Georgina Scambler is 33-years-old, she’s a wife and a mum to two children…she’s also an intern.
Today on My Interning Life aspiring journalist Georgina writes in her own words about interning, family and finally chasing your dreams.
Ultimate dream job would be an international food writer—I’d be a younger, slightly less cynical Anthony Bourdain travelling and writing about my experiences sampling the best and the strangest cuisine the world has to offer. More realistic dream job: journalist for a community newspaper. I love telling local stories, giving a voice to people and organisations that tend to be ignored by the big dailies.
I recently completed two weeks at Leader Newspapers in Preston, and absolutely loved the experience. I didn’t really know what to expect, I thought perhaps I’d be making coffees and doing the little briefs that nobody else wanted to deal with. On my second day I was in West Melbourne covering an animal rights protest at the ALP headquarters, then back in the office with my copy filed and online less than two hours later.
It was such a thrill, and reinforced for me that a news journalist is what I’m meant to be, and worth fighting for despite the industry’s bleak outlook. This week I’m starting another internship at Docklands News, which I’ll do one day a week.
I’m also a subeditor for the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s Essence magazine, and I contribute to Mum’s Lounge website.
A different kind of intern
My experience is probably quite different from the average intern. I’m older, I’ve done my entire degree remotely/online, and I am a full time mother of two small children, so that presents some unique challenges when it comes to finding time for study and interning.
As a remote student the opportunities to network and make important industry contacts have been limited, so I’ve had to look for different ways to create my own opportunities. As the mother of young children, the Australian Breastfeeding Association was a perfect place for me to volunteer and start getting real experience, and I’ve now been a subeditor for Essence magazine for the past year.
I was then fortunate to meet Nick Richardson, group news editor of Leader Newspapers, at a MediaPass Student Industry Day in March. I basically begged him for a tour of the HWT building, and from there was offered work experience. I tell all my online study buddies to take any opportunity they can to get out and meet people or get some kind of journalism experience. It’s not always easy for me to arrange babysitters and juggle commitments to attend student days or do an internship, but I know it’s what I have to do if I’m to have any chance of a career, so I make it work.
Following my dream
I remember wanting to be a journalist when I was in Grade 6, but somehow I got distracted from this dream as I finished high school. After a fairly disastrous time at university studying Science/Law, I eventually deferred, never went back, and spent the next eight years working in various jobs including customer service, property management and real estate administration.
Five of those years were spent living and working in the UK and US with my now husband. When we returned to Australia and had our first baby, I decided the time was right for me to go back and have a crack at journalism, which had always been niggling at the back of my mind. There have been a few times I’ve wondered if it was a big mistake and thought the pressures of parenting and study were too much for me, but I love journalism, and even if I don’t end up with my dream job I will have no regrets.
I realise a 30-something graduate might not be what some employers are looking for, but I believe I have unique qualities and experience that contribute to my skills as a journalist, and I’m confident there will be a place for me somewhere.
You can follow Georgina on Twitter.
Today’s profiled intern is aspiring sports journalist, Jonathan Demos.
He is the current match reporter for The Box Hill Hawks (VFL) and intern/match reporter for Melbourne Storm (RLC). Jonathan applied for his position at the Hawks after seeing it re-tweeted on My Interning Life.
Jonathan shares his advice on My Interning Life
Jonathan Demos 21, in my final semester studying a Bachelor of Journalism at La Trobe University.
My dream job would have to be any sort of role, whether it be in journalism or digital media, which would allow me to gain an opportunity to go and cover an international sporting event. I think getting a chance to go and cover an event like the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics would be unbelievable.
You love sport – what’s your all time favourite sport?
I would probably have to say AFL. Footy would have to be what I am most passionate about, especially when I was growing up. However now, I’m interested in most sports.
With the Box Hill internship, I actually saw it re-tweeted by the My Interning Life account on Twitter. From there, after reading about the role I applied, had an interview with the General Manager for Box Hill and was then lucky enough to be offered a role match reporting for Box Hill.
