Talking Total Sport wants YOU!



TTSDo you have a love for sport and lifestyle?

Talking Total Sport is looking for sport and lifestyle writers to join our team to cover these hot topics.

Do you enjoy writing and want to cover some of the biggest topics in Australian sport and lifestyle?

Whether it NRL, Hockey, Swimming, AFL, Netball, Cricket, Yoga, Running or even Clean Eating tips, we want you to join our team today!

Please email your interest to with a copy of your resume and which 3 sports or lifestyle topics (in preference order) you would like to cover.

Whether you are an aspiring journalist or a qualified student, we would love to hear from you.



Intern Profile: Peter Williams

Peter Williams, a journalism student from Melbourne, has experience with many different mediums, including print, radio and online journalism. In addition to the work he does writing opinion-based articles, Peter is responsible for the Rising Stars section of Bound for Glory News.

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Establishing some great contacts and learning skills, his prior experience has helped him with both his current writing for Football Federation Victoria and co-producing the Bound for Glory radio show. With a Masters of Journalism on the cards, Peter is looking to improve his CV and hopefully make a full-time career out of Bound for Glory News. Peter tells My Interning Life how he found his passion for journalism. 

Internships are an amazing way to open doors that you never thought were possible. When I was 14 years old, I applied to work at The Leader in Cheltenham. I was told by many in the industry that it was only for 16 year olds. I didn’t hold out much hope, but within a week I had a call from the Sports Editor, Paul Amy. He loved the samples of writing I had sent and wanted me to work for a week there. It was a fantastic experience to be a part of the newsroom, something that kids my age never got to experience. I knew from that moment on, I wanted to be a journalist.

In Year 11 at the age of 16, I applied to work for a week at the Herald Sun. This time it was my careers teacher who told me that the chance of getting there was close to nil given the preference given to metropolitan students. Hailing from Mornington and far from a private school, it seemed a long shot to get in. But once again, I was pleasantly surprised that I had received an internship there for a week. While the week was enjoyable, I soon learned that the metropolitan papers were less hands on than their suburban or regional counterparts.

I finished Year 12 in 2008 and got into my first preference of Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) at Monash University. Over the three years of 2010-2012 I majored in journalism and public relations while also enjoying history and marketing. There were huge differences between the subjects, but that’s what I loved about it. For the first two years at university I guess you could say I was still sort of in limbo as to where I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to write, but had just cruised along and expected it to all sort of fall into my lap like the other placements had. I soon learned that you can’t afford to be complacent in the industry and that hard work and not necessarily ability will get you there.

Towards the end of 2011, I was still working at a regular casual job at KFC with very few contacts and writing positions. I was achieving credits and distinctions at university in my favoured writing subjects, but I guess you could say I knew what I had to do to get them but I soon realised, a mark on a piece of paper isn’t going to get you a job.

In December, 2011 my whole world changed.

I was on BigFooty, an online football forum when I noticed a thread started by another MIL member, Ben Cuzzupe. At that time, I knew him as ‘GreatBradScott’ and he was looking for student journalists and keen footy fans to start a radio program on the Student Youth Network (SYN). Given I had been waiting for some sort of opportunity to present itself, this was my chance. Despite having filled the positions, Ben allowed me to come on board as a co-producer given my experience with radio journalism at Monash. It was through this Bound for Glory group that I have met many friends.

As I started to complete my course, I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn’t going to help my hip pocket or give me a 9-5 office job, but it was going to be something I loved doing. When the Bound for Glory team through the guidance of another BFG member Matt Marsden, started a website called Bound for Glory News, I immediately wanted to become as involved as I possibly could and started up a Rising Stars program for the 2013 season.

The Rising Stars program would involve getting a team together with the help of fellow BFG members Ashleigh Craven and Jourdan Canil to help scout and report on the TAC Cup. Without the help of these guys, this would never have been possible. Rising Stars would not only provide our readers with comprehensive information about the upcoming draftees in the TAC Cup, but also provide students with the necessary experience that is needed to gain a job in the uncompromising journalism industry.

A few months in, the team have about 20 writers who are keen footy fans that love writing about our great game. Over the next two years, I have a vision to expand the Rising Stars program to state leagues around the country so Bound for Glory News can provide the most detailed information on the future stars of the AFL.

