Team

Headshots taken by Stephanie Stamatelatos

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Rio Davis

I’m Rio, I’m studying a Graduate Diploma of Journalism at RMIT. I’m an amateur psephologist, occasional writer and constant country kid.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined the YPG because it is an incredible opportunity to get some real experience in the halls of State Parliament. The program trains us, puts us in the press booths and helps us get published. Politics is incredibly important yet is so often misunderstood, and I want to help remedy that.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is Barrie Cassidy. His analysis, experience, and considered wisdom inspire me, especially when delivered in his smoky tones.

You can follow me on Twitter at @riordandavis1.


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Cassidy Sneikus

My name is Cassie and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Studies, History) at the University of Melbourne.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I became involved with the YPG because I love to empower young people to make a positive change in their community and the world. It’s an incredible opportunity to gain an insight into political journalism and the issues that matter to so many young Victorians across the state, and I am so thankful that I am able to play a part in this.

Who is your favourite journalist?

I’m loving Tiana Sixsmith, an upcoming young journalist who speaks beautifully about important international affairs that affect the youth.

You can follow me on Twitter at @cassiesneikus and on Instagram at @cassie.sneiku.


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Allanah Sciberras

I’m Allanah, I’m studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications, majoring in Journalism I have always wanted to get into journalism so I could tell stories of those that they can’t tell themselves.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined Youth Press Gallery because I want to show the world that young people care about politics. Politics can be more than just white men yelling at each other – it can be about people wanting the change the world.

Who is your favourite journalist?

I absolutely love Avani Dias. I think seeing such a confident female journalist is inspiring. Her articles cover a wide scope of issues that some media may stray away from.

You can follow me on Twitter @lanasciberras and Instagram @lanasciberras.


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Sismita Sasmita Sarpudin

I’m Sismita and I’m currently taking my Masters on Global Media Communications. My full-time job is being a mother of two cats & writing is a side hobby to support this.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I have always been passionate about writing and I joined the Youth Press Gallery because I want to gain first-hand experience in political journalism, which became my interest during the course of my study here in Melbourne. I think it is important for youths to be able to have a platform and voice our opinions regarding issues that can affect our lives in the future and Youth Press Gallery is a good way to start raising awareness of this.

Who is your favourite journalist?

I am obsessed with Alex Abad-Santos from Vox. He writes about pop culture like no one else. He can always find a tie between fiction and reality. His piece on Black Panther & why the movie is important is my personal favourite!

You can follow me on Twitter @sismita and Instagram @sismita.


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Sam Kane

I’m Sam, and I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Melbourne, majoring in Politics and International Studies and Media and Communications. 

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I have a passion for telling stories, and for working with young people – and believe that being involved in Youth Press Gallery allows me to pursue both of these interests, as well as learn valuable journalistic and parliamentary skills. I am also interested in politics and ensuring that all people have the best opportunity to live their lives – and think being involved in YMCA Victoria’s Youth Parliament program more broadly will help to see real change occur in our world. I am studying a Bachelor of Arts at The University of Melbourne, majoring in Politics and International Studies and Media and Communications.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is Hamish Macdonald, particularly because of his interviewing style and ability to get to the very core of an issue. I really enjoy his longer style television and radio pieces, where he investigates an issue and from that comes real action and real change.

You can follow me on Twitter at @SamKane98.


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Emily Dobson

I’m Emily. Currently, I am undertaking a Bachelor in Communications, majoring in Journalism. I have a keen interest in politics, dogs and helping to give a voice to the voiceless.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I’ve always felt a strong connection to advocacy and speaking up against what is wrong. This program allows me to to share the stories of those so commonly looked over and ignored, the youth. As well as this, I am strongly motivated by politics and through YPG I am able to gain relevant experience in a field that I have always wanted to pursue as a career.

Who is your favourite journalist?

I love Samantha Maiden. She’s very topical regarding politics and my feed is always full thanks to her witty repertoire of gifs/commentary on issues that many seem to brush over.

You can follow me on Instagram @em.dobson or on Twitter @emdobsonn.


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Lachlan Abbott

I’m Lachie. Currently, I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts at Swinburne University, majoring in Journalism and Politics. I’m also interested in sport, travel and film, although at times the performance of the Essendon Football Club does dampen my enthusiasm.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined the YPG as I thought it would be a great professional experience in a field I’m keen to pursue a career in. While I tend to be pretty laid back, I’m still passionate about social, political and environmental issues.

Who is your favourite journalist?

Barney Ronay from the Guardian UK is an excellent football writer. He seems to have a knack for picking out the perfect word or metaphor each time.

You can follow me on Twitter at @lachieabbott.


