Edition Seven Content Ideas

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

If there’s anything that tickles your fancy on this content list, email us with a few dot points with the angle you’re planning on taking—we’re open to anything so long as you’ve given it some thought. From there we’ll discuss things like word count, research, interviews, etc. Once we’ve given you the go ahead, the submission deadline is Sunday 31 August.

When writing, please remember to use the Farrago Style Guide.


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.

Illustrations and photos: If you fancy yourself as an artist or photographer, send us your best artistic work. We’d love to publish you! (We are interested in putting together a photo essay of the University of Melbourne in our next edition, so please send us your best photos of the Uni!)


STUDENT ELECTIONS: Students will be hitting the polls from 1-5 September, and we need a few savvy writers to cover this annual event. This is the best journalistic experience you might ever get at uni.

THE REAL ELECTION: Victoria will be hitting the polls on 29 November. The seat of Melbourne is going to be a fight to the death between Labor’s Jennifer Kanis and the Green’s Ellen Sandell. We’ll almost definitely be able to score interviews with them, and the other candidates. Please let us know if you’re keen to conduct some interviews.

STAFF PROTESTING THE BIP: According to the NTEU, university staff protested against the BIP job cuts at Open Day. We didn’t see them, but try to track down some of the people that were involved and why they were protesting. Try to find some non-NTEU members to go on the record too.

STUDENT APPEAL: As part of the ‘Believe’ campaign, the university is raising money for Student Financial Aid. They’re aiming for $18,000 this year. Have a look at how it’s going .

ARTS WEST: Whispers are that Arts West, which the university finished building less than a year ago, is planned for demolition. Look into this rumour. You could potentially be breaking one of our biggest stories of the year.

JOB CUTS: The job losses resulting from the BIP have been said to be the largest ever cutback to staff numbers in Australian university history. Speak to teachers and admin staff who fear for their jobs and unearth the human side of this story.

ARCHITECTURE BUILDING: It’s pretty much done. Look! Explore it, find out what it will be used for, and be the first to graffiti all over its walls. Maybe even review it?

RESEARCH: What are all our researchers up to at the moment? Surely something, right? Do you have any friends doing amazing work for their honours or masters research? Find out what happens within these hallowed walls of ours.

VCA INDIGENOUS ART: The VCA had Indigenous artists teaching their students traditional weaving skills for the first time this month. Find out what the purpose behind this was and how this ties into the University’s promoting Indigenous cultures.

NEW GRADUATE COURSES: Melbourne keeps adding new graduate courses to its handbook, including one in the media comms field to do with content marketing and the new School of Government. Look into the new courses on offer.

STUDENT-SUBSIDISED TRAVEL: Do some investigating around the HR department in charge of dealing with reimbursing staff for university-related travel. See how much money (i.e. student fees) the uni spends reimbursing staff for travel, accommodation, cultural events, etc. It’s always a popular story when you do it to politicians’ accounts, why should university staff not be subjected to the same scrutiny?


#COLLEGELYF: Explore the culture of Melbourne’s colleges. Are they more Hogwarts or Animal House? Are they a world of fun, or unsafe places for vulnerable students? Speak to students who currently live at college to determine what goes on inside these bubbles.

EXPLOITATION: We have received reports of foreign students being exploited on campus for cheap labour. We have a source ready to speak to anybody willing to listen and keen to delve into this issue.

MENTAL HEALTH: With the passing of the well-loved actor and entertainer Robin Williams last month, mental health has been thrown into the spotlight. This has brought to light some starkly differing opinions on the matter of suicide, with some public figures and many tweeters displaying a misunderstanding of mental health issues. Have a look into the matter. Perhaps interview some students who’ve experienced depression, anxiety, and related issues (and perhaps even some experts in this area). What avenues can those who need help take? Is there are a significant mental health support and treatment system in Australia? Give Farrago readers as much insight into the realities of mental health as you can.

STUDENTS AND GAZA: Look at the various student groups and the Israel/Gaza issue. You can chat to he clubs Students for Palestine and the Jewish Students’ Society. Report on what they’re doing about the issue. Plus, get the opinions of any Palestinian or Israeli students who aren’t a part of those groups. What’s the uni doing for these students?

NEW PIRACY LAWS: Look into the new internet piracy laws being proposed by the government because it’s going to affect universities and include them in the ‘safe harbour scheme’—previously they were not a part of it. Talk to people who know about this stuff and what’s going to happen to the uni’s internet service.