With Melbourne Storm it was a little different. Over summer I emailed a few places, Storm being one, my resume just saying I was interested in gaining some work experience. To be honest I didn’t think much of it would come of it. A month later I received a phone call from Storm’s Digital Media Manager asking if I would be interested in match reporting for their website. Since then I have also been fortunate enough to spend some time mid-week in the offices at Storm.
It all has been a fantastic opportunity. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people through my experiences and have learnt heaps from them.
Explain what you do on a weekly basis at the Hawks and Storm
For Box Hill, apart from the match preview I write during the week, my other tasks are all on game day. I report on the match for Box Hill and Hawthorn’s websites and interview the coach after the game. As well as this I update Box Hill’s Facebook and Twitter with scores and generally just what is going on.
At Storm when I spend a day there mid-week I usually a few weekly articles for the website, for example a wrap of each NRL round. Other than that, during the week it really depends what is happening in that particular week. Usually there will be a press conference or video to shoot I can help out with and report on. On game days, basically it’s pretty similar to Box Hill. I just report on the match and then go to the press conference following the match to see what the coaches say (links are to Jonathan’s match reports).
How have you juggled your internships, university and having a social life?
It has actually worked out okay. Uni holidays have taken up a fair chunk of the middle of the season. Also, in the VFL, each team has four byes in the season and with the NRL each team has three byes. So there have not been too many weekends where I’ve had to cover two matches.
Do you think one or two internships is enough? Will you do more? Why/ why not?
That’s a good question. I guess it is always good to get more than one perspective on something. Having said that it probably really depends on how much you are getting out of the internship. I guess there is probably not a lot of point in doing four or five internships just for the sake of having on your resume if your not enjoying it and learning.
Is Twitter a useful tool for media students like yourself – how has it helped you?
Apart from seeing the Box Hill internship as I wrote above, there probably haven’t really been too many other cases where it has specifically helped me. But it’s definitely a good tool to see what people in the media and journalism industry are writing and thinking about.
Jonathan gives his advice
You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and read his match reports for the Box Hill Hawks and Melbourne Storm.
If you get a chance to gain any experience then take it. The worst thing that could happen is that you find that you actually don’t like something – and that’s probably not such a bad thing.
Asking questions and trying to learn as much as you can once you are doing an internship would probably be the biggest thing. Most people will only be too happy to help.
I wouldn’t have found my internship at Milk PR without Eden. She referred me on to Milk after seeing an ad on facebook for an intern vacancy. I’m returning the favour and offering some amazing insight for aspiring writers and magazine editors. Eden was ‘thrown in the deep end’ when she landed a promotion as Editor of two magazines at Executive Media. Although Eden didn’t do an internship while at university, she worked hard at Executive Media for three years before landing her job as Editor.
The Basics Eden Cox, 26, Editor at Executive Media. I am currently the editor of two magazines at Executive Media: Australian Resources and Investment (a quarterly journal for mining and investment professionals), and Clubs and Pubs Manager (a brand new quarterly magazine for hospitality venue managers).
Qualifications Bachelor of Arts (Majors in Creative Writing and History), Postgraduate Diploma of Editing and Communications, Melbourne University.
Dream Job? I very much enjoy being a magazine editor, but, as is the case for most people, my dream job is not the one I have! Someday I would love to be able to support myself as a freelance children’s book illustrator. That’s a long way off, but it’s nice to have goals.
What do you do on a daily basis?
That’s a very big question for me! Working at a relatively small, independent publishing company, I’m involved in almost every aspect of magazine production. My tasks include writing, proofreading, researching, editing, deciding on topics to be covered in each edition, assigning articles to contributors, assisting the advertising department with sales concepts, liaising with printers and giving the final sign-off before press, marketing and distribution, writing media kits, and image-sourcing and other aesthetic considerations.
