a development team bringing you the latest installment of what Google Glass aims to be in the future.

What I will be able to give you (at least once I’ve finished all this study) is an in-depth analysis of why your ideas (or their ideas, or that platform for interaction, or … whatever!)failed and what you can do next time to get people to flock to them. I will be able to tell the world why they need to assess what it is they aim to gain from electronically-delivered engagement systems (because the phrase “online worlds’ be become obsolete – stay tuned for my book on that in a few years’ time), in order to spend their precious time, effort and cash in the right places. I will be able to authoritatively show people why employing current slow thinking (as in it takes more than a few months to get an idea out there and have it accepted – look at pressure start-up groups and their success if you don’t believe me) for a world that is changing so fast is a dumb idea (this may also involve revolutionising the way we peer-review stuff, but we have to aim high, right?).

So, online learning vs on-campus learning. Is there even a contest?

Firstly, let me dispel the myth of online learning being easy. It is NOT. Plain and simple. You have to be self-motivated. You have to search out your own community groups if you want to really engage with the material and ideas presented. You have to maintain that level of stamina, all without the scheduled-out-for-you, spoon-feeding that on-campus learning can give you and you have to do so all by yourself. If you don’t have that drive, you’ve got no hope. If you can’t find it in yourself to keep going when you have to do a unit with a university that hasn’t fully understood what it means to provide an online unit, then the chances of you completing your studies are very slim. More on this later. If you can’t handle being interrupted by people who don’t see your head in a book or you typing on a computer as “real study” (I’m talking parents, children, partners, friends who drop in, everyone!), and you can’t tell them to please respect your study time, then you’re going to fail. No sugar coating it. You will.

Using online tools are only useful if they actually offer students something that they need or want from their study. Online tools are only as good as the education they offer. If tutors are not engaging with their students or if the unit materials are not accessible, then what good is the delivery system?

Just waiting for the Quickening. For license and info:

Too many times I have heard from students studying units with various universities. That the tutors don’t answer questions sent to them either by the internal mail system or through discussion boards which serve for many as online tutorials. That some units relying on web-based materials, meaning digital copies of papers or articles, have broken links or resources that just cannot be found at all! Simply copying a paper-bound university unit to a digital format does not making an online learning environment. An online student is, unfortunately, at a disadvantage when it comes to finding resources that are not published in a digital format. If your unit still relies on bound text books that an on-campus student would be able to check out of a library, you are doing your online students a dis-service. If you don’t have reliable checks and balances to make sure that your students are receiving the education they have paid for, then you are failing your students. I’m not talking about providing customer service for students. I think this opinion that universities are no longer the bastions of education and research they once were, is a little misguided and black-and-white. So what if students are expecting some kind of a ROI (Return on Investment) in regards to their education? This doesn’t mean that the primary role of a university can’t still be research and attainment of knowledge. It just means that those who help invest in that gathering expect a little something for their investment. The world isn’t as Highlander (“There can be only one!”) as some people would like to make out.

Soooooo… what do students employing online methods of study want?

Candy? Medals? A shiny pony? Not really. Although, having said that, I’d never look a gift horse in the mouth (sorry, I had to).

We expect a system that values us as students. As GENUINE students. We want tutors and lecturers who actually care that we can get and understand the material they are using to facilitate our knowledge. We aren’t expecting our degrees or diplomas to be handed to us on a silver platter. We expect to have to work for them, but no more than on-campus students. By undertaking externals studies we accept that we need to think and act differently to on-campus students, but we still want to be awarded the same level of engagement that on-campus students expect. Though, in saying that, I have heard a LOT of complaints from on-campus students saying there’s a decline in the amount of teachers giving a crap about classes… That may be a rant for another time.

We expect that when we are told that there is no text book required for the unit (as in my experience often happens) that we will be able to access all of the required readings for that unit online.  It’s no fun to play if we can’t get our hands on books or chapters because they don’t exist online. And, as a tutor, please don’t try to tell us it isn’t your responsibility to make sure your students have the resources. If a complaint is made that students cannot access the resources from anywhere online (the university’s library, Google, Amazon and the network of resource pirates out there), then it’s not that they don’t have the resources, your resource list needs revision. You need to make sure your students can actually find the resources so they can understand your lectures and complete assignments.

