On the first day of uni in 2015, we were sent on a scavenger hunt. Josie put us into groups of four and gave us a list of places to go to; the Supreme Court, the Town Hall, The Age offices, and SBS. It was a fun, ice-breaking experience. We got to enjoy the new freedom of uni, while meeting some of our new classmates. I remember looking at The Age and SBS, and thinking maybe one day I would be working there. Fast forward three years and I am now working as a radio journalist at SBS. I know it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for my hard work, determination and the Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) at RMIT.
If there is one thing I have taken out of this course, is that a good journalist is always fair, accurate and balanced. It’s what Josie said to us in our first lecture and it’s something I always think about every time I create a piece, whether it be for print, online, radio or television. I always ask myself the questions, am I reporting this to the best of my ability? Is it accurate? Am I showing unfair bias towards a particular group or community?
These questions are the first things a journalist should always think about. But there is obviously so much more to the job. I believe the primary role of a journalist is to inform people. We have to be able to source information, through research and interviewing, make sense of it all, and then explain it to the public in a clear and concise way. When I first started my degree, I thought the best way to do this was through written pieces. I thought I would end up working at The Age or the Herald Sun. But over the years, I have drastically changed my thinking.
When I started, I had absolutely no journalism experience. I had never had a piece published or my voice on air. After hearing how accomplished some people in my course were, I was terrified. How would I ever match up to the amazing work they had already done? Luckily for me, in our first session during o-week, the wonderful people at SYN spoke about their news and current affairs program Panorama. While the idea of creating a radio package in a day was daunting, I knew I had to push myself if I ever wanted to succeed. I put my name down that day, signed up for training a few weeks later, and by April 2015, I was on air on a weekly basis.
SYN is a large reason why I’m where I am today. Throughout my first and second year, I worked as a reporter, day producer and then assistant producer on Panorama. I developed the confidence and capability to interview, script, record and edit an original radio package within a few hours. I conducted live interviews, and panelled and hosted the program on numerous occasions. This experience gave me a new passion- radio. I started to realise that, while I don’t love my voice on air, the medium was far more enjoyable and collaborative for me than any other written work I was doing for Catalyst or online news sites.
The confidence I gained from volunteering at SYN also flowed into my uni work. In second year, when our focus was on broadcast journalism in first semester, I was able to utilise my newfound organisation and news skills into my radio and television pieces.
But second semester of second year opened up my mind to untraditional methods of journalism. Drones, social media and data scraping are skills I never thought I would need as a journalist. But the Journalism Technologies class made me excited for the opportunity to tell a news story on Snapchat, which I did as an assessment, or to create infographics from a slab of data.
All of these skills helped me in my internships earlier this year. I interned at SBS World News Radio in Melbourne, The Age, ABC Rural, and the Leader newspapers. I had valuable experiences at all of these places because RMIT really prepares you for the real world. I never felt completely out of place. Instead, I was confident and comfortable, but I always tried to display a willingness to learn. My competency and enthusiasm during my internships landed me the job at SBS and a job offer from the Leader newspapers.
Coming to the end of my degree is a bit surreal. The years have flown by and I feel I have changed both professionally and personally. The final semester has been intense, but so rewarding, juggling work at SBS and consistent uni deadlines. I know these last few months, and the entire last three years, have truly prepared me and put me in good stead for my future as a journalist.