First year assessment

Online News Package

Our task was to create an audio-visual story as well as a text-based element on a topical issue for a local audience.

A big thank you to my assignment partner Nathan Biddle who captured all of the vision.

Charity workers thankful for public’s generosity

Local volunteers are praising the Sunshine Coast community for their “wonderful” and continued support of the region’s op shops.

People are generously giving to the stores which give back to various charities and raise funds for education programs for the underprivileged.

Sunshine Coast Community Hospice Opportunity Shop volunteer Cheryl Lennon said the community’s donations were greatly appreciated and never went astray.

“There is never, ever an excess,” she said.

“We deal with whatever we get.

“We sometimes have them piled very high but we always manage to get through them, sort them and pass them onto our other stores.”

The sorting shed of Sunshine Coast Community Hospice full of donations.

Collection bins are set up around the Sunshine Coast for locals to donate their unwanted items.

Fellow volunteer Jenny Gatehouse said people were taking full advantage of these bins as there was never a shortage of donations.

“People are very kind,” she said.

“We get very good quality donations and they come on a regular basis, it’s just non-stop.

“They come daily with stock of everything from furnishings to clothing to brick-a-brack.”

With such a large number of donations, some items could not be sold due to their conditions.

However, Mrs Lennon said these items are welcomed and did not go to waste.

“Naturally like anything in life some [donations] are good and some aren’t,” she said.

“We do have to dispose of a lot of the stuff if it’s damaged or soiled … and that sometimes does cost us money to take it to the tip.

“Most of the clothing if it’s damaged we can put in bags we call “Africa bags” and they get sent away to underprivileged countries.”
More than 50 op shops on the Coast have become increasingly popular among locals.

A customer searching through the abundance of clothes.

During October a Facebook survey found 32 per cent of participants’ shopped at the stores to find rare items.

While an additional 34 per cent are shopped there to save money.

Mrs Gatehouse said people chose to shop at the stores because of the financial and charity benefits.

“A lot of stock is brand new with labels, saving people money,” the volunteer of 15 years said.

“Plus everything that’s here goes fully to charity.”

Chaplain and eager op shopper Lynette Neil said the charity stores had great support because of the environment they created.

“I think they [op shops] are very important because they are a really good meeting place … for everyone in the community to mix together,” she said.

“Bloomhill especially means a lot to me because I had breast cancer.

“I found it the place where you go for companionship and an alternative look at what else can be added to your therapy.”

Fifty-two per cent of people would still like to see more support behind local op shops despite the increasing number of donations and shoppers.

Mrs Lennon said although any help is lovely more volunteers are always needed.

“Volunteering is very good,” she said.

“We never have enough volunteers because a lot of people on holidays or with family commitments.”

First year assessment

Turning hate into love

A Sunshine Coast mother has taken to Facebook to write about an incident at her local Coles. Katie Maree has written an open letter on the Sunny Coast Community Board directed at an unknown woman who commented on her children’s behaviour.

What the woman didn’t know is Katie’s children suffer from autism.

The Facebook post which started it all. Katie Maree, Facebook 2016.

Now, the mother isn’t trying to say her children are angels – she admits they weren’t behaving. But says the stranger and her remarks were ignorant and lacking empathy.

Almost 800 responses and counting, the post has now gone somewhat viral, being mentioned in numerous blogs (including this one) and even becoming a news story because of it’s relatable nature.

But many of us have one simple question: What do open letters achieve?

We live in a world where we want to post anything and everything on social media, but why?

It seems as though people are so inclined to sit down after a crappy day and tell the world about it (literally).

People are taking to their computers to share their bad experiences. Carly Hagins, Flickr 2010

I’m usually pretty sceptical about open letters and I don’t know if online is the best place to be talking about such personal experiences but sometimes these open letters achieve great things.

Just four months ago, Canadian mother Jennifer Kiss-Engele wrote an open letter on Facebook saying her down syndrome son was excluded from a birthday party. The public’s incredible and unexpected reactions to her post resulted in her child being invited to the party while also spreading a message of love and acceptance.

I completely agree with Jennifer and Katie’s motives to defend their children. I’m extremely protective of my family, as I’m sure we all are.

If one tiny post is going to make a slight difference in the world, or even in the life of someone I love, then I would be willing to take that chance.

And I’m not the only one.

First year assessment

Release them before they do it themselves

Another gorilla has made headlines this week. London Zoo’s Kumbuka roamed the grounds for more than 90 minutes after escaping his enclosure causing tourists to hide inside zoo buildings.

The western lowland silverback gorilla, known for his fiery attitude, smashed through the glass of his enclosure to break free. Witnesses have said staff asked them to avoid eye contact with Kumbuka moments before the incident as he was becoming agitated.

But was it the people making him agitated or the fact he is in captivity?

Kumbuka is the second of his species to be in the news this year after the Cincinnati Zoo shot Haramabe in May following a child falling into his enclosure.

Thankfully this time the gorilla was tranquillised and recaptured before anybody was harmed.

Kumbuka has been enclosed for three years now. Willard 2013, Flickr

However, both incidents raise a widely debated question: Should wild animals be in captivity?

I can see both perspectives.

On one hand, it’s great to be able to see such fascinating creatures up close. From a conservation stance, taking animals out of the wild for their own protection and to populate their species is also a wonderful idea. These gorillas have been successfully bred for generations in zoos and can survive up to 20 years longer in captivity than the wild.

But where is the quality of life?

Sir David Attenborough said the escape didn’t surprise him as zoo visitors don’t show enough respect for the enclosed animals.

“If the people were respectful that would be something,” he said.

“Sometimes visitors to zoos are not respectful and they start shrieking or waving their arms in order to get the poor gorilla to do something.”

I agree with Attenborough. If these animals, especially the dominant ones, have to be in zoos they shouldn’t be subjected to so many people as it’s clearly distressing them.

Ultimately, I think animals should be free to roam in their natural habitat, the way nature intended. Currently there are over 6000 different animal species in zoos across the world, quite a large and unnecessary number if you ask me. We’re at the stage now where if we wanted to see an exotic animal we could just “Google it” rather than seeing them miserably locked up in a zoo.

Do you want to see these animals enjoying themselves in the wild or placed behind barriers for our own selfish entertainment?