Which brings me to another point. When studying contemporary issues, such as politics or even Internet Studies, we expect that the topics being covered are from the past four or five years, and even then, it’s a stretch. Ultimately, we’d like within the past two to three. History is history and contemporary is now. Now, I understand the peer-review process is what universities and researchers live and die by, but it is long in the tooth and takes oh so long. I don’t have the answer. I wish I did, really, but the current peer-review process takes far too long to get actual contemporary resources into the hands of students. Think about it this way. It takes up anywhere in the realm of five years to research a PhD. Then it gets submitted for review… Now, I’m no mathematician, but that sure does add up to a lot of time in my mind. Not to mention that a lot may have changed in the world in that time. Now, if you’re doing a science (excluding computer sciences) or mathematics line of study, it’s fairly certain that you’ll be fine. Not much changes quickly there. 1+1 will always equal 2 … unless it doesn’t, in which case it’s already been proven and you can read up on it. If you’re in the Arts, some fields stay moderately constant while others change incredibly fast. My particular field of study looks to be changing and growing at a pace that the peer-review system can’t stay in step with. This causes problems for those of us looking to only use peer-reviewed articles and publications for our work. I am sure you can understand the frustration built up by trying to find something relevant written in the past two or three years when everything written in that time frame is still under review, or not widely accepted yet.

We ask that universities don’t try to charge us for services we cannot use. Yes, we are glad that should be able to we can use the physical library, or the student services centre or any of the wonderful services your on-campus students have access to. Personally, I am in something of a rare position amongst my external study peers, in that I am able to get to my university’s campus. Most of the other students I know who have been studying through external studies live too far away from their university to make use of the facilities. Some don’t even live in the same state! I think there needs to be more work done into as to what services a university might actually provide their external students that will benefit them, rather than assuming they require the same services as on-campus students.

A silly cap, a smile and a piece of paper. License and info:

We really really really (as in “cannot stress this enough”) need a checks and balances system outside of individual institutions, making sure that the level of education, educators and materials is sufficient to facilitate learning. We aren’t asking for our learning to be spoon-fed to us. We want to have to seek our own understanding, but we need to know that the help will be there if we simply don’t understand a concept or ideology. Universities and providers like OUA do their best with regular surveys asking how we felt the particular unit was delivered. Sadly, these do not seem to make a lick of difference when the same units receive the same complaints, or the same tutors receive the same complaints made against them, study period after study period. It’s not that we want studying to be easy, but we need to know there is some degree of accountability for our educators. I suspect this is a universal issue, rather than an online-specific one.

If you are in education, please understand that the world you may have learned in is changing. This means that older methods of thinking also need to change, in order to keep the pace. If you are a student or are considering undertaking online study, be patient with your institution. They may not understand the “game now. They may never understand it properly but unless you give them the chance and  provide them with appropriate feedback, they will never understand how to provide properly for the brave new world.

Doing It All… and then some…

The issue of pressure upon women to “do it all” crops up occasionally in the media. Generally, it’s when some idiot journalist hasn’t bothered to do their homework and get some good questions for the female-celebrity-with-children of the moment, so returns to the age-old “How do you manage it all?” questions.

In my mind, yes women are expected to be driven in their careers, run a well-oiled machine of a household, get the kids to school on time (clean, ironed uniform is optional these days), hang out with their friends, be a loving and supportive partner and still make it to the gym, do the grocery shopping and not forget a breakfast meeting conference call.

The real question is: who is doing all this expecting? Is it society? The families? Work colleagues? Or is it a case of the women themselves thinking they should be able to do it all, not realising that they’re placing that pressure upon themselves to Do It All? I honestly believe, against the flow once again, that it is this latter option, and it’s time we woke up to ourselves.

There is a lot of talk in the self-help books available everywhere, about saying “No” when people make a request of your time and/or effort. Guess what? Sometimes you need to do that to yourself. We can’t Do It All. Even if you had a healthy amphetamine habit (which, for the record, I am NOT proposing you resort to), there are still only 24 useable hours in every day and for at least some of those, you need to be pretending to be asleep (if so only to maintain the humanoid facade). So why can’t we Do It All?


There comes a time in your life when, contrary to how you feel in your teens and twenties, that something’s got to give. You know that if you keep giving and giving, pretty soon there’ll be nothing left for you. Sometimes, you need to think about what you actually get out of all the things you have signed up for and assess if they’re giving back to you something comparable to what you put in.

Obviously, work is work and we need to do it in order to pay the bills and keep that roof over our head. If you have no job, I’m going to be sorry to be the one to tell you, but you really ought to be looking for one or taking on training to get one. There. Unpopular opinion for today. If there is not a GOOD reason you are not working (and I’m not talking about not being able to find a job after actually really putting yourself out there for all the available positions you might even vaguely be qualified for and some that you’re so not, or having a disability that absolutely 100% means you cannot work), or taking it upon yourself to make yourself more attractive to employers (and no, getting your hair and nails done is NOT what I mean by this),then you’re not giving back to society. If you’re unnecessarily not giving back to society, then you’re bludging off the system and deserve to be made to clean the green ways between highways and the such to earn that pittance (and yes, I admit that welfare is a pittance and only barely covers the true cost of living, but surely you don’t need those cigarettes if you can’t make payment of bills on time?) they call welfare. Ahem. But I digress.

