A Mexican, a Brit and two Malaysians found themselves working together on a group assignment whilst pursuing a Masters of Media and Communications in Melbourne, Australia during one of the world’s longest and strictest COVID-19 lockdowns. Depressed, Anxious and Isolated: The Mental Health State of International Students in Australia is a long-form journalism produced as part of Multiplatform Media Production & Practice unit at Swinburne University of Technology under the supervision of Lecturer, Andrew Garton.
Anna Bailey, Alfredo Mendoza, Jackson Wong and Ashman Mahfudz were distanced as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and had no access to professional camera gear, or production labs and were confined to a five-kilometre radius of their homes. None of their bubbles overlapped. Despite being physically distant they were united by their desire to draw attention to the mental health struggles international students in Australia were experiencing and to highlight their vulnerability.
In addition to eclectic cultural backgrounds, the team members come from diverse professional backgrounds. This allowed them to create an eclectic and immersive story that showcases the strength and bravery and resilience of international students in Australia.
Alfredo is a digital native and media and communications all-rounder. Over the last seven years, he has combined his production, web development and project management skills to materialise ideas into digital marketing and technology products. This project was not the exception, he worked closely with the editorial team to convert raw copyright into a multimedia storytelling website.
Anna has extensive experience in the community services sector and currently volunteers in the refugee sector where she has received in trauma-informed practice and working with people with vulnerabilities. Additionally, she has freelanced as a copywriter, editor and travel writer. She blended her skill sets to source interviewees, making sure interview questions were trauma-informed, interviewing, setting up the framework of the publication, and editing the text.
Ashman was a corporate communication professional for the past seven years and specialised in media relations, influencer engagement and crisis communications. Ashman’s diplomacy skills were capitalised on and he was in charge of relevant contact with the experts, interviewing, worked closely with Anna on the drafts and edited part of the multimedia elements.
Jackson completed a Bachelor of Biotechnology at Monash University prior to commencing his media studies. His scientific background and meticulous attention to detail and obsession with accuracy meant he was naturally placed in charge of finding factual information, statistics, cataloguing the research and fact-checking. Jackson has also received training in web development and used these skills to help Alfredo make the statistics within the story easy to comprehend, and engaging.