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.