My Story Begin Here
(1) Why I decided to enrol in a Journalist Course?
I have been watching news from a satellite TV for a number of years, I am in the position to compare news reported overseas with the media in Australia on a daily basis on major international events as they occurred. To my frustration and disbelieve, the level of bias, selective, partial, misleading and distorting report in the mainstream western media is at pandemic level. (click on Media Disinformation for detail).
Last year (2008), the way China was abused deliberately and unfairly by the media on a daily basis has finally stirred up my emotion and passion to defence China and any developing country under the on-going media distorting reports. I begin to search the Internet for Journalism Course, and delighted by the benefits offer by Morris Journalism Academy on the successful completion of the Course (http://www.morrisjournalismacademy.com/index.asp?apg=complete). I decided to pay the $1095 course fee and went through 6 months of training with 10 assignments while working full time, 6 days a week.
(2) Before enrolment, what kind of benefits the Journalism Academy offer to its potential graduate?
Below are the links to the scan copies of the kind of benefits offered by Morris Journalism Academy printed Prospectus posted to me with an enrolment form. As you may notice by clicking through the links below, many of the benefits of the Course have been repeated a number of times under different heading and subheading across the PROSPECTUS.
Scan Copy 1: What Accreditation Brings You/Your New Credential
Scan Copy 2: 10 Good Reasons to Become a Freelance Journalist
Scan Copy 3: 5 More Good Reasons To Do This Course
Scan Copy 4: Your Guarantees
Scan Copy 5: What's Special About This Course
Scan Copy 6: What's Required On Your Part?
Note: I had successfully completed the Course on 27 January 2009, and received my accredited media pass with my photo on it in February 2009. However, at the time of writing this statement (20 Oct 2009), I am still unable to enjoy any of the benefits outlined above as an accredited freelancer of INS and ANFS. Why? Read the following to know the reason:
(3) The content of the assignment that got me into trouble with my tutor and INS.
There were 10 assignments in this 6 months course. Part of the number 9th assignment required us to define our area of specialisation in our writing career. Click here for the content of my assignment that got me into trouble with my Tutor and INS.
(4) My tutor response and remark on the content of the above “Outcast” assignment
The academy has a 5 days assignment return policy and it was consistent throughout my first 8 assignments. However, for this assignment, my tutor refused to mark it for more then a month. I have to initiate a series of communications before he finally returned me on the 27th Jan 2009 with the following remark:
Hi Wei Ling, thanks for your assignment and your letter. I understand that you are very passionate about the subject of the portrayal of China in the western media, and the issues of Chinese global politics.
Both of these would make for very good areas of specialisations in your writing career. However, I would say that you will not be very successful in achieving commissions if you use your articles to push your own personal opinions.
You will, after all, be writing for the western media for the most part, and as such, I cannot envisage too many editors being willing to publish your articles on which you rail against their papers and magazines.
All journalism and freelance writing should be balanced and opinion free. If you feel that much of what is written about China’s relationships with the west is not balanced or accurate, then that is your right – and you seem to have done a great deal of research on the matter.
However, it is fair to say that that is your opinion, and very few editors or readers will be interested in that opinion.
My advice is that you use your excellent research, fantastic passion and great analysis to write on a broader range of subjects – particularly if you wish to earn an income from freelance writing.
The areas you have concentrated on are certainly interesting, and would make for a good specialisation, but they will not result in a regular flow of commissions.
I hope this helps and I have provided feedback on your ideas below.
(5) Where is my democratic right for free speech, free expression, free opinion and free will in the supposedly “Free” World without fear and favour?
The reason I did not mention my tutor name in this website is that, he is not the one who deprived me my right to access my entitlements as an accredited ANFS and INS’s freelancer.
