Guild News

Express Media National Editors and Writers Conference: 2020 Review

By February 5, 2020 No Comments

Meet the Editor’s Session, Photography by Connor O’Brien, Courtesy of Express Media.

Every year, Express Media holds the National Editors and Writers Conference for Students, NEWs. This year, GLASS was lucky enough to attend. The two days were headed by some of the biggest players of the independent publishing industry, which gave us seminars and workshops to help develop GLASS as an editorial team. We learnt a lot and we’re excited to bring you some resources that we’ll make out of the seminars and workshops before our term ends! Here’s a review of our time from Jess, Jasmin, Ashleigh and I (Em!)

Photography by Connor O’Brien, Courtesy of Express Media.

Favourite thing about Melbourne:

Jess: My favourite part about our time spent in Melbourne for the 2020 NEWS Conference was meeting other editors from other student publications around the country and learning about what techniques they use to deliver a successful, well-received publication. Everyone was so eager to learn from one another, which I loved to witness and be a part of!

Jasmin: Meeting student editors from around the country was an eye-opening experience for me. It was amazing to discuss the highlights and pitfalls of managing a publication connected to a student union and the politics of this. I loved getting tips from other editors regarding this balance. Additionally, it was refreshing learning from the more established publications such as the University of Melbourne magazine ‘Farrago’.

Ashleigh: Full disclosure, Melbourne CBD is not my cup of tea. Think me, large and frumpy amidst your coffee-carting arthouse savants. But my god were the people I met impressive; the longstanding uni publications and the new-ish spin offs were bliss. No sleepiness or hesitation in the conversations we had. Daunting? Sure. But I left excited and having spent way too much on mag subscriptions.

Em: The easy to use public transport. Seriously, they come on time and THEY’RE FREE. However, my favourite aspect of Melbourne is how welcoming everyone was. From the kind RMIT Lecturer who returned my debit card to me after I left it on the street (Thank you, Frederico!) to the student editors who were happy to talk everything from philosophical and ethical debates to paper GSM, I felt right at home. 

Photography by Connor O’Brien, Courtesy of Express Media.

Favourite Speaker:

Jess: Adolfo Aranjuez

Jasmin:  I loved Adolfo Aranjuez from Archer. He spoke on the second day of the conference about managing a publication. He provided useful advice on meeting deadlines, liaising with creators and setting achievable goals. His self-deprecating humour made me feel comfortable in my role as an editor of a publication with little prior experience.

Ashleigh: Daniel James

Em: Leah Jing McIntosh 

Adolfo Aranjuez Keynote. Photography by Connor O’Brien.

Favourite Seminar or Workshop:

Jess: I can’t choose one, so I’ve chosen two! The first was ‘Even Santa Comes with a Clause: Media Law and Ethical Reporting’ where Josie Vine addressed the ins and outs of media law including defamation, copyright and how to be an equitable journalist. The other was ‘Why is your Mag so sad? It has too many issues: Managing a Publication’ by Adolfo Aranjuez, who spoke about project management, how to manage and work in a team and how to successfully meet deadlines.

Jasmin: I loved the presentation given by Leah Jing McIntosh ‘Editing as exploration, interrogation and celebration of the Asian-Australian experience. She discussed how to create a publication from the grown-up and shared her personal experience in providing a platform to Asian-Australian writers. It was inspiring how she strived to provide this platform and in doing so achieved such an authentic publication and committed readership. It was useful for me as a GLASS editor because it demonstrated one of the ways we can give a platform to those who need it.

Ashleigh: Aside from Daniel James’ speech and read of this piece, my favourite seminar was the opinion piece workshop run by Timmah Ball. Some takeaways: Don’t work for free, Read Trick Mirror by Tia Tolenta, Carceral Capitalism by Jackie Wong, How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell and Finding Eliza by Larissa Behrendt. Finally, resist the urge to write opinion pieces under 1000 words.

Em: My favourite seminar was the final of the conference, where we could meet editors from various publications across Australia. I got advice about news writing, opinion pieces and the separation of the two from Maddison Connaughton, the editor of the Saturday Paper. I spoke Digi-lit with Lujan Hourani of the Lifted Brow, and discussed queer zine spaces with Millie Bayliss of Visible Ink fame.

Photography by Connor O’Brien.

Photography by Connor O’Brien.

How will this conference help you as an editor?

Jess: I found the 2020 National Editors and Writers Conference incredibly beneficial and I really tried to soak up what each professional was teaching in every workshop. If I was to only take away a couple of things that I hope to always carry with me as both a working journalist and editor, it would be the importance of allowing a writer to have a voice and learning how to manage deadlines when you are working with other people (who have lives outside of work!). Specifically, in the workshop run by Adolfo Aranjuez, I found it really beneficial to learn about how to manage project deadlines and practical ways to do this. Editing a magazine can sometimes feel like a whirlwind, but it’s important to have practices in place to ensure that all goes to plan (or as close to plan as possible) and that time is set aside to provide feedback to writers and contributors who have taken the time to submit their work.

Jasmin: I feel the NEWs conference was invaluable for my personal development. The aspects of the conference that were most useful to me as an editor were the ones that expanded my knowledge about the production process. Much of the magazine production and distribution process was unknown to me prior to the conference. ‘Get with the Times (New Roman): Working with a Designer’ presented by Juliette Younger explained how she worked as a designer for Gusher to provide it with a unique brand that filled a need for an all-female Rock Magazine in the market. Contrasted with many male-centric Rock magazines Juliette’s presentation explained how to use colour, font and design to enhance their message. Additionally, Laura La Rosa’s workshop on graphic design for social media showed a practical application for Adobe InDesign in student media. Laura’s workshop helped me bridge the gap in understanding the work of an editorial team and their graphic designer and how the editorial team can work to make the graphic designer’s job easier.

Ashleigh: I learnt Confidence. GLASS from 2019 feels like a new mag (and really, QUT is a relatively young university when you pair it with the likes of UQ). With that comes all the bumps and awkwardness of ‘new things’; navigated gracefully by Em, who seems to keep us all together. It was great to get a feeling for how other teams are operating and what kind of content they are producing; reassuring to know we are definitely on track—maybe even very on track to creating a successful mag. On a practical level, the editing workshop was amazing and I’m keen to offer more detailed edits to contributors. I also found a whole heap of mags to help me develop my editing style; The Lifted Brow, The Saturday Paper, Going Down Swinging, the Griffith Review, Bossy Magazine (ANU), Gusher, Liminal Mag.

Em: NEWs was transformative for me. I met student editors across the country, discussed teams and work styles as well as our values and what it means to a university’s culture to have a publication. We discussed how to edit hyper-personal work, how to report fairly and accurately and how to make an InDesign file not corrupt on sight. Seminars on managing the nitty-gritty of a publication, ethics versus media work and the importance of checking your privilege and using your platform to elevate the voices of marginalised peoples. It made me realise what I can do to make GLASS better and provided me with resources I hope to turn into workshops for QUT students so I can share what I learnt. Also, meeting some of the people in the publishing industry I admire the most, Madison Griffiths, Maddison Connaughton and Lujayn Hourani, amongst others. It’s incredible what two days holed up in RMIT lecture theatres can do to your frame of mind and scope of thinking. I can’t wait to bring this work and learning into my work at GLASS. 

Photo Diary

Em Readman

Em Readman

Em Readman is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. She is an editor of GLASS Magazine, and is completing a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of Fine Art.

Leave a Reply