1.Tell me more about yourself.
Hi, I’m Lee Wan Juin, from School of Business in year 2 semester 2. Currently doing a double degree in Business and Communications. I am also the president for Monash News, short form of MEWS.
2. What’s MEWS?
MEWS is a club that works and produces news by Monash students for Monash students about Monash students. We are not a formal news production but whatever we produce concerns the students. The function of it is to make sure that there is some form of connection between all the students where they don’t have to physically go out and socialise but they are still informed on what goes around campus.
3. How are things going on so far in MEWS?
Well, I think for a club that has just started, I would say we’re doing pretty decent. There are a few typo errors in our first and second edition, which we are working on that. We are also having trouble looking for sponsors because each week, we feature a sponsor’s ads in the paper. So, companies aren’t sure about the number of students we reached, and also whether we are a hoax, haha. However after the first 2 editions came out, we managed to secure a few more sponsors!
4. What sparked your interest to open such a club?
Remember somewhere around last year, or the year before, there were quite a number of suicide cases? I just felt that for most of us in Monash News, we have a pretty good social life. As you can imagine, as people who write news, we are obliged to go out and retrieve information. For us, social life is pretty decent. But there are others who has no clue on socialising, and they also might not be easily accepted by society which makes them feel secluded. Because there are various activities around campus, which are usually participated by the same group of students, therefore the barrier for them to get involved increases.
So, Monash NEWS aims to reach out to students. We don’t mind if you stay in your comfort zone but we want to let people know that they are not alone and they will be updated constantly. The moment they want to join an activity, they don’t have to put in a lot of effort since we have told them when, where, how and who to contact the person in charge of the activity.
Moreover, as a student from journalism, I have always wondered why there are no such clubs relating to journalism. I also feel that Monash has many talented writers that are also passionate about society and their mental health. So, why not set this club right? I had this idea for sometime but I was pretty reluctant because I knew it would be difficult especially with my current state in my study period. I felt like it is worth a try because the university lacks of this. When I look around, there is something in between that is missing. I see students trying to bring activities into our campus and wanting to belong but there is not enough connection.
I am not 100% sure that MEWS will bring the effect that I want but I guess it’s worth a shot!
5. How was the journey to open up MEWS? Was it easy/tough?
When I first had this idea, I asked around for opinions and most of the time, I got positive response. As for the approval of the club, I had to go through many departments in MUSA to avoid any clashes with the things MEWS does. We even drafted a form of agreement saying that we would collaborate instead of compete with MUSA. We were also pushed around the admins until we got to Mr. Zebba which settled it all for us in the end.
At first, I was contemplating whether to put MEWS under MUSA’s editorial team but considering the lack of manpower in the team, I decided to find my own members with the same vision.
I knew I couldn’t wait for the approval first then recruit members, because I wanted to establish MEWS asap. One of the things that I was really grateful for is that nearly every single interview I conducted, the students that came forward were really skilled and committed. Because one of the highest criteria I had when recruiting committee members was commitment. No matter how unpolished someone is in a certain area, as long as they have a strong will to commit, it means they are willing to improve.
So far everyone in my team has the same vision which makes setting up the club easier. They are not my friends, and they are not working just because they are friends with Lee Wan Juin. They are working because they have the same idea as I do. So, I don’t really have to dictate anything and it creates a good relationship between all of us in MEWS.
As for printing, the company promised us a certain day and date to deliver. Everytime we approached them, it kept being delayed which is why our first edition was delayed by 3 days. It took a while for the printing company to realise until my last call to them. I was very straightforward and told them it’s not nice to keep MEWS waiting as we all have worked really hard for our first production and they finally delivered us the prints, yay!
As of now, the only issue that we are facing is whether we should increase the number of articles in the newspaper. One on hand we can’t afford it, but there a lot of our members have so much content to write that it seems unfair that there will be limited space. Then again, it’s something for us to think about in future and work on it.
6. How do you see MEWS in the next 2 years?
2 years is bit far but I’ll talk about next edition instead. Next week is a special collaboration with Toast in Monash. Our headlines will be “Toast 101” and if you go through the whole edition, you can find 101 things about them.
In future, we view MEWS as a communication hub. We are not just the sole core of information but we work with all the other entities in Monash that provides information. No matter where a student is and what time it is, they can still be informed. Most likely, we view ourselves as the bridge between organizers (including students and third party entities) of the events and all students regardless if they attended the event. In a sense, we are actually a catalyst for engagement not just for student activities but in the future, probably with external bodies. That’s what we are doing with our ads.
7. Any last words?
I’m really happy with what we have right now, we have 2 editions out and it’s more than whatever I could ask for. Of course, each of us in the club has an ideal and just that day, one of my members said that “Oh imagine if our kids come in Monash and they see a MEWS newspaper and we can tell them that we founded the club”.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, we’re called MEWS Monash. Also, do read our papers because we painstakingly put all the articles in there even though there are millions of typos, haha! Please support us as everything in there is for you!
There is no real glory in that one line that says written by whom if this content is crap, right? And we are willing to put our name there because we believe that that content is what you need to know.
Photos courtesy of Monash News Club – MEWS