Blog brings benefits for student writers at Avondale
Endless sunburnt dunes pass by as a bus speeds through the outback. Cramp creeps up a crouched leg on a boat in the Mekong River. And children play saxophones slightly off tempo in a cringeworthy performance on a crowded train in Berlin. These scenes from Avondale’s Ytravel blog give us a sense of adventure and the students who write it the fundamentals of freelancing.
Posts on Ytravel are written mostly by students—some are writing students, some are just students who write. The editor is communication and ancient history lecturer Lynnette Lounsbury, a passionate storyteller who is the author of the novels We At the Road Like Vultures and Afterworld. She created Ytravel “to mirror the freelance writing model so students have to pitch to an editor and, if accepted and commissioned, write to a deadline.”
The secret to connecting with the reader is to help them see what you see and feel what you feel.Author and journalist Dr Claire ScobieCharlotte O’Neill, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in arts and teaching this past year, confirms the usefulness of this practical experience. Through contributing to Ytravel, she “learned about the editing process—about the expectations on writers and about the possibility of your work being changed.” O’Neill believes this real-world experience informed her study. “Being published even in a small way gave meaning to the content I was learning in my classes.” She now continues to write travel pieces and dreams of someday writing a novel.
Contributing to blogs such as Ytravel also helps aspiring writers improve their craft and develop their own style. “The secret to connecting with the reader is to help them see what you see and feel what you feel,” says Dr Claire Scobie, an author and journalist who spoke to students in the unit Print Journalism this semester. “Tease their senses. Take a reader by the hand to Cambodia, Tibet and Africa. Create pictures with words.”
In her lecture, Scobie also highlighted how modern technology is shifting the focus of journalism, providing writers with more opportunities to publish their work. Lounsbury agrees. “The online world has expanded our abilities to reach wider and more varied audiences.” But with more opportunities comes increased competition. “It has also made it far more difficult to get paid well for your work,” says Lounsbury, “so building strong relationships with sites that pay well for content is important. The ability to write is only part of the journey for a journalist. The ability to connect and build relationships with publishers is just as important.”
Lounsbury is always looking for new Ytravel writers. Contact her (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in having your travel pieces published online.
Visit Avondale College of Higher Education’s Ytravel blog.Ytravel