Matthew Johnson is one of the students I met at the My Interning Life event in April. He impressed me with his enthusiasm and his recent experience at the Australian Open in January this year.
Find out what Matthew did at the AO13 and how you too can have a similar experience when applications open for the 2014 Australian Open.
19, Bachelor of Arts (intended majors in journalism and photography) at Monash University expecting to graduate in late 2015.
What is your dream job?
Ideally, my eventual dream job would be to become a reporter/photographer, either freelance or working directly with a media organisation, travelling alongside the tennis tour. I’ve had a love of tennis since the age of 10, and since I don’t have the skills on court to match it with the world’s best, documenting what the professionals do is the next best thing. I know it will require a lot of hard work, and , most likely, a number of years experience reporting here in Australia, honing my skills before I can try to take the step up to my ideal job.
Tell us about your role at the Australian Open in 2013
My experience at AO2013 was mainly as a photographer/photo editor. However, I worked closely with others working in related areas (ie. journalism, PR etc.) that I have a good understanding of most of the roles relating to media/PR etc.
My role was not only during the Australian Open period (three weeks), but also for three weeks in December during the December Showdown tournament (also three weeks). The December Showdown was a much more hands-on experience, with us photographers being in charge for not only taking our photos, but also editing them, and then uploading them to Tennis Australia’s flickr account. Events to be shot included matches, portrait sessions, PR opportunities and award ceremonies.
Describe your experience interning at the Australian Open
The Australian Open itself was a very intensive and eye-opening period. Having never worked in a media environment for longer than a week previously, it was initially a very daunting prospect. However, the environment that’s created in the media hub is incredibly motivating, and really pushes you to have an exceptional work ethic. By the end of the tournament, I was downright shocked with what I had achieved, and really reaffirmed to me that a job in the media industry, in some capacity, is what I endeavour to achieve.
The people who you work with are incredibly helpful. The amount of experience that many of my colleagues had was incredible, and I learnt a lot from some of the stories that they told. The skills that they help foster in you to perform the job to the best of your ability has really helped me in other aspects of my journalism and photographic pursuits since.
What was the most memorable experiences from the 2013 Australian Open?
The amount of amazing things you see behind the scenes is unbelievable. As where I worked was right across the corridor from one of the entrances to Rod Laver Arena, there would normally be a flurry of seasoned professionals walking past, including: Andy Murray, Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka. But I remember most vividly a time after Roger Federer finished a practice session, where he turned immediately from tennis professional to doting father. His two twins would run up and down the hallways, and he would start running after them. It’s something you don’t really expect from what you see on the TV.
I was lucky enough to take photos at a press opportunity at one of the marquees in Melbourne Park, where a number of veteran players would be gathering in an informal setting, chatting away to the media. I was lucky enough to meet the two Martinas (Hingis and Navratilova), Lindsay Davenport, Mark Woodforde, Guy Forget, among others.
Lastly, working during both the men’s and women’s finals was an incredible experience. The demand for photos to be uploaded and available online during the match was immense, and the experiences I had leading up to both finals helped me to cope with the fast-paced process. Plus, getting a photo with my idol from my early days playing tennis – Novak Djokovic – before he jetted off for Davis Cup duties was an added bonus.
From hearing fellow colleagues’ thoughts of AO2013, I can assure you that similar experiences are common, and such memories may come your way if you secure a role at AO2014.
What’s next for you – do you have another internship lined up?
I’m currently in between internships after having interned with the Herald Sun in their sports department during March (for a couple of days per week). Once exams for my university studies conclude, I will be ferociously trying to search out for the next industry placement I can potentially be a part of.
I also run a website called The Substitute, which I started back in June 2012. It’s currently in the process of being merged into The SportingJournal, where I’ll be working as part of their editorial team. So in the meantime, that will give me an outlet to continue being published in the online world, as well as honing my editing skills.
Matt shares his advice
Be persistent would be my main piece of advice. After sending in my application in June last year, it was a number of months before the job interview took place (a lot of applications are processed across all areas). In the meantime, I made sure that I would follow up with Tennis Australia’s HR department every few weeks to ensure that my application was still being processed. I did this to ensure that I would remain relevant to those who would be looking at my application, and reaffirm to them my interest in the job they were advertising.
