Forced to grow up

Vibrant and happy she takes to the floor, proving just how much dance means to her
Vibrant and happy she takes to the floor, proving just how much dance means to her

19 year old, Monique Lombardo, is truely something else, stepping through the door and lighting the room instantly. At the tender age of 8, her parents divorced, and her dad moved to the Philippines, leaving Australia, Monique and her brother.

“Its been a constant echo throughout my life, I have only ever cried once,” she says confidently. Monique instead looks up to her mother, “She was my hero… she did everything in her power to make sure that we got everything we ever wanted in life and that nothing ever stopped us from achieving our goals.”

Sending shivers down my spine she explains “one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever had to witness in my life,” was looking on as her dad peeled her begging brothers fingers off his arm before leaving, telling him to “be a man.” Again her mum was there, “I hope that one day I am as strong as her because honesty, she is the best thing in my life right now, my only constant in a world of uncertainty,” she adds, “as time has gone on, its gotten easier and we are immune to the absense in our lives knowing the void is filled by our mother.”

Around when her dad left, Monique found comfort in dancing, starting at a small studio in Luddenham, “for me dance was somewhere i could discover myself… I discovered the importance of dance and expression,” she excitedly tells, “I would let out anything i was feeling in my classes, which really took over my life, at one point i was doing 20 classes a week- just a little obsessed because i loved the way it made me feel.”

When asked to dance, instead of shying away, she pulls out her old pointe shoes and begins putting them on, “Oh no, you dont have to, dont they hurt?” I ask, “Yeah, but i have gotten used to it, plus pointe is fun!,” she replies happily, spinning and leaping around the pool, glowing and being taken away instantly on a journey, as i look on, a talent i only wish i could have.

In year 10 she also became a student teacher, “It was the leadership skills i developed from my mother that i now carry in every day life,” which seemed to help Monique instill belief into others. As time goes on however, and the busier her life seemed to get she no longer had time to dance, “Yeah, i miss it,” she whispers when i ask, “I miss its free nature and my ability to concentrate on dancing and forget the world.” Monique knew however, “it wasn’t something that i was going to do forever, even though i would of liked to, life gets in the way.”

It was a true pleasure to meet monique, and anyone would be lucky to know this sweet, charismatic and independent woman that was forced to grow and continue to develop into the woman she has become today, “We all need to make decisions, to grow and become an independent individual.”


Are we swimming in the shallow end?

Chasing the sun across the globe- Taken by Jade Hall
Chasing the sun across the globe- Taken by Jade Hall

Lots of competition and lack of jobs, Journalism seems to have become a shallow pool for the hope driven. University of Wollongong Journalism students share with me their concerns of what’s affecting Travel Journalism today.

Monique Lombardo a first year student tells me, “My fear would be that ordinary people will take over my job” supported by “With a good camera and a quick wit most people can do our job,” said Lucy Daly. 

Both students seem anxious, perhaps not in the lack of jobs but with the rise in ‘Citizen journalism’ a concept Cassie Norris embraces, “Citizen journalists are there when the journalists aren’t, and they fill the gap in knowledge before the reporters get there.” Although this is true,

For every useful opinion, there always seems to be 10 useless ones,” states Jordan Bell.

There are many positives and negatives when looking at what affects Travel Journalism today, but which weighs higher?

 Jordan Bell, Monique Lombardo, Lucy Daly and Cassie Norris remain positive in a career which is known to be ‘dying’, “willing to work for free, do internships and do my time working the shitty jobs, its a good way to make contacts and get your foot in the door,” states Cassie Norris.

 With Technology highly relied upon within Travel Journalism, we are affected by, “the way we consume the content,” confirms Cassie Norris while,

Lucy Daly believes “there are always more to places, technology shrinks and categorises the world.”

Jordan Bell and Monique Lombardo view technology, once a threatening tool within the Journalism industry differently, “from an ease-of-access point of view it’s awesome!” tells Jordan Bell, contrasted with Monique Lombardobut it is this accessibility that allows anyone to do my job” while Lucy Daly depicts, “Technology can be an amazing asset to supplement a story or share your work.”

 The differences between those of a ‘professional’ journalist over those of a ‘Citizen’ journalist, are clearly evident for these students, “not everyone can be a journalist. Journalism, to me anyway, requires a level of compassion, empathy or intrigue that can’t be created by someone just setting out to produce content” argues Jordan Bell. Lucy Daly adds, ‘‘unofficial work can often be superfluous.”

If Technology and lack of jobs weren’t enough to affect a Journalist’s career, drawing in an audience is,

“Value is determined by the audience,” states Monique Lombardo.

With content exceedingly being produced on the Internet, many professional voices are lost among the unfiltered content produced by ‘unprofessionalism’.

 Hope however is plentiful, “I would rather be out exploring than behind a desk,” claims Cassie Norris, with her dreams bursting to become reality; Jordan Bell explains, “It gives me the freedom to travel the locations I want to visit in the world.”

It’s exciting, intoxicating and just a little bit edgy,” states Monique Lombardo, continuing to pursue her career, despite the affects of Citizen Journalism and Technology, Lucy Daly tells me, “Why wouldn’t I want a job that can move me where I want to go.”



