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 vfl.com.au 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: Jasmine Ceni

This week’s featured intern is Jasmine Ceni. Jasmine is an avid sports fan, focusing on all different types of sport all year round. 

Jasmine recently accepted an interning position with the Melbourne Victory Women’s team. Today she shares how she scored her internship by connecting with her future employer using professional networking site, LinkedIn. 

My Interning Life

The Basics

Jasmine Ceni, 20 years old. Currently completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Public Relations at Deakin University.

Dream job?

Sports Journalist

How did you find out about your internship with W-League? 

I followed the communications officer of the Melbourne Victory W-League team on LinkedIn and he approached me with an interning opportunity which I took without hesitation. I always wanted to get into sports journalism however wasnt too sure about the W-League at first (I hadn’t watched a women’s football game ever before and wasnt sure what to expect) however I’m glad I took the opportunity. Women’s football has grown on me and will hopefully gain some more coverage in the future.

Is LinkedIn a useful tool for connecting with prospective employers and internships? 

Definitely. Within a week of joining LinkedIn I was offered the internship, I don’t believe I would have found the opportunity any other way.

Tell us about what you do on game days

I control The Football Sack’s Twitter account throughout the game – list teams, yellow and red cards, goals, substitutions and interact with fans as much as I can. I also complete a match report at the conclusion of the game and can (if I needed to) interview players and coaches at the end of the game.

How are you juggling your internship, uni and casual work? 

I work three days during the week, studying for my university trimester subjects on my days off and, intern on the weekend at Melbourne home games. It is a fair bit to juggle however I can’t complain too much as I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to do something I enjoy. As I only report on Melbourne home games there are weekends where I don’t have to intern which also makes it a little easier to catch up on uni work.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Not too much spare time on my hands at the moment but I’m a huge sports fan so usually watch or attend sporting games, spend time at the beach or catch up with friends.

Jasmine shares her advice:
Take any opportunity that comes your way because you’ll never know what you’ll get out of it. Join as many social networking sites as you can to build relationships with potential employers or workmates. Hard work always pays off in the end.

You can follow Jasmine and the Melbourne Victory W-League team on Twitter. You can also check out Jasmine’s articles on The Football Sack


Intern Profile: Georgina Scambler

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.

The Basics

Georgina Scambler, 33, in my final year studying a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) at Griffith University via Open Universities Australia.

Dream job?

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.

My internships

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.


Intern Profile: Chanel Bearder

Chanel Bearder is a Journalism graduate with a passion for Science Journalism. She is currently interning at The Conversation and has also worked for the Great Southern Press.

Today Chanel shares her experiences on My Interning Life.

The Basics 

Chanel Bearder, 24-years-old, completed a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) at Monash University in 2011.

Dream job? 

Ideally I’d like to be an “all rounder” journalist for a major news outlet but I want my career to focus on science communication. Reporting news in science for ABC Science would be the dream.

Tell us about your internship at The Conversation

I had been following The Conversation shortly after its conception as I was on the hunt for an Australian outlet that could provide me with comprehensive and analytical news in science.

The concept of The Conversation is unique and in my opinion exactly what Australian media needs. It appeals to experts in the fields of science, politics and business and gives them a voice to educate and inform the general public.

The Conversation also provides a job board for those interested in working at universities, which I checked regularly. I came across an advertisement for an Editorial Intern for The Conversation’s winter intern intake. I didn’t think twice – I immediately sent my application to their External Relations Manager.

I was fortunate to be contacted on the day of application for an interview. During the interview I praised the publication (not just to get me in but because I genuinely think the publication is fantastic!) and discussed what particular stories I thought had been done covered exceptionally well during the year as opposed to other media outlets and demonstrated my interest in my preferred editorial (Science and Technology).

From that point on I was offered a position on the Science and Technology news desk, which undoubtedly was the happiest three months of my young career so far.

What do you do on a weekly/daily basis at The Conversation? 

The Conversation helps train its interns to perform as a supporting editor and researcher. On a daily basis I’d arrive at the office at about 8:30am to co-ordinate the social media for the stories published in the morning.

At 9:00am I’d meet with the other section editors as well as the managing editors to pitch original ideas for news stories as well as discuss what I would be working on for the day.