Also, don’t underestimate what you can do during your time interning in the industry. I was completely blown away by the work ethic that I embodied during my time working at the Australian Open, and I put this down to not only being incredibly passionate about the role, but also the environment that those around me helped facilitate. Don’t ever doubt what you can achieve because more often than not you will definitely surprise yourself with what you can do.
And lastly, ensure you leave a lasting impression once your internship/experience comes to a close. Ensure to gain contacts, not only with your superiors, but (if relevant) others who were in the same position as you during your time working at the organisation. Professional contacts can help you to secure jobs in the future if you have a good rapport with them, and can act as mentors beyond your time at their organisation. Non-professional contacts can also be equally as useful, as you never know what they/you may achieve in the future.
Applications to apply at the Australian Open in 2014
Matt says, “One of the best things about working at AO is the near-guarantee that, if you’re still interested, you can return to work there in future years. As long as you’ve left a good impression on those who you worked with, it is pretty much certain that you can return to the same environment year after year.”
There are many roles in media/PR available, including: radio reporting, online content production, photography, social media, media liaisons, PR team members, etc. The full job list for the AO2014 will appear during the month of June. Keep an eye out and make sure you apply.
If you have any questions about the application process or for more advice feel free to tweet Matthew.
Isobel Loschiavo has been a very busy intern.
Since we last met, Isobel has interned at two other PR agencies and has recently landed herself a job as a PR Assitant. Isobel will be juggling PR work plus her final year university studies. How does she do it you ask? Find out below…
Tell us about what you’ve been doing since we last heard from you
The last time I spoke with MIL was mid last year and I had just finished an internship in Sydney at Burson-Marsteller. Since then I have completed a month long internship at Ogilvy PRin Melbourne and an internship at Flourish PR. I am also now officially a member of the Flourish team as PR Assistant, which really is a dream come true.
You’ve just finished an internship at Flourish PR – tell us about what you did there
Flourish was amazing. I definitely hit the intern jackpot! The Flourish girls are the most incredible mentors a young PR student could ask for. They made me feel so welcome and were always so encouraging (and still are!). I am forever in their debt for the way they have influenced me along my PR journey.
Of course I had to do all the usual intern jobs. But it was definitely worth it. Day to day I had to read newspapers from Melbourne and Sydney finding coverage on our clients. I would assist the girls in making follow up calls on pitching they had done, make media kits and doing research to name a few tasks.
I was also given the most incredible opportunity to attend the concerts of some of our clients. I got to see Guns N’ Roses, Chris Isaak, Guy Sebastian, Apia Time of My Life Tour and Aerosmith twice. Here I was able to interact with photographers and see how everything happens behind the scenes. I was also given the
most amazing opportunity by my boss Angela to go with her to assist at Chris Isaak’s press interviews at Club 23.
You’ve had some amazing internship experiences – tell us about your application process
For me the first thing I do is to research agencies. I will never apply for an agency that doesn’t stand out to me. Whether that be in the way of their clients or even just the vibe I get from their social media sites. Once I have applied, if I get asked to come in for an interview I make sure I do further research about the company and their clients. You never know what they will ask. It’s all about being prepared for anything.
Congratulations on your transition from intern to employee – how do you plan to juggle it with your final year at university?
Thank you. I am very happy. To be honest, it’s not something that ever crossed my mind as being difficult. I definitely love being busy so it’s very exciting. I will initially be doing three days at Flourish PR so I will be able to get to uni and also have time for assignments.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt along your intern journey?
Two simple words: work hard.
It’s something both my parents instilled in me but it’s only now I realised the true meaning of working hard for what you want. I would also stress that you need to make sure you are doing everything you’re asked to do. Even if you think it is boring or not something that interests you, just give it your best shot. Also ensure you show your passion for the company. Don’t be fake but if you truly love the agency you are interning for, don’t be afraid to dive in headfirst and prove to them that you are worth keeping.
If you could write a letter to yourself before you began your internship journey, what advice would you give yourself?
Be confident, believe in your own opinion or ideas, never doubt yourself and stay passionate.
My Interning Life wishes Isobel all the best.
Flourish PR are currently looking for a PR Intern in their Melbourne offices. Find out more here.
How do I get an internship?