Forever ‘Catching Milat’

A timeline of horrific event undertaken by Ivan Milat, Taken from The Daily Telegraph
A timeline of the horrific events undertaken by Ivan Milat, Taken from The Daily Telegraph

The new TV drama produced by Shine Australian productions, ‘Catching Milat’ aired in May, a ‘two series “dramatised story” of the killings, will inevitably generate a lot of interest and not a little controversy,’ states The Sydney Morning Herald, yet has journalism gone to far, in changing facts to documented facts in order to ‘get more views and attention?’

Serial killer Ivan Milat, the ‘backpack killer’ charged for seven gruesome deaths and allegedly more in 1996, still claiming his ‘innocence’ while rotting in ‘the maximum-security wing of Goulburn Prison, near Sydney’. The ‘Catching Milat’ series follows the history of Milat played by actor Mal Kennard, his family and the police led my Geoff Morrell cast as Clive Small, in tracking down the notorious killer.

Chilling ... Actor Mal Kennard, left, recreates that infamous image of serial killer Ivan Milat. Read more:
Chilling … Actor Mal Kennard, left, recreates that infamous image of serial killer Ivan Milat.
Read more:

‘There are many pitfalls in tackling a story that remains so raw and sensitive but, on the whole, Shine has done an excellent job navigating that fine line between powerful and engaging drama and risking being accused of exploitation,’ wrote Nick Galvin, The Sydney Morning Herald. Family and friends of those murdered, are distraught however, over the aired production, now part of many petitioning against the broadcast of the series. Darren Thompson, a friend of victim Caroline Clarke states ‘He should have nothing to live for … the ‘celebrity’ status does just the opposite. Have a heart and think about his relatives.’ and rightly so.

Channel 7 aired the series in the hope of dissecting through the myths related to Ivan Milat as well as Kennard stating theres a “great lack of information [Milat has never confessed] which only enhances the fear and curiosity.”

With Milat sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences and 6 years inprisonment for Paul Onions attack, the ‘Catching Milat’ series aired in may is a little too close to comfort for family members and friends of the countless victims.

Theres more than one Struggle Street

First aired on the 3rd of May 2015, ‘Struggle Street,’ a controversial show screened by SBS, explores Mount Druitt, NSW. Its audience? Not happy.

This three part documentary although hounded for their brutal new form of storytelling and marketing of people lives, was highly rated. Causing the media to ponder issues of consent in the documentary genre. The Sydney Morning Herald interviewed Shadow assistant treasurer Dr Andrew Leigh, who stated that society missed the point, we shouldnt be looking down on them as a minority but accepting the Documentary as an invitation to have a look into their lives. “That show vividly portrayed the gap that has opened up in our community in recent decades, and showed just how far some have fallen behind as Australia’s richest have raced ahead,” said Dr Leigh.

Peta Ashley and his extended familiy, one of the families featured in Struggle Street Photo: SBS
Peta Ashley and his extended familiy, one of the families featured in Struggle Street Photo: SBS

“[And] Struggle Street isn’t just a place in Mount Druitt. There are people struggling down the street from us here in the centre of Canberra and right across Australia.”

With objectors launching a petition for Struggle struggle street to be cancelled, it was still broadcasted, leaving viewers engaged about a show which is now questionisng consent. mUmBRELLA also posted about the controversy of the shows content with Chief content officer Helen Kellie admitting that Struggle Street has been edited “out of respect” with content from original scenes that were going to be aired, pulled out.

Troubled teen Bailee and single mum Erin from Struggle Street. Photo: SBS
Troubled teen Bailee and single mum Erin from Struggle Street. Photo: SBS

‘Struggle street’ a publisised, unvarnished truth, that many viewers are uncomfortable with, generating questions of consent within media coverage pieces and residents of Mount Druitt feeling portrayed. The documentry seems to have brought awareness to a town that society ignores. Struggle street portrays its subjects as humans worth considering.

Rain hits hard

When the rain hits hard, the moon is out and the wind chills you to the bone, that is when I’m happiest.

The shift in weather has left me feeling rejuvenated, alive and excited; Exhaled breath is visible in the air, your nose is red and you are all rugged up in coats, scarfs and hats, I’m back in Manchester.

Snowball fights at midnight, beating my brother outside to be the first one to stand in the snow and leave my footprints, fighting with mum about not wanting to wear a coat, and coming home to a blaring fireplace are all memories that lead to me missing my home.

‘Be home when the streetlights come on,’ called mum. This was the worst part of the day, having to go inside. The appreciation of the cold confuses some of you, but for me its home.

Its all a blur…

Taken on Corrimal Street, Wollongong

Being at UOW is kind of a blur, I am currently doing 5 classes this semester and working two jobs, so my life is all steam ahead with hardly any time to myself. I have now learnt to become very time sufficient when completing all the tasks I need to do, such as uni work and my jobs etc. Yet I still struggle to relax and enjoy time to myself. It is a constant balancing act between getting everything done and also being relaxed as my brain has become very work-orientated. The blur exists at uni however, with the feeling of everyone constantly coming and going and as of now not being able to connect with anyone.

The ability to achieve more.

Duck Pond, University of Wollongong

I have always worried about what Career I wanted to pursue but since starting my degree at the University of Wollongong, I automatically knew I had made the right degree choice. Uni is both constant and fulfilling, loving each class I am currently enrolled in. This has made the transition into Uni easier, knowing now what i want to pursue has allowed me to become more confident in myself while seizing every opportunity that UOW has to offer within my particular field of interest. Reflecting back on High School, has made me realise that there are bigger things out there, and that high school suppressed my ability to achieve more.