My biggest message for all those aspiring writers and journalists out there is when presented with an opportunity, grab it with both hands and don’t look back because it could just change your whole career and life.

Peter and the Bound for Glory team are continually looking for writers who love footy and are determined to make a break-through in the industry. For those who are keen to join a team that gets over 5,000 individual views a month, you can contact Peter via email: or follow him on Twitter

You can also check out Peter’s Rising Star articles

Intern Profile: Matthew Johnson

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.

265121_10152439449235099_1927682712_nThe basics 

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.

Successful Intern: Brendan Lucas

Brendan Lucas is a 21-year-old journalist who recently graduated from La Trobe University. He’s been working as an Editorial Assistant at metropolitan newspaper, The Herald Sun, since December last year but before he scored his dream job, Brendan was an intern at the newspaper.

Find out about how Brendan’s “hard-work, perserverance and  unwavering initiative” granted him the opportunity to work in an industry that has gone through many changes within the past 12 months. 

The Basics

0f719f70fda1e19afec19ee7078c4ec2Brendan Lucas, 21-years-old, completed a Bachelor of Journalism at La Trobe University last October.

Dream job?

Close to it. I could not be more grateful for my first job out of university knowing how hard it is to break into the industry at this time.

Tell us about your previous internship experiences

Some of my previous experiences have included being a reporter for AFL Victoria (2011/2012) covering the VFL for two years, writing articles, going to games, attending press conferences and interviewing players and coaches. This included publishing my written work and photography on the VFL website, in the AFL Victoria Record and Leader Newspapers.

I also worked as a commentator for and the U/14 and U/15 Division 2 Metro Championship Grand Finals. In addition, I co-hosted a drive radio program on 88.6 Plenty Valley FM for more than two years (2010-2012). I was responsible for creating the shows content and format, interviewing and presenting on air and participating in a number of outside broadcasts at festivals around Melbourne.

You interned at The Herald Sun last year, tell us about that and what you did on a daily/weekly basis

My interning involved undertaking a variety of roles. From the outset I was responsible for doing the daily vox pop, monitoring the news, assisting senior journalists, pitching and writing my own stories, answering phone calls and heading out to press conferences.

I also learnt how to use a number of new media programs which has expanded my technical skills base. Furthermore, I assisted the sports department in addition to the news department performing similar duties. In sport this included weekly article contributions to Statewide Sport – a two-page spread on country football each week.

What was it like being published for the first time with a story you wrote? 

Being published for the first time in a major newspaper such as the Herald Sun is a great rush. There is nothing like seeing your byline after all the hard work you have put in.

I remember my first story very well and have still kept a copy. It was my first day interning and I was sent out to cover the St Kilda Festival by my chief of staff. I was quite nervous having been given so much independence to find an angle and to uncover the stories of the day. However, I took it in my stride knowing I had the ability to utilise all my theoretical journalistic skills I had gathered at university by putting them into practice.

How did your job as an Editorial Assistant at The Herald Sun come about? 

It all comes from hard-work, perseverance and unwavering initiative. You have to be willing to make sacrifices if you want to make it in this industry – and that is exactly what I did.

After interning for roughly two days of the week for the majority of 2012 to the Herald Sun and after discussions with a number of people I realised there were no job openings upon finishing university. I still threw my name in the ring to be considered if anyone left. Fortunately, with a bit of right place, right time, a month after I graduated I received a call and was asked to come in for a job interview.

Before I knew it I was employed and starting work the next week in December 2012. Because most positions are internally filtered I felt my report with a number of colleagues worked to my advantage. My advice to anyone would be to keep smiling, persevering and getting to know EVERYONE; you never know what might happen.

How important is social and online media in today’s media landscape? 

Social and online media are very much intertwined these days. A lot of news now comes from mediums such as Twitter due to how the immediacy of the information is transforming the way newsrooms operate – particularly online.

Social media provides a great promotional tool for online media that can be used quite effectively as a cheap, engaging strategy. Consumer demand is also growing, which is in turn putting pressure on how these newsrooms meet their customer needs through this medium. Some even see online media, particularly online citizen journalism, as a threat to mainstream media’s diversification.