So you’ve figured out what career path you want to pursue and now you want to gain some practical experience to beef out that CV. But how do you actually get an internship? It’s an exciting prospect but can feel a bit overwhelming. Below are some tips to help you score that dream internship.
Start by researching the companies or organisations that interest you or even the industries that you are passionate about.
This step can be achieved online and relatively quickly with the plethora of information companies have on their websites, social media accounts or even in news articles written about them.
For a Public Relations company, this may be researching clients they look after or work they have done previously. For a newspaper, this could be stories they have covered recently or the audience they target. If interest is sparked at this stage the passion you will have interning won’t be fake, it will be a genuine interest. Internships that you are passionate about are far more likely to end in paid employment than not; passion is infectious.
Make a list as you go so you can keep a record of places you are interested in for future reference. When I started interning I created an entire excel spreadsheet. It sounds crazy, but it’s helped me keep a record of companies I have contacted, their contact information and is a great resource of places I aspire to work for after I graduate.
2. Getting in touch:
Most companies have contact information in their ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ section on their website. In my opinion calling the company to ask if they take on interns is the best way to start. This way, you gain a lead on a name to address further correspondence by email with or if you’re lucky could be put through directly to discuss with them the details of applying for an internship program.
Being personal and putting in the extra effort makes you stand out. If this is an industry you’re passionate about you’ve got to keep in mind there are 100 other people who want that internship, being lazy won’t get you noticed.
Always note the name of the person who looks after the internship program and thank the person that you spoke to and make note of their name too.
Timing is also relevant when calling and emailing. Call early on in the day and try to be in their inbox first thing in the morning. Keep in mind that at unchtime people are out of the office or away from their desk and the afternoon is generally a high stress period.
3. Tailor your application:
Once you have clarified that a workplace takes on interns the next step is to send an email to follow up. In the subject line make note that your email is regarding interest in interning with them. Also make sure to address the email body to the person that coordinates the interns. Never address an email as ‘To Whom It May Concern’. Make sure it is tailored as it shows off your professionalism and attention to detail.
The body of the email should then be a brief introduction about yourself and why you want to intern with them and what time you had in mind to do so. Be as clear as possible and the ‘why’ portion could not be more critical. Is it because you read their articles on AFL and are passionate about sports journalism? Do you think you have great ideas to add to the PR work they have done for one of their clients? Anything that is as personal and tailored to the company the better. I can’t stress enough the importance of this step. Also include where and what you are currently studying and relate it back to why you want to intern at their company.
Proofread aloud to pick up errors. Even let someone else scan over to see if it makes sense.
4. The follow up:
I’ve played the waiting game numerous times before. However, considering how busy people are in this industry and how many emails they receive do you think they are going to respond just because you emailed?
If you’re eager to get experience the follow up email is important. If you’ve not received a response one week after your initial email simply email again. You’ve put in the effort to research, call and tailor the application, but remaining persistent is key.
For one company I had my heart set on I followed up three times before I even received an interview. It doesn’t need to be desperate or pestering, a simple, ‘I was wondering if you’d considered my application?’ or ‘I am checking in to see if you’d had a chance to read my email?’ are polite options to use.
5. The interview:
If the internship or work placement requires an interview to ascertain if they want to take you on, this is your chance to shine and to clarify if this is the right opportunity for you.
Take care to prepare and practice, and return to the reasons why you want to intern with this particular company and why you want to work in this particular industry. It sounds simple but so many people don’t have proper answers to these questions.
Make sure you bring some questions with you to ask about what the internship entails and a curiosity about the company and the work they do. By having no questions you unfortunately come across as disinterested.
Good Luck and Best Wishes.
Today’s featured intern is Sophie Shaw.
Sophie is an aspiring sports presenter and has been networking in the industry since she was 15 years old. She has just finished a summer internship at Cricket Australia and has also interned at Melbourne metro newspaper, The Herald Sun and CrocMedia.
Sophie Shaw, 22, studying a Bachelor of Sports Journalism at Latrobe University. Graduating mid 2014.
TV sports reporter/presenter. Always remember watching Christi Malthouse as a boundary rider for the AFL and that’s what kicked off my desire to be a sports journalist on television.
You’ve just finished a summer internship at Cricket Australia – tell us about it.
