Here we are, edition eight. The final countdown. Last days. Season finale.
We really want to go out with a bang, so we ask you to write that thing you’ve been itching to get out for us now. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re not too sure about your idea, send us a pitch first and we can talk you through it!
However, if you’re stuck for ideas, take a squiz at the content ideas below. They might help inspire you to write that amazing investigative journalism/feature/short story/opinion article!
The deadline is Sunday 28 September. And that’s the last chance you’ll have in 2014 to be in Farrago! Speak now, or forever hold your peace/piece…
When writing, please remember to use the Farrago Style Guide.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Read an article in Farrago you disagree with? Not happy with something going on at uni or within the student union? Or perhaps you want to offer praise to your favourite writers and illustrators? Feel free to send us a letter (we accept anything between 10 and 200 words).
Letters to the editor: We love hate mail. Compliments are nice too, I guess. This is the easiest place for you to get published. We accept anything between 10 and 200 words.
Calendar: Do you know of any key events coming up on campus next month? Let us know and we’ll pop them in our calendar.
Declassified: The University of Melbourne is an institution with a vast and bizarre backstory. Tangled in its folds are stories of East Timorese refugees hiding out in Union House, radio stations concealed in the walls, and eerie basement rooms overflowing with animals. Each issue we want to investigate a new facet of the university’s history. We’re always keen to hear weird Unimelb stories, even if you don’t want to write it.
For & Against: Every issue, we want two writers to face off against each other over a certain issue. We’re happy for this section to cover anything—from deep philosophical or religious questions, to debates about toasted cheese sandwiches.
Infographics: Do you know how to make infographics? If so, please let us know. We want you.
Business Improvement Program: If you haven’t already heard of it, this overhaul of the university’s system is set to change errythang. Come talk to us about running an investigation on it. Let’s blow this wide open.
Fee deregulation: What’s the haps here? How do academics, professionals and students feel about it now that it’s been introduced into the lower house? Report on the biggest higher ed story of the year.
Stupol: Good o’l student politics. What’s going on with the factions these days? Find out the latest—there’s bound to be something interesting and/or juicy you can report on!
Academia: Have a chat to some of your lecturers and ask about some interesting research they’ve been doing. The government and the university pour shit-tons of money into this stuff, so it’s gotta be worth something, right? Ask them what they’re doing, why it’s important, and what kind of impact it will have on society.
Tram coffee: A new coffee shop has popped up at the Swanston St tram stop. Chat to the owner and find out how business is.
Tram inspectors targeting students?: Speaking of trams, PTV employees always seem to be positioned at the Melbourne Uni tram stops. Find out how many fines the PTV dishes out to students. Do students fare evade? Why?
Climate referendum: 350.org are holding a ‘referendum’, inviting students and staff to vote for Melbourne University to divest from investing in fossil fuels. Track the poll’s progress and see if it leads to anything.
Melbourne Uni sport: Finals time is approaching for football teams. And the cricket season is about to commence. That’s not to mention hockey, netball, basketball, gridiron, and the 50 other sports that get played here. GIve us an update on what’s happening just north of Tin Alley.
iTutes: The Academic Skills Unit run iTutes. What are they, and are they effective?
Summer subjects: What exciting subjects are being run over the summer break? Is there anything new on offer that will convince students to sacrifice their holidays?
Victorian State Elections: Try to talk to some of the candidates, especially candidates in swing seats, or in the seat of Melbourne. What are they key issues in this election? What is each party trying to do with their campaign? IMPORTANT: Talk to us before contacting any MPs or candidates. We don’t want anyone being pestered by too many student writers at once.
Commercial Surrogacy: What is it? Who uses it? How does it work? More importantly, what are the cases for and against it being made legal in Australia
What happens to student politicians?: Do student politicans try to make it to the big time after their Union stiny finishes? Chat to an ex-President or Secretary of the Union and find out what they did next? Do current student politicians want to go into ‘real politics’ anytime soon?