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Anhar Al-Shameri

I’m Anhar. I’m studying a Bachelor of Communications (Media) at RMIT University. I’m passionate about communicating a sense of unity and harmony as I believe communities are not divided but miscommunicated.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I participated in the YPG because I wanted to create a tangible positive change that has a direct impact on society. Youth Press Gallery provides a rare opportunity for me to witness the birth of change in the chambers at Parliament House.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is the Australian media figure, Waleed Aly. He uses his platform to spread awareness about important issues to the society. His arguments are factually accurate with a hint of a personal opinion. I simply aspire to be the female version of him.

You can follow me on Facebook or on Instagram @shutupanhar.


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Ashleigh Barraclough

I’m Ashleigh and I’m studying media and politics at the University of Melbourne. Someone once told me I have no friends, only sources.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined Youth Press Gallery because I love media and politics, and Youth Parliament has provided me with a great opportunity to intersect my interests. I’m also passionate about the role young people play in shaping society, and I value this opportunity to give them a voice. Through this program, we’ve been trained by professional journalists who’ve been working in the field for years, and we’ve collaborated with each other to combine our ideas and produce powerful journalism.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is the one and only Leigh Sales, who can go from grilling federal politicians one moment to conducting a heartfelt and emotional interview the next.

You can follow me on Twitter at @ashleighbarra.


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Lyreca Corloncito

I’m Lyreca and I’m studying Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Media, at RMIT University. “The less you know, the more you believe” –Bono

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

The Youth Parliament is a great way to have your voice heard and for important issues to be spoken about. What better way is there than the youth reporting on the youth – the Youth Press Gallery allows for this opportunity to be available on various platforms, keeping the public well-informed and involved in politics. That is why I joined the Youth Press Gallery!

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is Waleed Aly who speaks for the minorities in Australia, especially as an ethnic news reporter. I also had the opportunity to meet his wife, Susan Carland, who shared their experiences as a Muslim family living in Melbourne.

You can follow me on my Instagram @lolyreca.


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Youssef Saudie

I’m Youssef and I’m studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at RMIT. I’m all about giving us youth a voice! I’ve been a Youth Services Officer, a Youth Reporter and now a part of the Youth Press Gallery!

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined Youth Press Gallery because I wanted to gain experience in political and multimedia journalism while assisting in providing a platform for youths voices to be heard in the media. I’ve always been passionate about anything media related but journalism is really special to me and to our society in general.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is Jeanette Francis (Jan Fran). I admire her way of doing both serious and humourous presenting. She can rant humourously about current affairs then travel across the globe and take on investigative journalism.

You can follow me on Instagram @youssef_saudee and on Twitter @youssefsaudie.


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Amy Marks

I’m Amy, and I’m passionate about promoting social change, propelling progressive ideas to large audiences and amplifying and empowering minority voices through media.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined the Youth Press Gallery because I really wanted to improve my skills working in a fast-paced environment as well as learn how to report accurate and effective information.

Who is your favourite journalist?

I don’t have a favourite! Locally But I’ll go with Louis Theroux, a British journalist and documentary filmmaker. Known for making exploratory films on obscure, taboo or generally stigmatised topics or communities. Generally, he tries to see if the preconceptions around these are true while also trying to show other aspects that are more “human” and give more explanation and context to the topic.

You can follow me on Instagram @amymarksthesepics.


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Afiqah Rozali

My name is Afiqah and I am a Media and Communication student at Swinburne University of Technology. I enjoy reading, playing with my cats and eating spicy food in my free time.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined Youth Press Gallery because I saw it as a rare and wonderful opportunity to push myself personally and professionally. I believed this program will offer me the necessary environment to learn new practical tools as well as gain valuable knowledge that will allow me to flourish in my chosen career in the future. 

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is Leigh Sales. I love her strength, confidence, discipline and intellect and she inspires me to develop those same qualities in myself.

You can follow me on Twitter @afiqahrozalii and on Instagram @afiqah.rozali.


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Magy Mekhaiel

Hey, I’m Magy. I have a background in International Studies and Politics and I’m currently completing my MA in Global Media and Communication at the University of Melbourne. 

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

Ever since I was young, I’ve always appreciated anything media related, so alongside my Master’s degree at the University of Melbourne, I joined YPG to gain practical political journalism and marketing experience. The media is so powerful and through journalism, I am able to express myself and voice the voiceless. So many young adults in this program are passionate about a range of issues that affect our everyday lives. This program gives me the opportunity to amplify that youth’s passion, keep the public well informed and encourage the political participation of our younger generation.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My current favourite photojournalist is American James Nachtwey, I particularly love “The Journey of Hope” where he was able to document the refugee crisis in Europe to reflect the consequences of Middle Eastern war, poverty and oppression.

You can follow me on Instagram @magymekhaiel and Twitter @magymekh.


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Ali Robson

I’m Ali, and I have recently graduated from RMIT with a Bachelor of Professional Communication, majoring in Journalism. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and my passion is finding and sharing them.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined the YMCA Youth Parliament Press Gallery program to gain more experience in journalism, to experience first-hand what it is like to report on politics. Covering youth issues is especially important to me and has been really rewarding. 