From that point on, I’d use my day to contact potential writers for my news stories, edit articles that I had commissioned and write news briefs on any breaking news in science from universities.  It was always a pleasure (and an ego-boost) to see quite a few of my original ideas published on SBS.

The Conversation gave me the opportunity to work on extensive coverage of The London 2012 Olympics and help prepare and execute a video series developed between SBS and The Conversation. Additionally, I was invited by my editors to accompany them to both the iAwards and the L’Oreal Women in Science Awards and meet people within the science industry.

You’ve been a journalist for Great Southern Press, tell us about that experience

I commenced paid work as a journalist for Great Southern Press at the start of my final semester of university until late May 2012. Great Southern Press publishes magazines aimed at those working in the engineering industry.

All starting journalists for the company work on the publication Pipeline Plant and Offshore, researching the latest news in the pipeline and gas industry. This involved commencing work at 7:00am to research then write between four to seven short hard news stories for a deadline of 12pm. These stories would then be published online. My online journalism class at Monash certainly came in handy when it came to meeting this deadline!

Shortly after, I was given the chance to write feature stories for the company’s other magazines EcoGen, Solar Australia and Sustainability and Infrastructure, as well as dabble in their marketing and sales department.

What you learnt at the Great Southern Press help you at your internship at The Conversation? 

Great Southern Press and The Conversation are entirely different publications as well as work environments. Great Southern Press was an excellent stepping-stone to help propel me towards a desired career. It helped me realise that I was interested in science communication and The Conversation nurtured that interest.

Great Southern Press also helped me understand what is expected and how to conduct myself in a professional environment.

The Conversation took me to the next level of my journalism career and introduced me to some of the most talent journalists in the country. The internship gave me the opportunity to work with them and enhance my confidence and ability to develop my ideas, write and edit.

Not once did any editor hesitate to take a coffee break (or table tennis break) with me and discuss potential career strategies and paths.

Is Twitter a useful tool for a student like yourself? 

Twitter has been a fantastic way to communicate and promote my work at The Conversation. Additionally, it has been a valuable resource for researching breaking news in science nationally and internationally.

Do you have a blog? 

My blog is still in progress and I am using it as a platform demonstrate my ability as a journalist but as well as my interest in science journalism.

The blog aims to be dedicated to science research, in all fields, from Australian Universities.

What do you do in your spare time? 

I haven’t had much spare time in quite a while!

I’m a devoted lover of 60s and 70s music and try to fill a morning if I can with a few Beatles tunes. I also try to get a few laughs into my day and make sure I make time to watch an episode of a comedy with my dad. I always make time to watch a St Kilda match during football season!

I privately tutor English to secondary school students for a hot meal or piano lessons.

Do you find it hard juggling interning and having a life? 

There were times my paid work clashed with university work, which only rarely became an issue. Always prioritise university!

Weekends are a savior when you’re working a nine-to-five job. I tried to see my friends as often as I could during weekends and used weeknights to spend time with my family. It turned out to be the perfect way to keep good relationships for myself. And of course the occasional message here and there to make sure they knew you were thinking of them.

Chanel shares her advice…

When you’re at the office working with your editors try and take the opportunity to get to know them. Take them out for a coffee, sit down and ask them about their career and interests.

I was extremely lucky to work with my editors who by my standards had an exceptional taste in music (both Beatles fans so I hit the jackpot!) and humour. Find common ground with them and show them that not only are you a capable and competent colleague but that you’re enjoyable to work with.

If there are other interns at the office make friends them, add them on Facebook and get together for a drink. Remember that they are in the same position as you and they are trying to get into the same industry and will potentially become a great contact for the future.

And finally, don’t mistreat your time as an intern because you are not getting paid. Treat it like a real job. If you have the time, volunteer yourself for more shifts and make the most of your time there. All experience is good experience.

 Monash senior lecturer in journalism Bill Birnbauer visited The Conversation once and gave me some of the best advice I’ve received about journalism: “It’s not where you start that matters, it’s where you end up.” Every internship and job is a stepping-stone towards what you want.

You can follow Chanel and The Conversation on Twitter. 


My Interning Life: Aubrey Hamlett

Hi Everyone!

How time flies – I can remember reading about the ABC Cadetship at this same time last year. I hope that all the journalism graduates of 2012 apply for the position.