I also attend the launch of each edition of Australian Resources and Investment, where I meet with readers and potential contributors, which is a definite perk, as I’m treated to a wonderful three-course lunch at the Melbourne Town Hall on a regular basis!
Along with managing two of my own publications from start to finish, I also assist our other in-house editor, Gemma Peckham, with the production of her publications. We work as a team, checking each other’s work and ensuring any advertising is up to scratch. When I have time, I write travel articles for publication in another of the company’s magazines, Caravanning Australia. This sometimes involves working outside of business hours, but I like to keep up my writing skills and grow my portfolio of published work.
What kind of work experience have you had?
At the age of 26, I have already had a pretty varied working life, I think.
When I was 20 and studying arts at uni, I landed a casual job that I loved. My employer was an author writing a novel for teenagers, and he needed a young person’s advice on plot development, characterisation and dialogue. Each week he’d send me a chapter to read and edit, which taught me a lot about writing and how to change someone else’s work without offending them – a fine art indeed! It set me on my path to editing and when he finished his book, I immediately started applying for part-time entry level jobs in publishing.
It was about four months before I was successful (a stressful time, as I wasn’t sure how to deal with being unemployed!), landing a job as a part-time proofreader and office assistant at Executive Media. Over about three years, I waded through the mind-numbing task of proofreading ads and reception duties, and moved on to checking editorial, writing feature articles, and assisting with page layouts. Eventually an opportunity came up for a change when one of the editors went on maternity leave and I was given temporary control of her publication, Mothers Matter, a free lifestyle newspaper for parents.
This proved a great opportunity to discover what being an editor is all about; being a low-revenue, mass market publication, it wasn’t the end of the world when I made a mistake – and making mistakes really is the best way to learn!
I was completing my Postgraduate Diploma of Editing and Communications at this stage, learning the nitty gritty of grammar and structure that most people don’t even notice. After I had graduated, another great opportunity arose; Executive Media’s head editor resigned and I was thrown in the deep end! After a very brief hand-over I was given Australian Resources and Investment to manage, with lots of support and assistance from my managers and co-workers.
Every two months, after working so hard on every stage of the magazine, I still get butterflies and cold sweats when the latest edition is delivered straight off the press, expecting to see a big fat spelling mistake or formatting issue! Mostly that’s just paranoia, luckily!
What advice can you offer to publishing industry hopefuls…
Get your foot in the door whichever way you can. You might start at the very bottom of the ladder, like I did, or do work experience or an internship. It’s a competitive industry, so don’t expect to be climbing that ladder fast – it’s more like climbing a rope than a ladder! I was a proofreader/coffee fetcher/photocopier/general help girl for three years at the same company before I made it up the next rung, but it was worth it.
Once you’re in, work hard; show your employer that you love the work and are willing to put effort in. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or assistance; the best workplaces are team-oriented, and your willingness to get it right will be appreciated. Importantly, never say no to an opportunity. Even if you don’t think you’re good enough, give it a go and you’re likely to discover that you’re more capable than you thought!
Look out for Eden’s Professional Writing Advice on My Interning Life tomorrow.
I wrote this post last year on my personal blog, Aubrey Out Of The Box. Today I will embark on a week’s work experience with my favourite magazine, Cosmopolitan. I am now 23, still have every issue I’ve ever bought and am excited about the week ahead. As you will read below, I have been passionate about Cosmo for years. It was always my dream to work in magazines.
In the past year and a half or so, I’ve lost sight of that dream. I focussed on my journalism subjects at university and became more interested in sports like AFL and Rugby.
I also fell into the world of PR and am heading down a path which I now feel I am being pushed down. PR was something I was always intrigued by, but sometimes I feel as though I am living someone else’s dream. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy PR but I’m not entirely sure whether I want a career in it.
If this blog has taught me anything it is to try different fields in media and see if you really enjoy it and want to pursue it.