However I believe it is an important challenge in the coming years for organisations that are transitioning from print to online. They essentially have to find a way for their journalism to be financially sustainable and have unique offerings compared to its competitors, while still retaining accountability, accuracy and credibility within the pace of the news cycle. Sustainability online is the key.

What was the most important thing you learnt during your time as an intern? 

One of the most important things I learnt is to always back yourself. Sometimes you will falter, but if you show initiative to pitch stories and help out you will make the most of your opportunities. You will not if you do not try. By doing this you will learn where to draw the line in the sand.

I found an ethical issue I encountered during my time interning also provided a great learning curve for me. By communicating with other senior journalists I was able to uncover the appropriate course of action, while still leaving me with the final decision to make.

Brendan shares his advice for aspiring journalists

Advice can be hard to give, because for many young aspiring journalists the contexts are different

Generally speaking though developing an innate curiosity is the key – it is the groundwork trait for all good journalists – it highlights their hunger and willingness to succeed. Positivity and enthusiasm also go hand in hand. Without it things can seem tough when trying to envisage that ‘big break’ one day. But by showing these assets you are demonstrating to potential employers that you are willing to do anything and everything with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

People want to work with enthusiastic people – it is contagious. Initiative, perseverance and dedication are also key. Bluntly, if you do not have these you will be found out. Nothing comes without hard work. Many work experience/internship opportunities are what you make of them.

Finally, networking. This is essential for any budding journalists trying to get a foot in the door. Make friends with everyone and get to know as many people as possible. Persist with internship opportunities and gain a variety of valuable contacts that recognise your work ethic and could be sought after for potential job prospects in the future.

You can follow Brendan and The Herald Sun on Twitter. 

If you’re in Melbourne My Interning Life will be holding a catch-up event on Monday 15th of April at The Honey Bar from 6:30pm until 9pm. 

Interns and industry professionals are all welcome. Remi, Isobel and myself will all be attending and ready to answer any questions you may have. You can RSVP to the #MILevent on Eventbrite. Hope to see you there! 

Intern Profile: Olivia Clarke

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.
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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.

When Olivia’s not chasing up stories or studying, you can find her blogging here or on Twitter

5 ways to nail your internship

5 ways to nail your internship by Gabrielle Tozer

1.     Pinpoint your drive: why do you want to work in the media? Knowing this will help you to stay focused and hardworking during your internship, especially during those times when it feels like an impossible industry to crack (which is a lot – but if you work hard then it pays off, I promise.)

2.     Take initiative: don’t wait to be asked to do something during your internship. Offer help. Write something and show them. Ask what the journalists need assistance with and get involved – even if it means transcribing, photo-copying or coffee runs. You never know who’ll you meet along the way.

3.     Work hard – damn hard: this one should be obvious. If you’re bludging on Twitter/Facebook during your internship then forget about scoring any paid work later on – and yes, everyone probably saw you slacking off. The beauty of open-plan offices, eh? Knuckle down and work during your internship, after all you won’t build an impressive writing portfolio watching YouTube videos of kittens climbing into boxes.

4.     Follow up: maintain a relationship with your internship coordinator by checking in after your internship wraps up, thanking them for assistance and asking about further opportunities. Stay on their radar. Just be careful not to cross over to the borderline stalker category (daily emails or phone calls, anyone?). Send one email, and, if you haven’t heard in a week, wait – yes, trust me on that – then send a short, polite follow-up.

5.     Reflect on the good (and the bad) – then learn from it: what lessons did you learn during your internship? Sometimes the worst experiences still provide great lessons (maybe you’ve learn what not to do later in your career?). Write it all down and put it into practice at your next internship or, fingers crossed, job! Good luck.

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Gabrielle Tozer (née McMillan) is a Sydney-based magazine senior features writer and soon-to-be YA author. Her debut novel hits shelves and kindles in February 2014. When Gabrielle’s not working fulltime, she’s writing the sequel (and weeping over her laptop).
Visit and for more information on her magazine work and books, and to engage with other writers. Gabrielle’s currently cheating on her manuscript with Twitter, so come say hello via

Article: Redundancies herald a new age

This article originally appeared on the Melbourne Press Club website.