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist would have to be Carrie Bickmore, I so admire her confident and warm presence on The Project desk. I think she has contributed greatly to making news accessible for all, which is something I’m really passionate about. She is also from Western Australia, like myself, which means I have an extra soft spot for her.

You can follow me on Twitter @ali_robson98 and on my Instagram @ali_robson.


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Minyue Ding

I’m Min, I’m studying a master of journalism at Monash University. I think finding and writing stories about our world makes me feel valuable.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined the YMCA Youth parliament because I find it’s always impressive to see young people participate in a wide range of issues, which relevant to their lives and futures. And it’s also touching to see an environment can positively encourage young people to express themselves. It’s worth recording and witness these remarkable stories as a reporter always makes me feel valuable.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is E. B. White. His work opened my world when i was a kid, and encouraged me to write.

You can follow me on Facebook or on Instagram @asandinm.


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Medha Vernekar

I’m Medha and I’m currently studying media and communications at the University of Melbourne. I love all things journalism, story-telling and political satire.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined the Youth Press Gallery because it has given me the opportunity to report on inspiring young advocates fighting for issues they are passionate about. The YPG also allows for young journalists like me to get a foot in and experience political reporting in the beautiful Parliament.

Who is your favourite journalist?

I am an absolute fan of Nick McKenzie (@ageinvestiagtes) and Richard Baker of Fairfax Media. Coming from Hong Kong, I became an avid reader of the pair’s articles since the report of UGL pay out to the then chief executive of Hong Kong. Since then, I’ve admired all the investigative pieces written by the two journalists and look up to their tenacity and persistence on finding the truth.

You can follow me on Twitter @medha_vernekar or on Instagram @medhavx.


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Moemina Shukur

I’m Moemina and I’m studying a Bachelor of Media and Communication (Journalism) at La Trobe University. One of my favourite things about journalism is interviewing people and getting to listen to their incredible stories. 

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I joined the Youth Press Gallery because I wanted a platform where I could help voice the incredible change the Youth Parliament are achieving. Having a passion for media has sparked my interest in connecting with people and hearing their incredible stories whilst also assisting in their voices being heard. Through the Youth Press Gallery, I have been trained by incredible journalists and photographers that have given me the journalist skills.

 

You can follow me on Instagram @m_shukur and on Twitter @MoeminaShukur.


 

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Stephanie Stamatelatos

My name is Stephanie and I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Journalism and French) and a Bachelor of Laws at Monash University. In the context of the political landscape, journalists play a critical role in facilitating Australia’s representative democracy. As journalists, we act as a conduit to give all members of the community the necessary information required in order to form an opinion. I greatly value the opportunity to write articles and pitch them to newspapers as I think that there’s an authenticity underpinning print journalism that isn’t necessarily reflected in the media. With this year’s bills ranging from the mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin to the need for increased deaf facilities in Victorian schools, there are significant issues that warrant attention and discussion.

Why did you join the Youth Press Gallery?

I am extremely passionate about the powerful voice of youth! There is no doubt that a rounded debate regarding Australia’s pressing political issues necessitates the thoughts and insights of young Australians. At the crux of a student’s ambitions lies an inherent desire to make a mark on society and to ultimately have their ideas heard by others. This provides a fulfilment that is only enhanced by the possibility of broadening and potentially altering perspectives. I am inspired by my peers in both the Press Gallery Program and the Youth Parliament Program who encapsulate this notion. I love connecting with people and am looking forward to fostering amazing friendships with people from all around Victoria!

With a long-standing love for writing and zest for debate, I chose to study Journalism at university and deem the Press Gallery Program to perfectly complement my studies. My Journalism studies have not only illuminated the impact of the written word, but have also made me conscious of the responsibility that is synonymous with this powerful tool. I’m a fierce advocate for standing up for what you believe in and am energised by the prospect of giving a voice to the voiceless.

I’m looking forward to gaining a tangible insight into representative politics and the process of policy development. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to receive intensive training from professional journalists, to elevate my skills in a fast-paced environment and to promote social change. It’s an honour to work within the halls of State Parliament and to interview politicians.

Who is your favourite journalist?

My favourite journalist is Ita Buttrose who is the chair of the ABC and the 2013 Australian of the Year. She personifies class, intelligence, eloquence and charisma; qualities that have cemented her status as a leader in the public eye. I have utmost respect and admiration for Ita due to her unwavering pride in Australia, her steadfast commitment to catalysing change and her uncompromising integrity. What is distinctive about Ita is her use of her high profile as a media icon to raise awareness of a plethora of often ignored societal issues such as breast cancer, mental health, dementia and HIV/AIDS. I am motivated by her conviction that “the only limitations are the ones we put on ourselves” and hope to embody this conviction in my future career.

You can follow me on Instagram @steph_stama.