This week I have decided is the make or break. If I enjoy the magazine world I will pursue it further when I’m back in Melbourne. I realize how lucky I am to have had a range of intern experiences in PR, Sports and now at Cosmopolitan. I need to get back on track and think about what I really want and not what someone else wants me to do.
I recently read the story behind one of my favourite songs, ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ by Bob Dylan and this quote resonated with me in so many ways.
“Truly to know yourself and find fulfillment, you must face the world alone, mould your future and your philosophy from your own experiences, without relying on the comforts of favor or patronage; instead, one has to push off the shore, head out into uncharted waters with “no direction home.”” – Andy Grill ‘Bob Dylan: The Stories Behind the Songs 1962-1969.’
Wish me luck xo
BY AUBREY HAMLETT
July 21st 2011
Today I will dedicate my blog to a magazine who has been in my life for 7 years.
Magazine, no more like a friend.
I have religiously bought Cosmopolitan magazine at the start of every month for the past 7 years. I have never had a subscription, but I get a kick out of remembering it’s the start of the month and making my way to my local super market to purchase the new issue.
I have kept every issue and just the other week my mother suggested I throw them out. I replied with a stern “no.” I should have told her that what she spoke of was blasphemy.
Yes girls and boys, I was reading Cosmo when Mia Freedman was editor.
I bought my first issue of Cosmo in September 2004. My sister told me to do it. I remember hesitating but bought it anyway and my Mum was with my Dad in the UK so what my sister says, goes. The ‘oral sex’ headline gained a mass amount of media scrutiny and was subsequently covered up with a sticker while on sale for the rest of the month.
While reading Cosmo I also fell in love with Zoe Foster’s beauty column. Although I will admit that I am not as into beauty as some people (eg. Zoe) I really enjoyed reading about when she cut her hair to a shoulder length bob and then when she got hair extensions. Zoe left Cosmo for a couple of years (I was devastated) but sometimes a girl can’t resist and she has returned as Cosmo’s own Carrie Bradshaw dishing up relationship advice each month. Zoe’s column is always helpful and entertaining.
I don’t know what it is that makes me excited about Cosmo. Some issues are great, hit the mark and satisfy my every need. With articles on celebrities, relationships for the single girls, career and topless men is always a bonus. Some issues are just a bit…blah or contain too much couplely stuff (sorry loved up couple girls). edit – how funny, I am now one of those loved up couple girls!
My only complaint is when Cosmo does a ‘footy’ spread, there are never enough AFL players. I’d love a photo shoot with just AFL players. I recently tweeted acting editor, Jessica Parry asking for a feature on Rugby. I turns out that they already had a photoshoot in the works and I might get to see my favourite Rebels player, Nick Phipps in the mag. Ah dreamy. edit – Nick Phipps was in Cosmo with his shirt off. His picture is now on my wall. Ah, dreamy.
Seven years on I can’t imagine not buying Cosmo every month. I wonder if there is an age when I can’t buy it?35? 40? 64? 92?
Maybe if I feel I’m too old, I can always steal my daughter’s copy.
Cherie Donnellan is a journalist at the Geelong Independent newspaper. They cover three titles; the Geelong Independent, Bellarine Independent and the Surf Coast Independent. Cherie covers Geelong and Surf Coast news and entertainment.
Cherie shares her experience at Dolly and gives her advice to journalism students (and magazine obsessed girls like me).
Cherie Donnellan, 22, Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) Deakin University, graduated October 2011.
To be the editor of a women’s magazine (Cosmo or Cleo would be a preference).
Previous interning experiences, where & for how long?
Geelong Advertiser for one week during my first year of uni. I got a front page byline and was pretty stoked. Melbourne Weekly (Fairfax Community Network) I worked across eight of the Weekly titles for two weeks during my final year. I had quite a few pieces published. I loved working in the lifestyle department and I was inspired by all of the writers there. Lastly, I did work experience at Dolly magazine for one week in February 2012. So much fun!
Why did you choose to do work experience at Dolly Magazine?