I won’t be applying for the cadetship. “But you are majoring in JOURNALISM! WHY NOT?!”

Yep that’s correct but it doesn’t mean that I want to be a hard news journalist on the beat somewhere in regional Australia working for the ABC. Don’t get me wrong, working at the ABC is a huge deal but I always saw myself working for a glossy magazine.

Many people ask me why I major in journalism. Well it’s simple. I’m doing a Bachelor of  Media Studies and we had to pick one major out of three steams; journalism, video and television or radio. I knew I didn’t want to do radio, and knew that journalism was the most logical option.

However I initially began a video and television major, but that stream was all about making your own short films or docos. Not the making the news, current affairs type programs. So I switched to journalism.

A lot of people also ask me what I want to do when I grow up. Well, that’s not so simple. I’m a piscean, I tend to change my mind – a lot.

Last year when I started this blog I was featuring a lot of graduates and tried to picture how it would feel to only have a few weeks to go with my university degree.

Well I’m now in that position and it’s week seven at my university which means I only have six weeks left. It’s a bit of a scary thought to be actually finishing my university degree after it’s taken so long to get here. I don’t mean that it’s taken me three years, I have been at La Trobe since mid 2008. So I think I’m ready to get my degree, I’m just scared of the unknown that is 2013.

A year ago I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d have been a paid PR Account Manager, gone to Cosmopolitan magazine, interned with Universal Music Australia (and turned down comp Lady Gaga tickets) and I certainly wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be going into September hoping that Melbourne Storm make it into the NRL Grand Final.

2012 started off well and then became a bit rocky in the middle and now, it’s all better again. I’ve definitely had a stressful winter trying to juggle interning, paid work and organizing my sister’s Hen’s Night. Oh and trying to catch up with friends and family.

I’ve enjoyed my time at Melbourne Storm immensely. I’m now in charge of the live chat via our website on Game Days, something I thought I would never get to do. I barely knew anything about rugby league six months ago, and now I know a lot more. My boss, Dan, is actually leading the way in the digital media area. He utilizes every social media possible, I’m definitely learning from the best.

The best thing that I have done this year was send Dan an email on the fly asking for a position. I think that I’ve finally found something that I enjoy and realistically picture myself doing. I’ve had to give up on a teenage dream (cue Katy Perry singing in my head) of being a features writer for Cosmo and working in the magazine industry.

I am still interested in PR but I am leaning towards a career in communcations/ digtial/ media type roles within the sports industry.

I wouldn’t have come to this decision without 18 months straight of interning. It’s crucial to get out there and experience the real world and see what the work place is really like.

An internship or work experience is essential for students wanting to score a full time job in the industry once they’ve graduated. The experiences you have will make your application stand out to a prospective employer than a student with none at all.

So here’s my advice if you’re a budding journalist, writer, radio producer, filmmaker, PR spin doctor…or whatever you damned well want to be because its your life and, you are entitled to change your mind a few times!

1. Create a blog and regularly post on it and use this as your own online profile. Get published (online magazine upstart edited by LTU students is a great start), get on Twitter – it will be your best networking tool to connect with your chosen industry.

2. Be Pro-active. Find an internship or work experience before your final year at university. Keep knocking on that door until somebody says yes, even if it means going to a regional newspaper or radio station. You’ll thank yourself in the end, make contacts in the industry and ultimately decide if its what you want a career in.

While I’d be perfectly happy to be an intern for a little while longer, I do want to start my full time (paid!) career. I’ve had varied experiences and hopefully this will help me stand out when I apply for jobs.

So here it is folks, my goal for 2013 is to get a job working in the media department of a sports organization. I know that this won’t be an easy task and it may take me a while.

I was recently told that once I’ve put in the ground work, serendipity helps everything fall into place.

So let’s pray for some serendipity.

Wish me luck x MIL x


Intern Profile: Jonathan Demos

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 

The Basics

Jonathan Demos 21, in my final semester studying a Bachelor of Journalism at La Trobe University.

Dream job? 

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.

Tell us how you scored both of your internships as Match Reporter for the Box Hill Hawks (VFL) and Melbourne Storm (RLC)?

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

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.

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter and read his match reports for the Box Hill Hawks and Melbourne Storm.   

Professional Writing Advice: Eden Cox

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.