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I haven’t posted in a while. I’ll be honest and say I’ve just been working so much and haven’t had time to sit and write, but it’s not just that, I’ve lost my motivation a bit lately. While my life is almost full to bursting with exciting stories to tell, I’d kind of hit a wall with inspiration. It happens every now and again, life gets busy and gets in the way of writing, but when it happens I don’t try and fight it because I know that I’ll always regain my mojo in the end, it just takes time. You can’t force yourself to be inspired and to write beautiful things, it comes naturally or not at all. While I was struggling to express the beautiful sides of life through this blog, something awful happened, something painful and sad and devastating. I may have been struggling with the words to express the happier situations in my life, but once I started typing my feelings of anger and hurt at the dangerous assault on my favourite city and it’s people last week, the words just wouldn’t stop.

For those who don’t know what happened, on Friday five people including a baby boy died in a horrific incident in Melbourne’s busiest shopping centre. A man went on a rampage around the city after allegedly stabbing his brother, mowing people down with his car and leaving 31 people in hospital. For those who were around the shopping centre at the time – including myself and several friends of mine – it was a scary, confusing and devastating experience. I was just about to start work and was walking past the incident as around 20-30 police cars went tearing along the tramlines in the pedestrianised areas to try and stop the man. Police helicopters were circling and police were screaming at onlookers to get away as quickly as possible. Luckily I worked nearby so I could find shelter in the hotel, at this point we had no idea what had happened with vague reports of a shooting/stabbing and a lot of misinformation. My first fear when I saw the police reaction was that it could be a bomb or some kind of terrorist attack, lack of information put this fear straight into my mind.

But I don’t want to dwell too much on what happened, instead I want to focus on what really horrified me that day. While the man’s actions were terrifying and have left the whole city unnerved, it was the actions of the onlookers that really showed me a dark side of humanity. As I ran up the street towards work I was dodging between people who preferred to stand on their phones recording every second of the incident, ignoring police advice to move to safety and choosing instead to share it on social media. A friend of mine was right in the middle of the incident and dived straight into help the injured people – he was brave and selfless in that moment, ending up covered in blood and just grateful he could help stop the bleeding from a man’s head injury. He was kind and patient despite his fears for his own safety and I find that incredibly inspiring. As with all the people who stepped up and helped save lives or to protect their fellow man that day – the ones who stopped and cared. My friend has since received word that the man he helped is safe and recovering in hospital.imageBut less inspiring was the man who stood right behind my friend and videoed the whole thing – instead of helping to stop the bleeding and to tend to those who were seriously injured he preferred to stand there and capture what was happening. I know we live in a modern age where camera phones open up the world to all of us to be the journalists and to share every bit of news at a flick of a button. But just as I always felt uncomfortable reporting the news from a desperate situation when I felt I could be helping to ease the pain and suffering of others, I find it disgusting that people would prioritise social media sharing and Snapchatting attacks on mankind over helping to save lives. Have we really reached a point where sharing an experience is more important that protecting a human life? While this experience may have inspired me to write about my anger and pain, I still don’t see how sharing it could ever be more important than protecting lives. Since Friday, countless people have flocked to Bourke Street Mall to lay flowers and messages of strength, love and compassion. This really makes you see the other side of humanity – the warmth that helps the world to move on and heal after such an incident.

It’s times like these when people need to put down their smart phones and to come together, because that’s what is really important. The love you feel from the other side of the world when friends and family message to check you are okay, the love you share when your best friend’s safety is your first thought as an incident happens, the love you feel from co-workers who rant and cry and understand the pain of others. It’s so easy to get caught up in the modern world we live in and to forget to break it down to the most basic and most important things – those around us who make our lives worth living, those individuals whose lives and presence we treasure more than anything. After hearing about the death of a Lynn legend – Juggling Jim – back at home, it shows more than ever the love for this character. The outpourings of sadness on social media at his death, he brought light into the lives of others and will be sadly missed. His spot on Lynn High Street will never be filled and his memory will be treasured.