Education should be a priority to anyone who feels they cannot get a job in the current employment conditions. It should be a focus to anyone who wants a better job. Hell, if you’re bored, go learn something! There are so many assistance packages out there for those who are unemployed and want to go and learn that the only excuse I can see for not being able to afford to learn is you’re in a dead-end job that refuses to pay you enough to go and learn. Having said that, sometimes it takes a great deal of courage to undergo training when the rest of life is falling down around you. That is when you need to re-evaluate and see if the long-term goals you have set for yourself as a result of this learning you’re undertaking are going to truly enrich your life as much as you imagine. If not, then maybe it’s time you re-assessed your work study load (take a study period or semester off and give yourself some breathing space), or drop it altogether and try something else.

Friends, if they’re real friends, will understand no seeing you so much if you have too much on your plate. Plus, with pretty much everyone having access to the Internet and/or a mobile phone, there’s no way you can’t take a quick few minutes to send a friend a text message or FaceBook message to let them know you’re alive and thinking about them.

That hobby you signed up for last summer? Is it still doing something for you? Would your life be significantly less worth living if you cancelled out of it?

Do your kids really need to attend ALL of those meets? Does your partner really need you by their side during ALL those work functions? Are there little largely regular events that you can drop out of in order to give yourself time to go and have that bubble bath once a month?

I think what I am trying to say is: You Can’t Do It All And that’s Okay! Do what you can.

Make others pick up for themselves. Teach your kids to use the washing machine, wash the dishes, make breakfast for themselves. Make a family calendar and rather than asking for babysitting duties from the grandparents, ask if they can attend something for your kids, or drive them to a meet once a week. Not only will you get an hour to yourself, but your kids will get dedicated grandparent time. It’ll be a Good Thing.

Think you have to be the Super Parent and win all those (non-existent) awards? I have news for you: No one is keeping score. You don’t get a prize for killing yourself in the name of Doing It All. What you do get is increase anxiety, increased chance of heart failure, stress disorders and a significantly lowered quality of life. If you have kids, how is that being a good role model? Newsflash: It isn’t.

Right. So now you’ve heard all of my ranting, I’d really like to hear what you’ve done in the last little bit to ensure that you’ve regained a little work/life/family balance. Comment below, or head to my FaceBook page where the conversation is also taking place.

The Australian Internet Filter.

All the cool kids are doing it, so why not me?


Just in case you haven’t heard of what this is. Let me recap. In essence, the Australian government has already started paving the road for a mandatory internet filter of the internet for all Australian citizens. There will be a secret blacklist for sites that will be banned, which no one has access to. There is no real recourse if your site ends up on the list to get it off. There is no real disclosure on what might get your site onto this list, suffice to say the official line is: “Items refused classification”. This could anything deemed illegal, immoral or otherwise.

There’s that curly word again… Immoral. It’s a word that makes my skin curl. I am all for deciding that illegal thing should be banned. Child pornography, bestiality, those such things. But how do I know that even typing those words won’t get my site on the blacklist? But what if I have a site about polyamory? Homosexual health issues? There are some that would consider that immoral. Who is to say that what I am saying is or isn’t immoral? Who has control over the list?

Another issue that has not really been brought up has been the implications on academic internet research. Those researching potentially “suspect” subjects may find that they are not able to access such sites that contain articles concerning such things. Where will that leave our universities and other researchers?

What I am afraid of is this being just yet another extension of the Blame Game. What’s that, I hear you say? What I call the Blame Game is people suggesting the magical “someone” should that magical “something” about whatever. There is a trend that is growing in the world that we do not want to take responsibility for our own actions. Suing a major technological corporation over false advertising is one thing, but suing them if you were surfing, got dumped by a wave and ended up in a wheelchair claiming they needed to erect signs warning about the dangers of the surf is another thing. Take responsibility for your actions people!

In the same way, parents arguing that the internet has become too ubiquitous and “someone” needs to do “something” about keeping the children safe is just another attempt to forgo some hard-line parenting and discipline. I am not suggesting that you do not allow you children to use the internet at all, although if that works for you, go for it. What I am saying is educate your children on the right way to use it. Yes, that may mean NOT using the computer as a substitute for the babysitting television. Yes, that may mean actually sitting down with your children and using the computer with them. Yes, it may even mean that you have to go and educate yourself on safe internet practises. Heavens forbid you actually have to take time out of your schedule for the betterment and protection of your children! You decided to have kids. Go wild and actually be a parent to them. Stop using the magical “someone” and “something” to fix all your problems.