Gamification of Education: We ‘90s kids grew up in an era where technology and internet use was rapidly growing with us. Just under ten years ago, brick-like mobile phones were confiscated from class-rooms, whereas these days, they (along with tablets and laptops) provide students with means of accessing university websites, search engines, and other useful tools 24/7. Recent debate regarding this has centred around the gamification of education—the use of computer games to educate youth. The One Laptop Per Child foundation(OLP C) even sent English-language tablets to Ethiopian (non-english speaking) children to see if they could work out how to function the devices and learn elements of English language based on the installed software without any help (which they did). Did you learn anything from video games as a child? Could technology ever render human teachers redundant? Do some research into the value of video games as teaching tools and let us know what you find.
Tap into the brains of Melbourne’s experts: Inside the walls of Melbourne Uni, there are some fascinating people. At a talk I went to recently, a staff member who worked on the Malaysia solution defended the policy to a group of refugee rights activists. And I’m sure there are plenty of others around who have played critical roles in the success and failures of recent Australian governments.
Reality TV: This year alone, I know two people from high school who are on the Bachelor and Big Brother. Do you know anyone who has been on a reality TV show before? Interview them and discuss what their lives are like post-TV show. For example, if they went on Masterchef or The Amazing Race 5 years ago- is their life any different today? Do people judge them or still recognize them? Is it all as scripted as they say?
Avoiding protestors: How did Tony Abbott so successfully avoid the student politicans last Friday? What tactics did his staff, the police, and Melbourne Uni’s security personnel use to slip into the building so sneakily? Investigate… or write us a joke article.
Big Buildings: The Melbourne skyline is about to get really really tall. We will have 23 buildings over 200m within the coming years. Look into the literal growth of Melbourne.
Sperm donation: Have you or one of your classmates ever donated sperm?
PNG and/or East Timor: They’re closer to Australia than New Zealand yet nobody really knows anything about them. Get some dirt on our closest neighbours. Talk to students who used to live there. Get in touch with some organisations that work in those regions.
Renewable energy: In order to fight climate change, many prominent people and groups suggest that Australia and the world increase their reliance on renewable energy. What does this look like, and how achievable is this in the short term? Are solar and wind technologies affordable enough yet? If not, what steps needs to be taken for these to be viable alternatives?
Cults: Do you know anybody involved with a cult, or a weird religious or non-religious sect? We want you to hear about it.
Terror Level High: Give us some fake (very obviously fake) reasons why Australia is on a high terror alert.
DIY: Do you know a fun, cheap and easy way to create something useful and/or beautiful? Now is your time to shine! Write us a DIY about absolutely anything – how to turn a thrift shop dress into a cute matching set, how to knit your own plant holders, how to build a bookcase out of wine bottles. Hit us with your best skills!
Death of the iPod: The iPod classic has met its maker. Write an obituary to one of this century’s most important inventions.
Lecturer doppelgangers: Some dude I had today looked like Julian assange. What other lecturer doppelgangers are floating around campus?
Talk to a graduate: Interview some people who finished studying at Melbourne last year. Where are they now? Is it possible for graduates to find jobs without doing post-grad? Are graduate positions all they’re hyped up to be? Is earning money better than the good life at Uni?
The Facebook algorithm: Facebook promotes certain pieces of content above others using a very tricky formula. Work out what it is. A writer for Wired liked everything on Facebook for two days and some weird stuff happened. If you’re game, maybe you try something similar…
Puzzles! Assessment season is upon us, and that means it’s procrastination season too. Create some nifty UniMelb/Farrago related puzzles, like crosswords, word searches and or a spot the difference.
Assessment Challenge: Write us up a drinking game based around essays and assessment. Eg. drink every time there’s a sentence over 25 words long, or every time you use the word ‘thus’.
Cricket seasons approaching: Preview the upcoming cricket season. I honestly can’t remember who’s in the team anymore.
Graduation Ceremonies: Many of us will be graduating a few weeks after this comes out. Write us something about these ceremonies. Are they worthwhile or a waste of time?
Lunchbox: We’ve reached the end of another year, and chances are we’ve packed lunch to Uni a total of 6 times (and each time it was a peanut butter sandwich). Calling all connoisseurs: compile a list of easy-to-make, time-efficient and mess-free lunches/snacks that your fellow students can take to Uni in a final attempt to save money for the summer.
Emoji Diet: A writer has survived a week eating only food represented by emojis. Could you do something similar? Perhaps go a weekend undertaking as many activities represented by emojis as possible? Or attempt the diet yourself?
