I’m an Australian journalism student who belongs to a world of sea spray, coffee shops and subtropical rainforests, otherwise known as South East Queensland.
My love for the Australian coastline is rivalled only by that of leaving it once in a while, because I get annoyingly passionate about cultures and adventures and the thought of learning five languages at once.
Back to the journalism thing.
I’m a journalist because I’m a writer. I believe in the beauty of small words and the resilience of newspapers. I enjoy stripping hard news stories to the bare minimum as much as I love the (controlled) creativity of longform articles. I’ve grown to understand the world-changing capacity of investigative reporting, and I’ve developed a deep appreciation for international news.
But these are all fragments of a bigger dream. I’ve been keeping my passions vague until this point, so that this next part might make a little more sense.
I want to become a maritime journalist.
Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
I worked at sea for two years, on an old ship that sailed between Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. After routine stowaway searches, piracy drills, watching seafarers protest on the quayside, and getting stranded off the coast of Colombia at the mercy of unstable maritime laws, I realised that the danger of the maritime industry is vastly underestimated and severely underreported.
When COVID-19 sent the world into chaos, I revisited the situation to write a news feature exploring its impact on the industry.
It was worse than I could have imagined.
There was a humanitarian crisis unfolding out at sea, but nobody was talking about it, because nobody knew about it. And yet, the most horrifying part was that it was out of control before the pandemic even started.
Usually, maritime journalism involves covering trade, logistics, economics, and the politics of the shipping industry. Although I absolutely appreciate the importance of these areas – and would like to become familiar with them as a reporter – I want to approach the industry from a different angle. I want to write about an ocean rampant with crime, corruption, piracy, and a slew of human rights abuses such as seafarer abandonment. It’s a lawless void, and it’s not going to change until we start to understand the magnitude of the problem
It’s not going to change until we start reporting it.