I chose Dolly because I devotedly read every issue from the ages of 13-16. I identified with the writers so much. My favourite writers were Jessica Parry and Caelia Corse. Dolly was my bible and the writers helped shape my decision to become a writer.
How did you apply for Dolly? Did you know somebody, were you referred?
I emailed Edwina Carr, who was the editorial coordinator at the time, in November last year and she organised a place for me. During that time Danielle Pinkus landed the role of editorial Coordinator and I was worried for a while when I hadn’t heard from someone. Luckily Dani was on top of it and emailed me to confirm my placement. I was so excited when she said I still had the placement.
What was your first day like at Dolly?
I loved every second of it. Walking into the office I had goosebumps. The first thing you see when you walk in are giant letters of DOLLY in hot pink glitter. Even though I’d never been to the offices before, I felt like I was home. All the girls were very friendly, very smiley and very perky. The greatest moment was meeting the fashion editor Lotta Backlund who complimented me on my blazer. She said it was “so on trend.” I could have died right then and been the happiest person in the world. Being surrounded by clothes, beauty products and books didn’t suck either.
What did you do on a daily basis?
My first task every day was to check news websites and gossip websites for the latest updates on teen-related issues. Other than that, every day was different. My duties varied from researching things for stories, assisting the fashion team on photoshoots or sorting all the signed off pages for the latest issue.
Did you get to do something at Dolly that you did not expect to do?
I think sometimes people make assumptions about what internships are. People either assume that the only thing you do is get coffee, or else they expect that they will run the place by the end of the week (honestly I have met interns who believe they are the editor!). Neither is the correct assumption. To me, internships are a test of humility. You have to be willing to do coffee runs without griping about it. On the other hand, you have to be prepared to come up with a pitch for an article that will be the cover story. If you can perfect that balance, you will be noticed and you are more likely to land a paying job with that company.
Tell me about your blog Label Me Happy
I originally started my blog in 2008 as Label Me Happy but I found it hard to maintain. So I gave it up. Less than I year later I relaunched it with a fresh perspective.
My original concept was to write posts about stereotypes and how they can either positively or negatively impact a person. The hook was that the label (stereotype) I wanted to be given was ‘happy’. I struggled to maintain a specific theme per post and felt I had boxed myself in as a writer.
So now Label Me Happy is my outlet to address any topic from relationships to political debates. While I write for the twenty-something audience, I have found that people of all ages still ask the same questions and face the same challenges.
Has twitter helped you connect with fellow students and prospective employers?
I adore Twitter. I think it’s a fantastic platform to connect with people all over the world. It’s amazing to find someone from America or the UK who thinks the same way you do, or even better when they challenge the way you think and get you to consider a perspective you wouldn’t have seen before.
Twitter has definitely helped my blog readership. My blog has quite a big UK and USA audience. I don’t think I could have achieved that without twitter.
I have had many people who are just starting a degree in journalism ask me what I recommend they do. My first two suggestions are internships and twitter.
Cherie gives her advice
You can follow Cherie on Twitter and read her blog Label Me Happy.
Get your name out there by doing as many internships as you can. I only did three internships before I got a job in journalism but I think I should have done more.
Internships are the best way to make connections in the journalism industry and to show your potential as a journalist. Being in a newsroom or magazine office shows you how hard journalists work to track down stories or create the perfect photoshoot for a magazine fashion spread.
You have to constantly research and be the one who knows the inside scoop before anyone else.
If you do land an internship, be proactive. Do EVERYTHING that staff ask of you and then be ready to offer suggestions for a story if you’re called upon. Even if someone has the idea but you have way to create a dynamic story angle, speak up. Editors will be impressed with your initiative. Trust me, they do notice.
Also, ask as many questions as you need to and ask for feedback on any writing you do. Showing that you are willing to learn everything there is to know about the company you’re interning for will prove that you want to work in the industry.
The key in journalism is passion. Jobs are scarce; being proactive and being willing to work hard for a paying job is what will make you stand out.