As suggested by the title “freelance” journalist, I am supposedly “free” to come out with my own story ideas and try to sales to editors in the media industry through INS or ANFS syndication service. The Academy printed Prospectus mentioned 3 times that, we can specialise in our passion. For examples, detail in 10 Good Reasons to Become a Freelance Journalist, and 5 More Good Reasons To Do This Course,
The Academy own tutorial material in pg 19 (tutorial six) under the heading “Identifying Angles” indicated that: “Every story, no matter how simple, has innumerable angles. These are the different approaches you might take to it. In writing a topic from one angle as opposed to another, you may of course, uncover more related stories…” and “each of these angles is a story in its own right, yet they are all based on one event. Further exploration could yield even more story ideas.”
The problem I encountered with my tutor in this instant is that, when the angle I selected as my area of specialisations not of his personal liking, he then forgotten what has been taught in the tutorial: “ each of these angles is a story in its own right” and what has been preached to us before enrolment “you can specialise in your passion”. My tutor begin to request that I should be “opinion free”, and claim that “very few editors or readers will be interested in that opinion”. He also mentions two times in his above short comment about not successful in earning “commission” or “income” in my area of specialisation. My tutor then advice me to use my “excellent research, fantastic passion and great analysis to write on a broader range of subjects”.
Who the hell my tutor think he is to represent the view of all the editors and readers in the Western world? Is that a crime to specialise in the areas of my chosen?
On the other hand, after cooling myself down with some logical analysis, I have to admit that, I respect my tutor for his honesty and frank advice as I believe there are some kind of control at a higher level in the western media industry. My tutor simply told me the reality in the industry. I honestly feel that he is a man I can still respect and for this reason I do not have any hard feeling against him.
The irony of this incident is that, the media industry in the “FREE” world seem to place themselves on the moral high ground whenever they abused or accusing other culture of media censorship, when one of their own citizen critical about their bias, selective and distorting behaviour, they seem to show no tolerance at all to their own critic.
(6) How Mr. Joseph Morris, the director of International News Syndicate (INS) can deprive me of my right to enjoy all the benefits promised by his own Journalism Academy in print after my accreditation?
I was officially informed by the Student Service of the Academy on 27 January 2009 about my successful completion of the Course. I then received my certificate and accredited Media Pass in February without any welcome letter as a new member, and without any information of the benefits as an accredited member of ANFS and INS.
I then make an enquiry to the student service with regards to what I should do next to enjoy the benefits as an accredited member? In this enquiry, I also enquired about the web address of my web listing, and a series of other benefits promised by the Academy at the successful completion of the course. But I received no reply from the Student Service. (Note: throughout the course of submitting the 10 assignments, the student service automatically acknowledge receipt of our assignment by e-mail, and inform us that our tutor will provide us feedback within a few days). So I decided to lodged a complaint to the director of the Academy - Mr. Joseph Morris about the bad services of the Student Service. This is how he reply. (Click here for detail). (Note: Joseph Morris using article submission as a diversion to avoid the issue of my entitlements as accredited INS or ANFS’s member in this e-mail)
(7) A series of untruthful statements from Mr. Joseph Morris (detail analysis outlined in my 9000 words complaint statement to the Anti-Discrimination Commission).
This e-mail by Mr. Joseph Morris is professionally written and on the outset, everything sounded so reasonable and convincing. However, with some logical thinking, research and analysis, I have good reason to believe that, many of the statements he made are simply a series of lie and deceit to prevent me from accessing my rights to create my personal web listing on his syndication website for editors (25,000 editors or at least 4800 as stated in Mr. Morris emails) to view and decide by themselves if they will commission me for my research. Detail of my analysis is on my 9000 words complaint statement to the Anti-Discrimination Commission dated 6th April 2009.
(8) The email debate between Mr. Joseph Morris and myself. (Final Notice)
Throughout the almost 3 months of dispute with the Academy and INS since the submission of my “Outcast” assignment on 16 Dec 2008, we have an approximately 29,000 words of email correspondents. These e-mails are filed as printed attachment to the Anti-Discrimination Commission. I would like to select the final few correspondents for reader to judge by themselves what has gone wrong.