Prior to commencing my work with Cricket Australia I had to do some serious homework. I really had no idea about cricket other than some basic rules so that was my first challenge: preparing. I printed off profiles off all the current Australian contracted cricketers and studied their history and form. I then did the same with the opposing Test teams (West Indies & Sri Lanka).
It was throughout my time at CA that I developing an in-depth knowledge of the Sheffield Shield & Big Bash competitions along with the women’s teams.
My daily jobs would begin with monitoring all of CA’s social media sites, updating these social pages and the official CA website with news and relevant content, providing live scores and updates throughout Test matches, Sheffield Shield, Big Bash, Ryobi Cup and Women’s World Cup competitions, writing articles and creating photo galleries for website, and assisting with events/marketing/PR.
I worked with camera crews on match days to film segments for CATV (CA youtube channel) and I also had to work with a team to develop and implement effective social media strategies and identify opportunities for growth. I also learnt to use photo and video editing tools as well as having complete control over the CA website. Everything that had to be added or changed on the website had to go through me.
Tell us about your previous internship experiences at CrocMedia and the Herald Sun.
My roles at CrocMedia and in the AFL department at the Herald Sun were actually quite similar. I was with CrocMedia for one day a week for most of the 2012 AFL season and I spent four weeks full-time working with the Herald Sun in February 2012.
At both of these internships I was sent out to AFL press conferences. For CrocMedia, I had to record the interviews and then edit what I believed to be the best parts of the presser for distribution. At the Herald Sun, I was sent to the pressers to find a story. At the start I found myself getting pushed to the back of the back and being too nervous to open my mouth but the end I was claiming my position up the front and demanding some answers. It would make the story that I would have to file within 20 minutes much easier to write when I knew what I was looking for.
At my time with the Herald Sun, I was also given the opportunity to attend AFL matches with high profile journalists and sit in the press box where I would watch how they went about planning and then writing their match reviews. Their stories would need to be filed within minute of the game finishing so it was very interesting to see how they do it. I once spent a night in at the MCG in the press box with Emma Quayle (from The Age) where I was her shadow for the night. The match was going one way right up until the last quarter, and it was amazing to see how Emma so calmly started all over again.
You’ve interned with some big media organisations – take us through your application process.
What I have found is that each opportunity I have been given has always led me to another, so I’m lucky that I started when I was 15 years old. You’ve got to be so determined and willing to put yourself out there. It is so hard to make it in this industry and nothing is going to come easily so I’ve never ever been afraid to ask for help. Although you may feel like you’re ‘annoying’ by continually ringing or emailing people but you’d be surprised how many people or organisations admire your desire for hard work.
I will always begin internship applications with an email, and then a follow up phone call if I haven’t heard back from them. I will always send the email with my updated media CV attached and a cover letter in the same document. My cover letter explains what I am currently doing at uni and what my career goals are. In the actual body of the email, I write a very brief description of what I do and what I’m after and I always explain that I’d be happy to have even one day of work experience if given the opportunity. Then I inform them that my CV is attached and the rest is up to them.
What is the most important thing that you learnt while interning that you didn’t learn from the classroom?
I think my internships and placements have really given me the confidence required to work in the media field. Absolutely nothing is better that on the job experience. I was never taught at uni how to hold my head high, walk into an AFL club with 15 male journalists and interupt the likes of Mark Robinson & Julian de Stoop to make sure Chris Judd answered my question in a press conference. Or how to tactically pick your spot and hold strong as other journalists try to push their way to the front.
My first press conference was outside North Melbourne Football Club and as head coach Brad Scott walked out to get in position, I casually headed towards him with the other journo’s around me. It wasn’t until I was literally blocked out by people standing directly infront of me, or having microphones held infront of my face so I could no longer see anything, that I realised I need to claim by spot in order to be good at these. You’re not going to be seen or heard standing at the back of the pack.
The pressure of deadlines is also something you learn that no book or teacher can. When you need to ‘break’ news and you’re in a situation where there may be up to five to 10 other news outlets there wanting to do the same you have to be accurate and quick.
And lastly, networking. No one can teach you how important networking within the media acutally is. Branching out, meeting people, introducing yourself and getting your name out there is something you have to do.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been continually dedicating my time to interning since a young age so honestly I’m taking my foot off the pedal for the time being after my four months at Cricket Australia over summer and going into my final year of uni. I’m lucky that I have built my resume to what it is today so I’m happy with it for now. In saying that, I have volunteered to write casually for the VFL when needed and am currently looking into the Wallabies v Lions Tour in June this year.