THE FUTURE OF THE LEFT AND RIGHT: Are the left getting righter and the right getting lefter? The continual push towards progressive politics is seeing young right-wing people adopt libertarian views and begin supporting things such as abortion and gay marriage. So what is the future of left and right politics in Australia? Discuss this with some leading Political Science lecturers at uni, and some of the aspiring politicians on campus.

SOCIAL MEDIA, WHERE IS THE LINE?: A group of Melbourne Liberals recently got in trouble for some potentially offensive private messages they sent to one another. While nobody likes offensive behaviour, are private messages fair game the media to report on? Members of the Young Liberals are now deleting their Facebook pages and starting their online profiles afresh to avoid similar marks against their names. Look into this.

EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM: This recent movement in the philanthropic and charity sector uses the best evidence available to determine how to make the biggest possible impact with each dollar we donate. Melbourne’s Peter Singer is one proponent of this movement, but it is fast gaining ascendency among many circles. Look into it, and find out how it may shape the future career paths of Melbourne students.

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.


44TH IN THE WORLD: The University of Melbourne is now boasting it is the 44th best in the world at something. Look into the different international university ranking systems and work out what they all mean, and which ones are relevant to students.

UNION HOUSE: There are a lot of quirks within the Union House building, from the two central lifts with two different control functions, to the weird mezzanine levels that take you to weird places. There are rooms you can only access via North Court, and janitors closets that turn out to be large-scale offices. Find a map of the building and help students navigate their way through it.

MEAT EATING TO SAVE THE WORLD: Can you be both a carnivore and an ethical person? What meats are the most environmentally friendly? Are there particular diets carnivores can be on that are more ethically sound than vegan or vegetarian diets? Help carnivores feel less guilty about themselves.

ETHICAL SHOPPING: It’s hard to keep track of which retailers have good track records when it comes to the environment, workers rights, and workplace discrimination. Play around with Shop Ethical! and other such sites to determine which organisations consumers should avoid, and which ones are paying a few extra bucks for. Moreover, look at which organisations parade themselves as ethical businesses yet fail to tick all the boxes.

KEBABS: I can’t believe I haven’t seen anything about kebabs in Farrago before. Please do a series of reviews of kebab places around Melbourne. RIP Kebab Arena.

TERRORISM: To my knowledge, the first (and thus far only) successful act of Islamist terrorism carried out in Australia was in Broken Hill in 1915. Though several plots have been thwarted since—and certainly violent jihadism has claimed Australian lives overseas—the spectre of ‘home-grown’ terrorism seems more like a Scooby-Doo ghost than a nightmarish ghoul. So why do our politicians continue to invoke it?

KURDS AND WHEY: If ISIS/ISIL and the legitimate (?) Iraqi government can be fended off, the world might actually see a fully autonomous, independent Kurdistan. What would such a nation-state look like? Could a flourishing Kurdistan bring back hope to the Middle East? Analyse the situation, and the potential for Kurdistan.

RIOTS: It’s all well and good for us to sit back and tut at the hot-headed American protesters and the fascist American police in Ferguson, Missouri. But Australia has a fairly strong background of civil disturbance (race-related and otherwise) too. Investigate this.

LAST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER: Here’s your chance sports journalists. Last week of September means the AFL Grand Final so give us your most informed opinion on who it could be. You could make a mock finals fixture and pick your winners as well as a team by team analysis. You could even throw in a Brownlow guide or Norm Smith medal contender.

THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE: Write a compelling history on why the September issue is the most important for magazines (particularly fashion mags). You could include some fun facts about US Vogue like the average weight of their September issue and what is actually included the 2kg edition. Also room for an argument on quality vs quantity and amount of ads vs content.

INTERNATIONAL STORES: There have been quite a few international shops such as H&M opening in the city recently. What does this mean for Australian culture and the Australian economy?

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PROSH: Week 9 marks the most infamous week in Unimelb history: Prosh Week. Write us a detailed guide, walking even the most confused of Jaffys through Prosh: its unspoken rules, its traditions, its history, how to get involved and how to do so without getting killed. Or worse—expelled.

BEST PLACES TO NAP ON CAMPUS: With not long to go until semester break, everyone is feeling a little tired. Investigate the best libraries, gardens and cafés around campus to pull your cap down and have a cheeky power nap. Comfort, subtly and quietness are key.

DID YOU KNOW?: Do some research and see if you can find out any strange, weird, or interesting facts about political roles. Anything from ministers to the prime minister, or overseas presidents is fair game. For example, did you know that in a US president’s motorcade there is always an ambulance that is stocked with the president’s own blood?