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580161_10151456511187617_100428838_nBeing a journalist hasn’t given some people the best reputation in the last couple of years, but that doesn’t mean that journalism is a bad career choice. If anything, I say that journalism has opened countless doors for me and has given me some awesome opportunities over the last few years. There are lots of amazing things about the job – you get to work with people which is perfect for social butterflies like myself, you get the chance to hear amazing stories first-hand and have the privilege of sharing them with the world, the trust that your readers and those sharing their stories place in you. There are a lot of tougher sides of the job as well, like having to write a tribute to one of your former best friends after a horrible accident, but that is why I think it is important to enjoy the good parts.488260_10151030389642617_308764103_nI know some don’t agree with getting freebies through journalism, but this is one of my favourite parts of the job – the privilege and extras that come with it. Journalism opens you up to a world of opportunities that you would never have had otherwise, and that is something I love about it.I know a fair few journalists who never really take advantage of the extras in the job, which personally I think is a shame considering how low paid so many journalists are. I know some won’t agree, but I tend to look at it as the tips a waitress would get. This is just a bonus to the job and, as a bit of a blagger, I don’t mind asking – I always figure if you don’t ask you don’t get. Which is clear from how many amazing things I have been lucky enough to gain – I always ask the question. So what have been my best blags and the top experiences my job has given me?

  1. My top has got to be weekend tickets to an incredible electronic dance music festival, Glade Festival, that was right on my doorstep. It was only my second festival and this experience really showed me how much I love festivals, plus it gave me a taste for reviewing and writing about festivals which then led to my work at This Festival Feeling.
  2. Close behind was tickets to Wyndstock – a Midsummer Ball, another festival, this time a more upmarket one with swing dancing, posh banquets and a fake fox-hunt – it was so much fun and again gave me a great opportunity to write about festivals. As did free tickets to the first Zoo Project Festival.
  3. I have just booked in to write a feature on a circus that is coming to town – how better to do it than to have a lesson from a Mexican high-wire expert who has been walking the wire since he was six-years-old and to interview him?
  4. Tickets to the theatre – I have pre-written and reviewed various shows at theatres across the area over the last few years. All brilliant experiences and, as a big theatre-lover, have helped me develop a working relationship with the various theatre groups because I have actually seen their work.
  5. Tickets to the ballet – a stunning night watching Swan Lake as a thanks for giving a series of write-ups to another theatre and free tickets to music events in the town.
  6. Taking on a new local bootcamp for a feature was brilliant fun and I got to take along a group of mates to get really muddy as we tried to complete an obstacle course and had a boxercise class.
  7. I’ve got another coming up – this one is Loopy Ball, which is also for a group of mates and it football but inside giant blow up balls – should be funny and I’m looking forward to it.
  8. Getting to interview and meet theatre, music and TV stars is an amazing bonus of the job and running the entertainment section, I’ve been pretty lucky.
  9. Priority screenings of the pantomime – I love a Christmas panto, and getting invited along, with my family in tow, to watch it before anyone else has is pretty good fun. Priority tickets are always a winner – running the entertainment section means I always know first when a great comedian or show is coming to town and I can usually reserve tickets.
  10. A fantastic Glamping trip with my girls as part of a review.

250010_10151043161977617_225305037_nOf course, we’re not all in it for the freebies, we do it for the love of the job and a passion for reporting news. But, being a journalist is a stressful job with constant deadlines, you work hard and if opportunities come up I don’t think we should be afraid to snap them up. Much like bloggers accepting gifts of review products. There’s plenty more I haven’t listed – so budding journalists, if anyone tells you that you are making a mistake with your career – why not ask them if their job gives them the chance to do all of these amazing things?

What’s the best freebie you’ve ever had through work? Are you thinking about going into journalism?

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