Misconceptions: Have any of you ever read the ‘Popular Misconceptions’ Wikipedia page? Write a short piece about the best few.
Men’s Rights: See if any Men’s Rights Activists are willing to talk to you. Try to find out where they’re coming from and what they’re on about.
Didn’t You Know That? What are some things that everyone should know but many people don’t? Do you know how honey is made? Where ducks lay eggs?
Summer Suggestions: Lots of people will be jetting overseas or to exotic summer locations but what fun/quirky things can we do locally? Like the repurposed old church building in Cranbourne that’s now a Taco Bell. Think of some adventurous ideas for what you can do over you summer break that won’t break the budget but will also lend itself to some killer memories.
New Years/Christmas: It is the end of the year after all. Write us something about Xmas or New Years and why they are awful/awesome.
Talented students: Got a friend or classmate who is secretly very talented/smart? Interview them. We want to profile some brilliant students.
ARTS & REVIEWS
Please Like Me: Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me has been an Australian success and was premiered in America in August. There aren’t many Australian TV shows that make it to America, so what makes Please Like Me so special? Is it an accurate reflection of life as a twenty-something year old?
Ageing With The Role: The recently released ‘Boyhood’ was famously filmed over the course of 12 years, so that the actor could age with his role. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen though. The Harry Potter case aged with their characters, as did the actors on long-running tv series like Friends. Write us up something about other prominent examples.
Big Brother: This show won’t die. Take us through the history of Big Brother, why it’s such a success and why people love watching a whole lot of nothing on TV.
The Good Old Days: People sometimes whinge that music “back then” is better than the shit we have today, citing the pop drivel that dominates the charts. But while we remember The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and the like, surely a lot of garbage was popular back then. How does this compare to today’s garbage, and also the good stuff that’s going on now?
Delirious poetry: Write a poem as you are on the verge of sleep. Try writing a line a day as you are both falling asleep and/or waking up.
Finding your narrative voice: Many protagonists have distinctive narrative voices, for example The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caufield or A Clockwork Orange’s Alex. The beauty of these unique protagonists is that by keeping the tone and idiosyncrasies of the narrative voice consistent, their authors create a credible, fictional world. To get a feel for writing in a consistent narrative voice, observe a situation and write a journal entry as a character, like Holden, who is already known for their distinct voice.
Homophonic translation: Take a poem in a foreign language. You don’t need to understand the poem you just need to be able to sound it out phonetically. Translate the sound of the poem into English (e.g. French “blanc” to English “blank” or “toute” to toot). Some examples include, Louis and Celia Zukofsky’s Catullus and David Melnick’s Homer at Eclipse.
Scottish Independence: Once the results are in on Friday, Scotland may or may not become a sovereign nation. Write us up a post-referendum analysis.
Copywrite Law: Copyright laws can’t seem to keep up with digital and technological advances. Music, film and television, and even ebooks are being pirated at ever-increasing levels. Should we resign ourselves to piracy and give up the idea of intellectual property, or can we find a way to ensure that creators are paid?
Having It All: The issue of women ‘having it all’ and finding a ‘work/life balance’ is a popular discussion point in the public sphere. Surely this is an issue that affects us all, so why is this issue not often (or not as often) extended to men? What underlying assumptions are at work here?
News Values: Us media-savvy may know a little bit about why some issues are news over others. So why do we care more about the life-saving surgery of George the goldfish than yet another innocent hostage being murdered by an ISIL member? Give us a rationale for a new way of shaping news value and suggest through what mechanisms this might be achieved.
Out with Apple? There seems to be an equal amount of hype and suspicion about Apple’s new watch. Apple enthusiasts are excited but your ordinary, level-headed person seems to think it’s just going to be replaced in a year’s time. They’re also getting rid of the iPod Classic which has been around since the beginning. How do you feel about the development of Apple products and the public’s response to them? Perhaps write an informative piece with humour and some personal anecdotes.
Victorian Greens: There is a strong possibility that the Greens will pick up a lower house seat in the Victorian parliament for the first time this November. Assuming this occurs, what role can the Greens play in a potential balance of power, what will their relationship to the two big parties be, and can they have an effective long-term voice in the parliament?