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The Melbourne Writers Festival: Pay up, speak up, or write up

MELD’S Tech and Sports Editor Leon Saw was inspired by the Melbourne Writers Festival to tell you more about the Meld Magazine model – how we run, why we do what we do, and why we’d like to have you on board!

Photo: billaday via flickr

So a fortnight ago, the boss and I were at the Melbourne Writers Festival and the word of the event was “news”.

How much does news cost? Where and how to do you get it? Who should report it?

Those were just some of the questions raised during the weeklong festival.

Now, I can’t speak for the other publications that were present, but I can answer all of these questions when it comes to Meld.

One of our aims as a news organisation is to be transparent and, more importantly, involve our readers in everything we do. Meld isn’t so much an online magazine as it is an international student community. We’re bringing you news, reviews and event promos, but deep down, we want to make sure you have the best student experience in Melbourne (and don’t feel homesick).

So, just how much does it cost to run Meld Magazine?

We published our thousandth story a month ago. If each story took two hours to research, write and edit and if each hour was worth the Australian minimum wage of $16, the bill would be$ 32,000…  and that’s being generous since I discounted the cost that would be incurred by the magazine’s auxiliary functions.

So who’s paying? Well, most certainly not you or the thousands of other people who visit the website each month. Thanks for nothing… just joking! We’re happily not-for-profit and run with the help of a lot of dedicated volunteers. And I’m confident I speak for everyone  at Meld when I say we’re extremely grateful for your support.

That said, maybe you’ve read something on our website like our free career advice  and that’s helped you land your dream job in Australia so now you want to give back. Well you can always help out with a donation. Or maybe even advertise with us by contacting  yours truly.

But I digress.

Photo: rabbitneverlies via flickr

Where and how do we get our stories?

The Meld team regularly dreams up story ideas on all kinds of topics. They’re inspired from our own lives, what we read in the news, what we’d like to see in the news and much more.

But we’d really, really like to hear from you, dear reader.

What international student issues would you like us to focus our journalistic spotlight on?

What would you like to know about living and studying in Melbourne?

What amazing event/person/movie do you want us to cover?

These aren’t rhetorical questions. We actually want to hear your stories, ideas and opinions.

That’s why you’re humbly invited to our  fortnightly news meetings. In fact, you’ve been invited to them since the beginning of the year! So y’all come to the next meeting! We’ll be ever so happy to see you!

And finally, the last question, which is perhaps the most interesting of all.

Who writes all our stories?

You’d think trained professionals with decades of experience do. But most of our team, with the exception of the editors, aren’t qualified  yet. In fact, almost all of our reporters are still studying at university.

But are they any less capable?

One of the panellists at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival didn’t think so.

“I find the term ‘citizen journalist’ strange because it implies you have to go through something to become a journalist,” he said.

He pointed out anyone with a camera phone and access to the internet, can record and publish and therefore be considered a journalist. The evidence is all over our website.

So brace yourself for a shameless plug – Whatever your background, international student or not, if you’d like to become a journalist, join us.

You’ll be in good hands… mostly.

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About

Meld Magazine was incorporated as an independent not-for-profit media outlet in September 2008 to reach out to international students in Melbourne, and provide students the opportunity to gain real work experience.

Many international students live in or around the city because of the proximity to their colleges and universities, and that was where we decided to focus our efforts first. Many of us live, work and study locally too. Our editorial team is made of both local and international students, and it has worked to our advantage in providing local content in every sense of the word.

Meld Magazine – Melbourne's international student news website © 2014 All Rights Reserved

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