I’d love to be able to gain some on camera experience somewhere enabling me to create a showreel for future job opportunities. This type of work is extremely hard to find but I’m determined to do so.
Sophie shares her advice
I think I’ve mentioned it 10 times already but you have to network. Don’t be afraid to contact people or ask for help. Showing you have the passion and dedication is the best trait you can have to begin with and then doing something to make sure they remember you.
I always say what Emma Quayle told me when I asked her this exact question, “know your stuff.”
There would be nothing worse than being given the opportunity to intern and then having no idea about the sport or what is going on. Research and be prepared to learn and don’t think you’re already an expert. You might love footy and have followed it since you were four years old but be prepared to learn to accept criticism.
You can follow Sophie on Twitter.
My Interning Life is holding an event!
The event is all about connecting and networking with other interns and professionals from the media industry.
Come along and share your experiences and advice – we’d love to meet you!
When: 15th April 2013 6:30pm – 9pm
Where: The Honey Bar 345 Clarendon St South Melbourne, Melbourne.
(Cnr Park St & Clarendon) Street parking is available after 6pm.
please RSVP to secure your attendance*A small door entry prize will be up for grabs for one lucky intern* Follow the MIL team on Twitter and Instagram: @myinterninglife Editor Aubrey: @aubreyhamlett Contributors: Remi @remikins & Isobel @isobelloschiavo
Hope to see you all there!
x MIL Aubrey, Remi & Isobel
Today’s featured intern is journalism student, Olivia Clarke. Olivia has just completed a media advisor internship at the City of Port Phillip council.
Olivia’s enthusiasm for interning while at university is exemplary. She already has another internship lined up this month at the Harvard World Model UN and has her sights set on gaining more experience in the future.
Olivia Clarke, I’m a journalism student at Monash University, just starting my second year. I have also just finished my first internship.
Although I am passionate about radio, news and current affairs, I am also really interested in learning and gaining experience in many different media careers. Therefore when the opportunity came up to do a two week internship at the City of Port Phillip Council as a media adviser, I eagerly applied to not only gain experience in local government media and communication, but to also gain experience in working in an open-office corporate setting.
The excitement about my first internship certainly didn’t wane over the two weeks where I spent my time chasing up different staff for media enquiries, working on media releases and organising media and photo opportunities for different councillors.
There was also plenty of media management that was part of the role. Of course, when you are dealing with local government, politics can sometimes make the management of the council’s public image harder to deal with. So I also learnt how the media adviser went about briefings with the Mayor and other councillors, as well as local journalists, who source a lot of their information and story ideas from the local government and issues around the community.
It was interesting gaining an insight into the other side of the media role, where you are the one organising the sources and photo opportunities for the journalists, rather than being the journalist chasing up the story, which I have spent a whole year learning about through my degree.
I also spent plenty of time researching and developing media strategies for certain projects. Because it was for a council, I didn’t feel like I was being a spin doctor, I felt like it was more about transparently promoting the services and events that the council was offering to the local community.
I also learnt how to compose professional tweets, which was a really different way of communication for me, in terms of how I use Twitter, which I really don’t use as much as I should in the first place. But the whole experience of watching my work being published online for the community to read was quite an experience.
But with published work, mistakes can also happen. I made quite a big one during my internship. Although everything worked out for the best in the end, it made me realise I have to be really careful with anything I write or publish online. However my supervisor was really understanding and just told me not to stress over it too remember for next time, which is a good way to think about it.
For the future, I’ve got another internship at the Harvard World Model UN which I am about to embark on when the conference begins on March 18. I also have heaps of ideas for future internships lined up (news coordinator at a community radio station, working for communications/PR in another company) but I think the main focus should be my university studies for now. University is just around the corner again.
Advice for future interns? Use your family/friends/co-workers/anyone you know to see if you can get some work experience. That’s how I got my first internship, through a family member. You will never know what kind of experience you can pick up and the people you can meet if you don’t ask the people you know. Of course, be friendly and work hard at your internship. Network with your supervisors and other staff you meet so you can have more opportunities in the future as well.