A farewell note

22 October 2009

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It is difficult to know how to write a farewell speech – or in this case, a farewell article.

But we’ve heard a lot of farewell speeches over the past 18 months (coincidentally, all from members of the Liberal Party).  So it might be a little easier than what I had anticipated.

My favourite farewell speech was by the former treasurer and “prime minister we never had” Peter Costello, when he told parliament that Woody Allen was once asked what he hoped to hear people say at his funeral, to which he replied: “I would hope to hear somebody say, ‘Look, he’s still moving!’” Ambitious, I think.

But it doesn’t really fit the tone of what I wanted this article to have.  I suppose it could only work had I been editing for years, and despite my genuine desire to move up in the ranks, was constantly overshadowed by my superior.  Then I could write a Costello-like farewell.

Instead, I’ll start with what the opposition leader we probably never should have had, Brendan Nelson, started his farewell to parliament with.

It is with a sense of privilege, deep gratitude and team achievement that I make my final contribution to upstart magazine as founding student editor.

I’ve learned a lot about how an online publication works, how to knock back submissions (which hasn’t always been the easiest) and how to feel a deep sense of satisfaction when an article we had published on this site was either republished or linked to by another publication, or simply read on upstart in record numbers.

Building a solid audience for upstart was always going to be our main aim, but that happened much quicker than what I had anticipated – many of it thanks to the ever-evolving social media.

The best aspect of upstart magazine is that it provides emerging journalists with a platform to get their work published – which we keep getting told is a prerequisite for job applications.

During my editorship, we’ve received a lot of unsolicited pieces by students and emerging journalists who want to have a rant about everything from being uncomfortable with the stereotypical descriptions of generation Y to film, music and sports reviews.

At the upstart launch party, editor-in-chief Lawrie Zion said upstart was a collaboration and in many ways an unfinished masterpiece.  Let me take this opportunity to thank everybody who has contributed to this publication, and urge you to keep writing, as it will only get better.

I’m grateful to Lawrie Zion and Christopher Scanlon – the masterminds behind upstart – for not only giving me the opportunity to edit this publication, but also the opportunity to work alongside two outstanding journalists.

In his farewell speech, former prime minister John Howard wished Kevin Rudd luck, and said that the Coalition “bequeathed him a nation that is stronger and prouder and prosperous” than it was before they came in to power.

I don’t think there’s a need to repeat those words to the next editor of upstart, Tom Cowie.

Thank you to all who have contributed to usptart over the past four months.  Please continue to do so, as the publication only gets better with each day, and with each input.

Today, I’ve also handed in my last assignment at university and have completed my journalism degree. It was a bitter sweet feeling walking out of La Trobe for the final time as an undergrad.

Good luck to all of you with end-of-year assessments… and enjoy the partying afterwards.

Erdem Koc is the outgoing editor of upstart.  He heads to Kuwait this weekend with incoming editor Tom Cowie and upstart contributor Kelly Theobald as part of a student jouralism study tour. You can also hear Erdem regularly on SBS radio news.