Why should adults be told what they can and cannot view? Australia already has some of what are viewed to be the most strict censorship guidelines in the western world. Surely we don’t need more restrictions? We seem to be making a bee-line for the ultra restrictive days of the 1930s where books were banned under the Indecent Publications Act (look up the first book to be banned: ‘Upsurge’ by J.M. Harcourt) for having communist tendencies and immoral leanings (yes, there’s that word again).

Even beyond that frightening trend is the fact that this filter will not stop future governments from banning to their own agenda. With the increasing power pressure groups such a Family First and others, developing significant say in the parliament through members we can only project that the future in one in line more and more with seemingly science-fiction films as Equilibrium and V for Vendetta. Harsh? Idealistic? You think? We see in other countries that panic spreads amongst people and they rally to a previously uncharismatic leader who finds strength in the people’s “time of need” (post 9/11 fiasco). We see that a coupe in Australian politics (K-Rudd vs Gillard) is viewed with disgust but no real outrage. We in Australia have become so terribly disconnected from our government that most are still unaware that decisions are being made in the parliament despite politicians not having read senate inquiry reports, not even waiting for them to be published before the vote is tabled!

“The concept of the Web is of universal readership.” – Tim Berners-Lee

The sad part is that the Web which runs on the internet, when invented, was never supposed to be ruled over by governments. It was supposed to be a depository for all the collective knowledge of the world. Yes, it may have gone a little out of proportion and out of control, but Tim Berners-Lee was on to a good thing when he said no government or corporation would have control over the whole web.

Make no mistake, this is a far-reaching topic that will go through unless there is a major outcry from those that our politicians supposedly have been elected to represent. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t felt very represented in the parliament of late. What can you do about it? There are a number of on line petitions and such useless ways of making yourself feel like you’ve done something, but if you rally want to do something about this, write your local member or senator a letter or email detailing what your concerns are. Call them. Make them realise that this is an actual problem that they can finally step up and act the valiant politicians just like they dreamed they could.

Want to know more about this topic? Here are a few links for you to take a look at:

The OpenNet Initiative.

The Australian Government Classification website.

The No Clean Feed website. Enemy of the internet: Australia under surveillance for violating online freedoms.

Communications minister Conroy misleading public about the filter.


Image courtesy of Sally06 on Flickr

Do all Perth People Dream of Melbourne?

I had the good fortune of attending the swarm conference in Melbourne this past week.

As I hadn’t had a holiday for a number of years, I decided it would be best to combine the two into a week of pure awesomeness. Holiday plus social media and community manager conference plus catching up with friends equals win. Plain and simple.

I had always planned to go to Melbourne, having seen many a Perthite head over there and blossom, but it was always something that required a good reason rather than just a holiday. I will post separately about the food I experienced over there, choosing this time to just write about the comparison between Perth and Melbourne.

So, here we go:

  1. In Melbourne, when you stand at a pedestrian crossing, the cars actually stop for you. Even if they have right of way. In Perth, they see you as a challenge and will hunt you down.
  2. Those in customer service generally truly want to serve you. The waiters understand that they are the line of first impression, so if they do a good job, people will have a better experience. People in stores genuinely want to assist you in making a good purchase. The people in visitor centers want to help you find your way. The concierge at your hotel, even if they’re new to Melbourne themselves, wants to make sure you have a good stay.
  3. Hook turns don’t freak drivers out and they allow for greater flow of traffic. Put those in Perth and wait for the in flux of emergency casualties.
  4. People in Melbourne want to use the city. In Perth, the city turns into pumpkins come six o’clock in the evening. With spinnafex. For real.
  5. In Melbourne, even if you’re lost you can find something to do. There are little bars and niche places down almost every alley way and turn. In Perth, if you’re lost, you’d better hope and pray you come out of it alive.
  6. In Melbourne the public transport understands that people actually want to use it to get around the city. In Perth, public transport is a sometimes thing, and even then, it’s dodgy at best. You certainly don’t rely on it t get around the city, unless you’re a traveler.
  7. Melbourne has more than three shades of green. Perth has more than three shades of brown.
  8. Deregulated shopping hours have made Melbourne an easier place to work in a life/work balance, as you don’t have to rush around to do your grocery shopping so much. In Perth, we baulked at Sunday City trading.
  9. In Perth, we have three months of vaguely decent temperatures to go wandering around outside in. In Melbourne, they have three months of vaguely unbearable temperatures.
  10. In Melbourne, you know the areas to stay away from if you don’t want to get harassed/violated/king-hit. In Perth, if you don’t want any of those things to happen, you just don’t go to Perth.

