Peer Review // Benjamin Trainor: Youth Legal Aid Blog

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The concept of Benjamin Trainor’s project ‘Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights‘ is to create a legal-aid style resource, with a young Australian audience. Beyond this youth focus, there was initially no particular limitation placed on the scope of content to be covered beyond that of the project’s goals. Ben uses a blog-style website to put forward aid/knowledge/research as a Media and Law undergraduate, about legal topics pertinent to his aimed audience and ultimately Generation Y. I have chosen to compose this critical appraisal of Ben’s work because not only through his words “The firm I am employed with doesn’t have an affiliated or in house legal aid resource as do its competitionand to add to his CV, but rather, it is immensely relevant to my own demographic as a young Australian. Living in a country where we have the privilege of a fairly decent legal system, I see it as an obligation to know my own rights in order educate and protect myself in all situations.

The social utility of this project and why it deems importance in the lives of its audience is the way it educates and informs responders about the the legal system and the legalities surrounding an array of issues. It’s free-to-view purpose allows readers (so long as they have internet connection) to seamlessly examine the legal structures that affect them or want to be informed by. It aims to challenge the misinformation that is so commonly found online in terms of our rights and what we can and can’t do in all sorts of conditions. This form of work also helps Ben and his aims in defining himself within his desired field of Law, showing his capabilities in highlighting diverse sets of data for online audiences.

Throughout my experience in Ben’s work I have witnessed the variation in regards to his trajectory.  This change is evident in his content scope to which he was expressing to his audience. His first three blog posts delved into the ‘Rights Framework‘ within Australia as well as digital misinformation within our digital spheres – these posts were informative but I feel did not grasp the audience that he originally wanted and were not hitting the mark for strong utility. The posts were not were composed in a way that would be well receptive by all members of the intended demographic because of its dense use of language and context. His reiterations through the development stage refined this content scope as he turned away from dreary matter and harnessed his efforts into the more contemporary.

Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights is conceptually germane, the  latest prototype examines legal issues that deal with the (17-25) age bracket directly or that we as a generation may have or could perhaps experience at one point in our lives. He has shown adaptivity in this transformation –  exploring topics such as:

  • Vehicle Offences – Drink Driving
  • Police Powers – to arrest/search property
  • Legal stance on the use of VPNs
  • Tutorial-like information (Writing a Character Reference)

It focuses on the actual law, putting them in context with thought-out scenarios which helps the responder frame it’s usefulness in terms of their own experiences. For example, a scenario of domestic violence is laid down as a foundation for the work’s continuation into the topic of Police Power and the how one should deal with officers who want to enter their property:

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Performing this step explains the situation in a way that is digestible for the average viewer, suggesting real terms and outcomes – making it a valuable resource for the legality of everyday occurrences. Knowing what precautions to take, and what authorities have control of (if any) in a position where so many internal and external factors come into play, is a useful tool to have.

The methodology of ‘Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights’ has been a crucial factor for the project from it’s start-up, progress and now current state in terms of it’s functionality and relevance to audiences. The goal of the project was to combat legal issues clearly, with no misinformation or disruption from its reception – supported by current statistics/legal information, scholarly materials and  legislation and case law. Though his take on the topic on VPNs and their legality was depicted in a different way, because legal information on this form of emerging private networking is definitely new – which would highlight blurred boundaries of research. The methodology therefore was shifted in this response, outlining what VPNs are and do and what laws they may be linked with (Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)),  rather than presenting data they would very well be biased and unclear. Therefore the integrity of the work is maintained by delving into facets that VPN’s are capable of and how they could be wrongfully used. Critically thinking about his approach I feel as if harbouring another medium/s through his project could have been very effective and could have allowed a good opportunity to scale up. A podcast or video series may have ticked boxes of accessibility and professionalism in expressing the legalities of specific issues.  Ben could have really benefited from presenting himself and his knowledge in formats more than just text, but in saying this he has kept his content short, precise and to the point.

Ben presented his BETA effectively, outlining his new approach based on the feedback from his curated seminar, tackling issues that we wanted to see and that were important to us a collective of young people. Myself along with many others found his work resonated through the notion of helping today’s youth at the same time effectively building up his own portfolio. He was able to find a stable middle ground both both goals were elevated and were in the stages of successful progress. Because this project is so applicable to the daily lives of this generation – where most people do not know the legal parameters in modern issues, this resource would boom further if given the opportunity to gain traction. Suggestions like reaching out to licensed or larger-scaled  publishers that deal with young people or those in contact with the offended or offenders of such legal situations. Triple J, VICE and even collaborations through universities would have great potential to reach larger audiences under he same social banner. I would heavily suggest that he go through with these forms of avenues to further build his practice and credentials.

In conclusion, I am thoroughly impressed by ‘Youth Legal: 21st Century Rights‘ and Ben’s application of this resource through a contemporary manner. We learn about the importance of our rights and understanding the law, so that if we are ever faced with such circumstances, we have correct knowledge and judgement to effectively deal with them. Furthermore, he was able to channel his own desires of building a profile for himself through an important facet of society and law. His project is a successful depiction of a intent-driven resource which is very valuable to his audience.



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