Below is an article I written for Tutorial 2 in August 2008, and added information in January 2009. The Original title is: We Should Be More Objective When Criticising China On Human Rights Issues. Please read this article first to form your own opinion before reading Joseph Morris e-mail below. (Note: Throughout the 6 months course, The Academy did not teach us anything on referencing our sources. In fact, we were told that, unlike America, Australia is not as strict about quoting our sources).
As Joseph Morris in his previous email claim that my article contain “political comment” and lie that “INS does not syndicate political comment”. I have no choice but to asked him to use the above “China’s Human Rights article” as example to define his meaning of “Political Comment”. Below is how Joseph Morris wrote:
Joseph Morris email dated 9 March 2009 with subject box title: FW: Please explain which part of my article contain political Comment?
My reply to Joseph Morris above e-mail in 2 parts:
Part 1: Reply- Part I of 2 - Principle Issues vs. Political Comment?
Part 2: Final Notice - part II of 2 – you are not fair to me in your “political comment” (Read this at least!!!)
Joseph Morris email reply on 20 March 2009 (Computer date)
My reply to the above e-mail: My reply dated 20 March 2009
Belinda Sharp, the General Manager of Morris Journalism Academy suddenly send me an e-mail on 23 March 2009 (the dateline of my Final Notice) trying to imposed a term and condition on my membership to deprive me the right to write anything political for INS syndication service.
Belinda Sharp - e-mail dated 23 March 2009
Please click on Special Note for an analysis using screen print copy of ANFS website vs. statements made by Joseph Morris emails.
(9) The Anti-Discrimination Commission response to my complaint.
I am not in a legal profession. However, I strongly believe that my 9000 words statement to the Anti-Discrimination Commission should grant me the right for a hearing at the Tribunal as I have met the two criteria outline in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. However, to my surprise and disbelieve, my case was rejected 3 times for hearing by the Commission.
The person in the Anti-Discrimination Commission who rejected my case didn’t even have his or her name printed underneath the signature. So, I have no ideas the name of the person who rejected my case. Click here for a scan copy of the 3rd rejection letter I received from the Anti-Discrimination Commission.
Appreciate, If any one of you with legal knowledge who border to read my 9000 word statement to the Anti-Discrimination Commission can provide me some advice on this matter. My contact is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I may add some of my correspondents with the Anti-Discrimination Commission to this website at an appropriate time.
(10) Why I decided to put my case on the Internet?
The Anti-Discrimination Commission asked me to appeal his/her decision to reject my case for a hearing at the Supreme Court, that will cost me a lot of money. Beside, there is a saying in the Western world, “the amount of Justice you can get is proportionate to the amount of money you can afford to pay for the legal proceeding”.
Needless to say, I decided not to persuade the case further using the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. I eventually decided to go on the Net for the following reasons:
(11) A Salute to the genuine democratic spirit of the Australian people.
Over the last few months, in order to get feedback from my fellow Australians, I have actively showing the content of my “Outcast” assignment and the content of my tutor reply to many of those whom randomly walked into my shop whom I didn’t even know their name to provide me a frank opinion on the incident.
To my delight and consolation, the general response is, “This is freedom of speech and expression”. A number of them even suggest that I use Twitter or Face Book to campaign my course.
A lecturer from the nearby University told me that, “Your voice may not be heard in a democratic institution, but you will be heard on the INTERNET.”
Peter, a man with a mouthful of beard, a kind soul with ancestors from the “First Fleet” bought me a set of Webster’s Home Reference Library to help improve my vocabulary and grammars.
A good friend of mine, provided me the following e-mail feedback:
“With complete freedom of speech I am of the view that a person should be free to voice out opinion as he or she desires. This is what democracy is all about. No point writing if you have to compromise your writing because certain party may not like the way you write. As long as your facts are right I believe you are free to voice out your opinion and views the way you see them.”
As there are limit for me to express my ideology using Twitter alone, I decided to design my own website, and use Twitter as a public forum.
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