Okay, so that’s my comparison. Got other ideas? Think my opinion is wrong? Let me know in the comments below!

Media Pass Student Industry Day – overview.

I had the opportunity this week to attend an event that ordinarily wouldn’t have hit my radar.

It was a day where journalism students could sit in a theater and listen to industry professionals give advice on continuing their blossoming careers and ideas on how to develop a good work ethic in an industry “under attack” (more on this later). Needless to say, as someone who is NOT a journalism student, I felt very much the outsider. An interloper. Despite this, I managed to hold my own and ask a few questions which seemed to make a few peoples ears perk up.
The day was held primarily by The Walkley Foundation and The Media Alliance. If you’re not familiar with these institutes, I strongly suggest you take a look at their websites and do some investigative research. They seem to be in the know when it comes to what’s going on in the journalism world.

There were two presentations I found particularly interesting. Please understand,this is not a criticism to the other presenters. I am not aiming for a career in journalism and so, wouldn’t find career-specifics terribly exhilarating or rewarding. The first was that of Christopher Warren (Media Alliance’s federal secretary) on where he saw the future of journalism to be headed. The second was the keynote speech by journalist for the West Australian, Joe Catanzaro.

The thing that struck me most about Mr Warren’s address was that while he was suggesting that the world of journalism was being disrupted by the Internet, he also suggested that part of the problem was a lack of faith or trust being a continued part of the vicious cycle that was destroying print media. He suggested that Internet media was giving advertisers greater choice for targeted ad placement, leading to declining investment in traditional media (newspaper, radio and the such) thus leading to a decline in print media over all. He said that the factory model of journalism was going to be the death of traditional media whereas the digital model freed journalists from the divides that ordinarily held them in the traditional sector.

He brushed upon the Wikleaks continuing story, naming Julian Assange as a member of the Alliance and crediting the site as an essential tool for future journalism. When probed by someone young upstart from the back of the crowd (any ideas who that might have been?), he said that the attacks on Wikileaks represented an attack on journalism. He may have been lead by the question, “You brushed on Wikileaks for a moment. Do you not think that Wikileaks is simply pushing journalistic source protection and a demand for government transparency into a digital format? Do you see the attacks on Wikileaks as an attack on journalism?” but don’t quote me on that. 😉

He also suggested that the monetisation of blogs was an attempt to find balance in the old school vs digital world and that it, combined with trust and acting under the Code of Ethics, was a way to distinguish journalists from the noise of the internet. I found it a little surprising then, in light of all his previous points, that he did not find hyper-local journalism to be interesting, saying instead that while the future is not certain, the chances were it would fade away.
Onward to Mr Joe Catanzaro’s address, in which he attempted to inspire the students in the room by telling anecdotes from his own career. I have to say, it almost made me question my own career choices and wonder if journalism mightn’t be the thing for me (never fear, dear world. I wouldn’t do that to you).

His advice would seem to apply to many as a great way to live your life:

  • take all the available information from all the people around you.
  • in a world where you can check so much at the click of a mouse button, leg work still counts, as does hard work.
  • keep the passion for the job, even in the dark times.
  • there are 24 useable hours in every day.
  • never say no to a job in the early stages.
  • “right place, right time” still accounts for much of the perceived luck people have.
  • don’t have a sense of entitlement. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean the world owes you anything.
  • instant careers are very rare. Most of the time you have to earn your stripes.
  • be a little bit gutsy, bite off more than you think you can chew.
  • persistence and tenacity will give you more points than plodding along.
  • (if you’re in a media type environment) write something somewhere, anything.
  • be resourceful, think laterally, then be prepared to duck your head.
  • follow the money. If you get stuck on a story, look at flows of money. the story almost always follows the flow of cash.
  • find the right questions to ask. The obvious ones get you no where.
  • learn to steer your way through the grey.
  • be a bit cynical – fact check fact check fact check.
  • talk to people, as in actual face-to-face contact.
  • own up to your mistakes. People will remember you made a mistake, but they’ll also remember that you put your hand up and accepted responsibility for it.
  • observation is everything. People tell you a lot without using words.
  • know when to shut up.
  • read everything.
  • don’t become jaded.

Good advice, I thought.

Why did I attend if I thought it wasn’t going to be any use to me? I shall refer you to the first point in Mr Catanzaro’s list up there: All knowledge is worth having. Remember that.