A Love Story, a Man and His Surfboard

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Hayden Sorrel Pictured With His Camera and Surfboard in May 2014

Rain, hale or shine it’s quite common to see Hayden out the back waiting for a wave. Growing up on Ocean Beach Drive in the town of Shellharbour, mentored and inspired by not only his Dad but also his Pop, Hayden quickly developed a love for what he regards as his religion. When asked what age he started surfing he could recall distant memories of paddling out the back on his father’s surfboard at age 4.

His passion and love for surfing was tested in 2013 after an accident resulted in Hayden being hospitalised for a number of months. Following a storm in mid-April of that year Hayden searched his local beaches for the perfect wave to pit his skill against the ocean. After falling off his surfboard he was propelled head first into a reef, frantic minutes followed as Hayden lost consciousness and was dragged from the water by one of his surfing mates.

The waves that Hayden loved almost cost Hayden his life, his injuries were severe he had forgotten how to walk, go to the toilet, and even had trouble stringing a sentence together. His life had turned upside down in a number of hours, he felt a sense of betrayal as something in which he loved had now caused him so much pain. After his test results came back he was diagnosed with bleeding from the brain and was told hell never be the same again, let alone stand up on a surfboard. As a friend of Hayden it was a shock seeing a totally different person laying in the hospital bed and it was hard to comprehend if he would ever be the same. Instead of freely walking down the street, I found myself pushing him down the street in a wheelchair. Instead of going to visit him at his home, I sat by his hospital bed. Times had changed. The roller-coaster had just begun for Hayden. As he began to recover Hayden was gripped seizures as his brain tried to recover. This prolonged his recovery. After two months of constant physiotherapy, psychology, brain training and general recovery Hayden was transferred to a brain injury unit at Port Kembla Hospital, the changes were obvious. Soon he was defying the doctor’s words, he was on his feet within months not years, he was talking more than ever and had reached a level of independence he hadn’t seen in a few months. We were now able to walk rather than wheel down the street, I’d go visit him at his home and not his hospital bed. Times had changed.

Fast forward eight months time and Hayden had taken a different approach to express his love for surfing, photography. Although wanting to return to the water and be on the other side of the photograph the doctors described the risk as “way too high”. Once again it was quite common to see Hayden out the back, waiting for the perfect wave but also the perfect snap. Today, fourteen months after that faithful day Hayden is once again surfing and back to his old ways, not even a helmet can get in his way. Defying the doctor’s words yet again it is evident that Hayden’s love for surfing is like no other. Some describe him as crazy, myself included, however he describes surfing as his way of keeping sane.

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Goodbye Newspapers, Hello Internet

Digital is a huge conceptual change, a sociological change, a cluster bomb blowing apart who we are and how our world is ordered; how we see ourselves and how we live. It’s a change we’re in the middle of, so close up that sometimes it’s hard to see. But it is deeply profound and it is happening at an almost unbelievable speed.”  Katharine Viner, Deputy Editor of the Guardian and Editor-in-Chief of Guardian Australia. Digital journalism is definitely the way of the future and whether we like it or not, newspapers will soon be a thing of the past. Digital journalism is seen as more cost effective, free flowing and not fixed.  It is also user friendly, informative, more efficient and interactive. Geography becomes merely a parameter, instead of a limit. Multimedia executions allow for the creation of a more solid and informative argument. The digital concept is seen as exciting by some but feared by many. Personally I don’t know any different, from the age of 6 I had access to a computer and the internet, by age 12 I was creating my own websites but for those who haven’t grown up with the latest technology the threat of digital journalism is real. In 2012 the newspaper of my hometown, Kiama, underwent substantial change transforming from a paid to a free newspaper which is now delivered to over 7000 homes across the town. Described as one of Australia’s oldest and proudest mastheads, the Kiama Independent which was first published in 1863 was forced make these changes as declining sales hindered the newspaper’s future. The newspaper now relies on advertisements and digital subscriptions to generate a profit. As time advances more and more newspapers will be faced with the same issues as they try to prolong their existence and the move in to the digital era. In the words of Alex Gamela “The best times for journalism are yet to come and for me there has never been a better time to be a journalist than now. The full possibilities are still being discovered, and there are so many ways to transmit information and tell stories, with a better understanding on the part of the users, that have more rich and meaningful experiences consuming them.”