11 December 2012

Redundancies herald a new age


Like so many in Melbourne’s media, Seven News reporter Kate Osborn was shocked when people she’d admired and worked alongside began snapping up redundancies. The loss of experience was impossible to fathom. So, a few months on, how has the industry fared? And what hope remains for the future and those of us left?

They’d been inflicting death by a thousand cuts for years, but, in 2012, newspaper bosses swapped their scalpels for samurai swords, and started swinging. Reporters, photographers, designers, editors – the heart and soul of the sector – were all lopped, leaving remaining colleagues at The Age (Fairfax) and the Herald Sun (News Ltd) questioning how their organisations could possibly survive such a body blow.

With the blood-letting now largely complete, we can stop and examine the effect the recent rash of redundancies has had on journalists, and journalism in general. Too many have gone to name them individually (Crikey has tried). Suffice to say, the scale of the loss is unprecedented. In an AFL town, it’s the equivalent of teams shedding the bulk of their best and fairest, and still expecting to win premierships.  Of the scores of journalists who left the industry in August/September, many were All-Australians. Veterans. Their loss equates to hundreds, if not thousands, of years of experience.

Those who accepted redundancies had varying definitions of ‘voluntary.’ Some people were only too willing to bow out. Others would have liked to have stayed, but found the redundancy package too tempting to pass up. And then there were those who didn’t want to go, but feared if they didn’t jump this time, they’d be pushed on the next occasion, without the generous payout to cushion the fall.

Herald Sun court reporter Norrie Ross was one who regarded his redundancy package as a gift. After 23 years at the paper, and 37 in journalism, he admits he was ‘over it.’

“I’m not sorry I’ve gone,” he says. “I don’t miss it at all.”

Since finishing up, he’s happily committed himself to lunches and home improvements, with job-hunting off the agenda until January at the earliest. “I said I’d give myself a break,” he says. Even then, he can’t see himself going back to full-time reporting, particularly when there are journalists in need of jobs who are younger and not burdened by a memory of how things used to be.

At 30, former Age state political reporter Reid Sexton is at the other end of the age spectrum to Ross, but he too felt his time had come.

“I tossed and turned about it and I put my application in on the last day, in the last hour or so. I’d been thinking about trying something new for a while,” he says. “You don’t do this job for the cash, you don’t do it for the hours. I used to think it was the best job in the world, but I just wasn’t getting a buzz out of it anymore.”

After five weeks out of work, Sexton found a job as a media advisor for Beyond Blue. He believes he’s ‘hit the ground running,’ and while he won’t rule out a return to journalism one day, he’s happy to have a long and much-needed break on the other side of the fence.

Some reporters, however, found their departure from the newspaper business was only temporary. Veteran Age journalist Gary Tippet was one of the first to take a redundancy. “It was an amount of money not to be sneezed at,” he says. “There was some concern about the future of The Age, where this may be the last round of redundancies that might be available to people.”

He hit the job ads and LinkedIn looking for a fresh opportunity, and, after two months, an opportunity found him. Tippet and his equally esteemed colleague Ian Munro – who also took a redundancy – were asked to edit five suburban papers for MMP-Fairfax Community News. Dandenong is a change of scenery from Fairfax’s Media House, but Tippet is relishing the challenge, since despite a long and illustrious career, he’s never edited before. He does miss The Age though.

“You sometimes think you still work there. I loved being there up till the end. I had a fantastic time.”

Long-serving Herald Sun photographer Trevor Pinder also loved his job. But unlike Tippet, he’s no longer involved with news, and has found being disconnected from the media almost impossible to accept. He’s bought new camera gear in the hope of finding photography work, but the weeks since his September departure have been tough.

“It just blew me away not to be working in news, it absolutely gutted me. I just miss terribly being involved in news events,” he laments. He also misses the camaraderie that exists between photographers, camera crews and journalists on the road.

Pinder’s picture-taking legacy extends from his grandfather, who used emulsion on clear glass plates, to his father, who shot on negatives, to his two brothers, both newspaper photographers, and his sons, both television cameramen. He’d have happily died on the job as an old man, but amid sweeping changes to News Ltd’s photographic department, he felt he should make the decision to leave before it was made for him.

