The Under Age Launch Speech 1 Comment

The Under Age Launch Speech

So we’re a bit late to the party, but at the launch of The Underage, Michael Nguyen-Huynh and Bethan Williamson made a speech. That speech is below. Enjoy!

M: Good evening everyone.  I’d like to first introduce you to Bethan, or as she is known in the seedier sides of Melbourne, B-Drizzle.

B-Drizzle has a range of different interests. She has a love for music, politics and most importantly, writing. Her goal after high school would be to get an Arts Degree at the University of Melbourne, but she dreams of studying and living abroad.

B: Hi everyone. This is Michael; he began writing for The Under Age in 2011 and loved it so much that he felt compelled to return for another year. He rides a long-board, buys most of his stylish clothes from Savers and likes to go by the name Fabio.

M: We would like to welcome everyone in attendance. Guests, parents, even the lonely people who wandered off the streets and wanted something better to do than watch Friends re-runs in their parents basements. But most importantly, we’d like to welcome the  wonderful new additions to the Under Age family.

I, along with six of my peers, are here tonight as seasoned Under Agers. With an extra year under our belt, we have experienced the highs and lows of being an aspiring journalist. The lows including having the entire Express Media network hacked and taken down, leaving many of us completely devastated, while the high points include seeing our work published for the very first time, instilling within us a sense of accomplishment, as well as maturity and professionalism.

Nonetheless, six of us return this year with a clearer image of where we stand, and which paths we’d like to follow through the deep, dark and mysterious forest that is writing.

Our new writers however, are here at the start of their long journeys. In the course of a year, they will test the limits of their abilities. They will learn new styles of writing, and be challenged to cover topics that they would never have touched with a ten-foot pole. They will even be required to write under deadlines, which, as they loom closer and closer, will appear more insane than a teenage girl at a One Direction concert.

But these young men and women have been selected for a reason; for their writing abilities and their unique outlook on life. I have no doubt in my mind that Patrick, Nina, Rhea, Hannah, Catherine and B-Drizzle here will shine like stars and make the most of their time at the Under Age.

B: Media. The crux of corruption, yet the driving force that keeps society on their toes; constantly communicating, reporting, discussing and informing. The media can be used to encourage, frighten, manipulate and challenge; it is a conduit of subjectivity and fact.

So much power lies in the media and its role in society is continually developing and changing.

We are relentlessly presented with mindless, facile, often unscrupulous information. Whether we are staring at the television utterly engrossed in a lengthy discussion about the size of a supermodel’s backside, or frantically checking Facebook to see how many little red bubbles have appeared on our screen, we are seeking affirmation. The media can numb the minds of the public forcing them to see only what is deemed ‘important’, but it also has the ability to educate, enlighten and inspire. I am eager to explore the influences that the media has on the world and be actively involved in the communication that occurs to inform others.

I am driven by social justice, human rights and the imbalance and inequality of the world we live in. Poverty, war, famine, child abuse, inhumane imprisonment, torture, racism, violence, discrimination. I want to expose injustice and do everything I can to correct it. I am a curious person; I love reading, writing and learning. For these reasons I applied to join The Under Age. I believe that change can, and does, begin in media.

My love for words began with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I am one of the many fans who have read the all-consuming series innumerable times, stayed up all night unable to put the novel down. I refused to leave the house, and barely spoke to my family until I had read the very last pages of Rowling’s final instalment. Rather than ‘words with friends’, I feel like I am friends with words. Reading, writing, talking – words are infinite; there are no limits. Like a blank canvas, a fresh page waiting to be exposed.

Since meeting the other journalists writing for the Under Age three weeks ago, I have been reading article after article, brainstorming ideas for what could possibly form a story of my own. This is such a dynamic, diverse and exciting group to be part of and I look forward to spending the year with The Under Age team.

If I was asked where I would be in two years, let alone five, I would have no answer. Journalism does seem like a fantastic career path but I can’t say that it is my key aim. I love to read and write, play music, travel and talk. The Under Age is an incredible opportunity and I hope to contribute to it the best that I can.

Of course, not only are we welcoming a new batch of young writers, but we are also extremely glad to have on board the wonderful Rebecca Harkins-Cross.

M: Our new project co-ordinator/mother hen, who is stepping in to fill the hole that Bhakthi Puvanenthiran left, not only in the team, but also in our hearts.

Thank you Bhakthi, for the tremendous amount of work you achieved last year, and a big welcome to Rebecca. B-Drizzle and I, as well as the rest of the Under Age team, look forward to a transcendent year.

B: We greatly appreciate everyone who is here in attendance, and we hope that you all have a fantastic night. Thank you.

  • Raeden Richardson

    Michael, you continue to astound me. Keep up the great work.

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