Double or Nothing

Future In Journlism

At the moment a big question mark looms of the future of journalism, no one can seemingly tell where it is heading. Like everything, journalism is being forced to evolve with the digital age. The uncertainty lingering over the future of journalism is encouraging many students to undertake double degrees, not only to aid them on their career path but also creating a career backstop due to this uncertainty. I recently interviewed four of my fellow classmates about their career aspirations and their thoughts about the future of journalism, some were concerned, others excited but all presented valid ideas. Blair Hendricks is studying a double degree in journalism and communication and media, he hopes his approach in paring the two somewhat similar degrees will give him a leg up when applying for jobs within the media and journalism sector. Talking about the rise of citizen journalism Blair hopes it will not hinder his chances of finding work but will add an aspect to his work that previous generation journalist were unable to provide. Blair said “Doing a double degree has filled me with excitement for the future rather than fear as I know I should be able to find a job regardless.” When asking James Hugson about where he hopes his double degree in Journalism and Science will take him he explained how he hopes to write for one of Australia’s biggest media companies being at their forefront of science and in particular technology sector. Proceeding to talk about the future of journalism Hugson said “I am excited to be at the beginning of a new generation of journalist. Although our role may be somewhat different from traditional journalism, everything undergoes evolution whether we like it or not.” Hugson’s view was juxtaposed by Jessica Vace who is studying journalism and international studies with intentions of becoming a foreign corresponded. When asked if she thinks technology will deplete the need for a foreign correspondent she replied “It’s a real possibility, as technology continues to shrink the world, it continues to shrink my chances of becoming a foreign correspondent. However, in a world where we are made to improvise, I have looked at other ways I can carry out my work such as making documentaries where I physically have to be on the ground, reporting, in front of a camera.” It was evident that Vace held grave fears about her future aspirations alluding to the idea she may look to change degrees in the near future. Blair Tatum has chosen a different approach studying a degree in journalism and commerce. When asked why he combined the two he said, “I held grave fear for the future of journalism. People have said to me “You don’t need a degree to be a journalist, it’s a waste of time, however it’s always been a core interest of mine. I am fearful of the future of journalism so I decided to pair it with commerce as I know I can get a job in that field if all else fails.” A degree in journalism can literally take you anywhere, especially when paired with another degree. Journalism will always exist, in what form it takes we will have to wait and see.

Studying in a World Where Everyone is Considered a Journalist

It’s a common occurrence to be laughed and scoffed at when proclaiming I am currently studying journalism with comments such as “Anyone is a journalist”, or “Do a real degree.” The survival of Civilian journalism is threatened especially with the emergence of social media platforms such as YouTube, the idea of blogging and Twitter, where news often breaks before it does in mainstream media. Civilian journalism is quite simply when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do – report information. Although a threat to traditional professional journalism, civilian journalism is an exciting concept. It allows for news stories to break even faster and a different side of the story to be shared. For instance Osama bin Laden’s raid and death, one of the biggest news stories of 2011, was reported unwittingly in tweets by a local IT consultant one day before Barack Obama announced it to the world. The number of news stories that break on Twitter before mainstream media is quite substantial with other famous examples including Whitney Huston’s death which broke on Twitter an hour before any mainstream media. The increased rate of exposure to breaking stories through the aid of civilian journalism is what I find exciting. As the digital world develops and the number of communication channels explode in number  it is increasingly hard to judge the value of amateur eyewitness film shot on a mobile phone and posted on the internet against a considered, observational documentary broadcast or a 6:00pm news bulletin on mainstream television. (The guardian). This is why I believe there will always be a need for professional journalist however as civilian journalism becomes more mainstream our jobs will shift from on the ground reporting to sorting fact from fiction.

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Appreciating The Little Things

Who knew a head massager could create such a picture perfect moment. Taken on the afternoon of the 17th of April, at a post university social gathering.  The photograph features Matthew Kane a first year journalism student relaxing and reflecting on his first semester as a full-time university student. Although describing his first semester at university as “challenging, hard and overwhelming” he is “extremely excited” for the future and hopes his dream goal of broadcast journalism is only a few years away. This photo is also a symbol for just one of many friendships that have been formed by new students within their first semester.

University UOW Black & White Portraits

Matthew Kane appreciating a head massager after a finishing his first 8 weeks of univeristy

 

Sports Journalism Within Adrian’s Sight

Adrian Dryden plays a game of basketball in his backyard to relieve the stresses of university.

First year journalism student Adrian Dryden attempts to escape the pressure of university through a game of basketball. He hopes his love for sports and journalism will eventually lead to a career incorporating both. The transition from high school to university is described by Adrian as the “most challenging yet rewarding” decision in his lifetime. When asked about sport he replied “It’s my way of copping, its how I stay happy.” When talking to Adrian it is evident he has the charisma, personality and overall character to produce a quality journalist and his love for sport will excel him on his way.