YOUNG UPSTARTS: Do you have a friend at Uni who is doing amazing work? Maybe they’re 5th in the world at playing bagpipes, or run a startup from their back shed. Profile them for the magazine.

ICE-BUCKET CHALLENGE:Everyone seems to be doing this. Why is this challenge raising so much money? And perhaps more importantly, why is everyone latching onto this charity’s fundraising method so effectively? Also, is there a potential health risk?


INDI: A local Melbourne filmmaker has made a documentary following the ousting of LIberal MP Sophie Mirabella by independent Cathy McGowan in the rural seat of Indi. You can watch the trailer here and we can help but you in touch with those who made the feature for an interview.

POST-POST: Post-Post is an absurd, one-act play performed and written by Harley Hefford and Carly Milroy, about two eccentric postal workers and the chaos they create when faced with their own redundancy. It’s a topical show exploring how we communicate today, debuting on the back of Australia Post announcing 900 job cuts in 2014. We can get you interviews with the writers.

JOSEPH BROWN AO OBE: Joseph Brown was a prominent collector of Australian art in the late 20th Century. In 2004 he donated his entire collection to the Ian Potter Museum of Australian Art, on two conditions: that his name appears as a collector’s credit under every piece in the exhibition, and that his own artwork is displayed alongside the Australian classics he collected. Find out about this man. Is his art even any good? Is he as eccentric as he sounds? Tell us his story.

ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL: 4-12 September. Read about it here. Then write some things for us. Also, let us know if you’d like tickets to anything for a review.

MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL: It’s on from Sept 17 – October 5! Give us a lowdown on what to expect and any hot picks for what we should go see/enjoy!

MELBOURNE WRITERS’ FESTIVAL: The Melbourne Writers Festival is coming up! Write about your favourite events and experiences.

FEMALE SUPERHEROES: What’s up with the majority of superheroes being men? Particularly as there are heaps of movies being released lately, when will the Wonder Woman film be made?

THE REVENGE OF GRUNGE: Violent Soho are one of the biggest bands in Australia at the moment, despite unashamedly taking cues from widely shunned genres like grunge and hardcore. Is this part of the much-discussed, little-seen ‘return of rock’? Are they the Silverchair of our era—or something more? Or something less?


TIME OF YOUR LIFE: Much fiction written by university students centres around the experiences of, well, university students and young adults. Go beyond this and write the experience of a radically different time of life. Inhabit the perspective of a very small child, or an elderly person nearing the end of their life. Try to imagine how differently the world is experienced when everything is new, or all has been seen before. How might the sensory experiences of a baby or a very old person differ from what we’re familiar with?

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS: Every day the media brings us a new slew of headlines from around the world. Pick a random news story from today and use it as the inspiration for a story. Get inside the experience of the story’s key character(s), whether they’re politicians or refugees, a good samaritan or a radio shock jock. Bring all your empathetic skills to bear on the facts.

SLIDING DOORS: Choose a moment from your life where you made a significant decision (cheating on your partner, quitting your job, selecting a uni course). What if you (or a fictional character) had made a different decision? How might subsequent events have unfolded differently? Play with the outcome and imagine an alternate reality for yourself.


UNIVERSALITY IS ANTI-FEMINIST: Are human rights which claim to be universal actually anti-feminist? Assess the language of human rights and the history of violations and discuss whether the concept of universality is problematic.

THE FRAGMENTATION OF THE LEFT/RIGHT: Have you ever noticed how the Labor Party has lots of factions? What’s the deal with this? But, wait, the Coalition is fragmented as well. It comprises the National Party and the Liberal Party, which are ideologically distinct entities (Libs love the free market; Nationals love protectionism). More recently, we’ve seen fragmentation within the Liberal Party over key budget measures, as well as the general dealignment from the political right as Clive Palmer’s party gains popularity. Take a look at any of the issues and discuss why Australian politics is fragmenting (within parties or along the political spectrum).

BIG ISSUES: In the lead-up to the 2007 election, climate change was THE big issue. It even had John Howard saying he’d take action if reelected. This issue seems to have fallen into the background in recent years, with people more concerned about the ‘cost’ of the price on Carbon, rather than taking action on climate change. Why is this? What are the big issues of 2014?

IS AUSSIE POLITICS VICIOUS?: We’ve had a remarkable turnover of political leaders in Australia over the past three years. Why is this? US politics looks remarkably stable in comparison. Even the UK, whose system we inherited, isn’t subject to the same level of vitriol and leadership challenges as we have here. What’s going on?