“I was just stunned. First The Age started crumbling. When the cards started to fall [at the Herald Sun], I just couldn’t believe that it was happening. I guess it’s progress.”

Whether that progress is positive is up for debate.

Monash University journalism lecturer, and former Age reporter, Peter Gregory believes staffing cuts are already taking their toll. He says his classes have started collating the grammatical and typographical errors which now routinely pop up in the metropolitan dailies. He stresses the need for his students to be ‘ready to go’ once they reach a newsroom, because there may not be enough experienced older hands to provide checks and balances.

“They don’t have to be major things, but the idea with credibility in journalism is you get the little things right, because then you’ll get the big things right.”

The lack of mentors is also worrying.

“Experienced people are really good when you’re young to ask questions. People who’ve done it before have their own informal pathways, and that’s what you lose. It takes time to get that experience back.”

Trevor Pinder believes the ‘immense pressure to cover everything’ means important stories will now go untold. In 2005, he took the photograph which proved Mr Baldy was living secretly in suburbia, and led to the sex pervert being taken off the streets. But he fears a reduction in photographers will mean similarly time-consuming jobs will become a luxury of the past. On the road, Pinder was legendary for digging up stories by taking time to befriend people at crime scenes or natural disaster hotspots. He would often leave a job having donated his personal tarpaulin to someone with a hole in their roof or winched someone out of a bog – things a photographer can’t do if he’s being hurried from a flood, to court, then a police press conference.

Reid Sexton says the same goes for journalists.

“No one can stand there and say we will do more with fewer reporters. I can’t see how the standard of journalism we’ve enjoyed in the past can continue. If there are fewer reporters, getting paid less money, then the quality of journalism will be lost, and that’s a tragedy.”

He cites the success of Age investigative team Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker as an example of what can be achieved when reporters aren’t being run ragged.

“I’m afraid there will be a time when no one can afford to pay someone to not produce a story for a month,” he says.

Norrie Ross believes a push towards nationalisation has also contributed to a decline in standards.

“There’s an awful lot that looks to me like padding in the papers these days,” he says. And he’s disappointed that readers don’t revolt.

“I can’t think of any business, making cars or computers, that you’re asking the public to buy a product that’s inferior to the one on sale ten years ago.”

Gary Tippet believes quality has been sacrificed as the focus has shifted from the papers to the internet.

“One of the worries is as they go online, they go for a hits-based method and quality falls. I don’t think The Age website has reflected the masthead for years.”

Peter Gregory is concerned that as websites become even more hungry for content, there’ll be limited opportunities for online reporters to get out of the office. That means fewer opportunities to get a feel for a story, to mix with rival reporters, and to make contacts. Norrie Ross says being desk-bound will also lead to faster burnout.

“It used to be a great job. But a lot of the benefits there used to be in journalism are going, and a lot of the downsides are still there, which is a shame.

“Unless someone thinks they’re going to be an absolute star, I wouldn’t be advising anyone to be a journalist.”

So, with the perks of journalism quickly disappearing, will anyone want to do the job in the future? Will today’s young reporters remain in the game as long as the many veterans fillings the redundancy ranks?

Gary Tippet is optimistic, although with a son aspiring to enter the industry, he admits he has to be.

“It’s going to be harder,” he concedes. But adds: “It’s a fantastic life and I think people will want to stick around.”

He believes newspapers will be forced to continue their investment in investigative reporters like Baker and McKenzie.

“They’re marquee journalists and they sell journalism in whatever form it comes.”

Reid Sexton agrees. “I still think there’ll always be room for people who can break yarns,” he says. “The industry will never be the same again. I hope it will recover, though, and the young reporters will stick around.”

As for the jobs to which they stick, Peter Gregory expects the industry will continue to adapt. He’s already churning out student journalists who accept that rather than devoting their working life to one media outlet, their careers will be spread across a variety of large and small organisations, in a range of formats. He predicts larger operations will continue to keep governments to account, but with fewer resources to dedicate to general news gathering, niche publications will be able to pick up the slack and break stories.

As for audiences, Norrie Ross doesn’t believe they’re helping in the push to maintain standards.

