Collaboration, creativity, and the power of a collective: alum reflect on student media

Aeva and Allie caught up with three former Farrago contributors to look at their lives after student media.


The year is 2022. You are yet another undergraduate with no money, no prospects, and you are frightened. You constantly see posts: Join Farrago! Submit to Edition 2! And you’re here thinking: “How the fuck will poetry and opinion pieces help me get a job? Make it make sense.”

Fear not, for we caught up with three former Farrago contributors to look at their lives after student media.

Taking the office as the Farrago News Editor in 2018, Ashleigh Barraclough has gone on to work with The ABC and has had her writing featured in publications such as The Guardian, The Age, and Crikey.

However, her career in journalism wasn’t always something Ashleigh was sure of and so she tested out the waters by joining Farrago as a campus reporter.

“I'd always considered that maybe journalism was a career for me, but I feel like I just didn't really know enough about it. I was like, I've got to give this a go before I commit to it,” said Ashleigh.

Working alongside like-minded students was an encouraging and influential aspect of getting involved with the magazine.

Her standout memory from her time in student media was organising live coverage of the state election, including having reporters on the ground and talkshow panels from students involved in the political parties.

“I thought it was pretty impressive that a group of university students could pull that off when we had zero experience with live TV," said Ashleigh.

“I think the biggest thing with student media is just being ambitious ... You see the kind of ideas that other people generate, and that allows you to start coming up with ideas of your own.”

Kergen Angel echoes this: “I think what I learned was persistence was key. Farrago really gave me that toolset to feel okay with failing and picking it up and doing it again.”

A former Farrago sub-editor and contributor, Kergen is currently Head of Community Engagement at Oaktree, a not-for-profit organisation working with youth in the Asia Pacific. Kergen credits his time with Farrago as helping him to become a “deep listener”, a “core” skill to his career post-university.

Farrago just had a really beautiful way at that time of lifting up my confidence to the level in which, when I received that critique, I was able to go: I stirred something in someone else,” said Kergen.

“To be around people who were angry and frustrated by systems that weren't working for them and by people who felt like they were voiceless—I think the power of student media was that it gave those people a voice.

“I think student media should constantly be trying to challenge the status quo.”

However, the major highlight for all three Farrago alums has been the friendships and connections that were made along the way.

Writer Ellena Savage was Farrago Editor in 2010, and has since gone on to write for publications such as Eureka Street and The Age. Publishing her “tenacious and wondrously alive” collection of essays ‘Blueberries’ last year, Ellena recalls how her time with Farrago fuelled her artistic growth, and encouraged her to learn from her fellow writers.

“I can’t overstate how significant Farrago was for me in the course of my career and my life,” said Ellena.

“So many aspects of it—the community, the discipline, even the 'prestige' associated with it—led me to imagine the possibility of a life where I was working with words.

“I still learn so much from other writers—students, peers, as well as writers who are further along than I am. Just seeing what other people are working on can help me refocus and prioritise my own work.”

As Kergen sums it up: “I honestly reckon it [Farrago] changed my life.”

Need more convincing? Farrago Edition 2 submissions are open until February 4th, so get cracking and show us what you’ve got!


Read more about submissions here and keep up to date with Farrago on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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