“I do think that fewer people are interested in news than used to be. Across society, from richest to poorest, a lot of people used to buy a newspaper every day. With all the distractions, like Facebook and Twitter, I think people now are less interested in what’s going on in the world. I think that’s depressing that people don’t actually care.”

Gary Tippet is more hopeful.

“People want stories told, they want to know what’s going on,” he says. And it’s in their interests to campaign for quality: “You never miss your water till the well runs dry.”

If you ask newspaper executives, they’ll deny the well is drying up, although they may concede it’s being filled with a different type of water.

The sentiments contained in this article are no doubt what News Ltd CEO Kim Williams was referring to when he said there was too much ‘declinism’ in the industry. “The loss of hope. The lack of will to participate in necessary change.”

Williams told a recent gathering of the Melbourne Press Club there was more cause for hope than pessimism.

“Journalism of the future is going to be different, but it is still recognisably going to be journalism, and it is going to create jobs for those who approach it with a positive attitude and are prepared to make a place for themselves in it.”

Contrary to the views of some of those at the grassroots of his organisation, the News chief insists standards haven’t dropped. He cites the work of journalists like Peter van Onselen, Jessica Irvine, Mike Sheahan and Mark Robinson, who work across a range of media platforms and find new ways to tell stories.

“What these people are doing is proving that quality journalism is not dying – it is simply evolving into something different and I would suggest possibly better.”

Of course, it could be argued that those journalists are stars who aren’t required to spread themselves thin covering the news of the day, as the younger, or less exceptional, workhorse reporters generally are.

The Age editor Andrew Holden echoes Williams when he says reduced staffing levels haven’t harmed his newspaper.

“I don’t believe we have suffered any loss of quality in our journalism. The quality of reporting and storytelling remains as strong as ever.

“The more important change in our newsroom is not the number of staff but, in fact, the newsroom restructure that we’ve been planning for some months . We’re able to put to much better use the outstanding skills of our editorial staff to cover a broad range of news.”

Holden goes so far as to say morale on the newsroom floor has improved under the new editorial leadership team and after the structural changes. One would hope so, after the crushing lows of the peak redundancy period, when more than one reporter likened the mood in the newsroom to that of a wake.

A straw poll of Age journalists suggests they are at least getting used to the new way of doing things, even if some are yet to enjoy it. Their descriptions of morale range from ‘it’s ok’ to ‘still shocking.’

Holden says the new structure includes a greater focus on digital media. That News Ltd is also looking in that direction is no surprise, considering the grim outlook for printed newspapers worldwide.

Kim Williams believes the extinction of print media ‘is not a given’: “When it invented the iPad, Apple did not un-invent the paper.”

But he concedes technology is the way of the future. “People are now consuming more news across more devices than ever before in human history. Consumption is up and up dramatically.”

Williams believes news content should be dictated by readers. “Ultimately, it is about putting consumers at the absolute centre of what we do. In ways that are commercially sustainable,” he says.

“These consumer preferences are obviously going to have profound implications as to how we in the media organise resources and construct and manage our infrastructure for sustainable financial outcomes.”

This notion is, of course, alarming to reporters on the coal face who deal with the general public, or to anyone who follows @heraldsunreader on Twitter and has read AKTIFMAG’s Top 20 Famous Thinkers Quoting Herald Sun Readers.

Those consumers are obviously extreme examples. But one need only look at daily lists of most-read online articles to see a trend towards overtly tabloid, entertainment, or sex-related stories. Kim Williams insists this does not imply a ‘dumbing down’ of the profession.

“The challenge, of course, is to adjust, get product offerings right, get cost structures right, attract new customers and create revenue streams that can sustain great journalism.”

As for attracting people to the industry to create that great journalism, Williams doesn’t share the scepticism of Norrie Ross and Reid Sexton.

“My advice to the aspiring journalist would have been the opposite: ‘Have a go, because there’s plenty of energetic life in the media industry yet.’

“Sure, the media and journalism will look different. But that doesn’t mean it will be worse. Every generation sees a golden age in decline, when the real story is a new golden era coming into being.”

Whether we’ll be left with a golden egg or just a goose, only time will tell.