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: 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: Brittany Shanahan

Brittany Shanahan is an aspiring sports journalist. Trying to crack into the sporting world dominated by her male counter parts, Brittany has been successful by interning for several Australian sports organisations.

Brittany, 19, has recently completed a nine-month internship with Cricket Victoria. She is currently doing work experience on a weekly basis for AFL Victoria’s VFL website and Leader Newspaper.

“As the footy season was coming to a close, I jumped on Google and found that Cricket Victoria were after a media intern over the summer” Brittany explains.

Brittany found out about the Cricket Victoria internship with only two days left to apply. She sent in her resume and based on her application, Brittany was invited to Cricket Victoria for an interview.

Brittany felt as though she had “blown it” after her interview but was delighted to find she was successful and started interning with Cricket Victoria in November last year.

Brittany’s work at Cricket Victoria, involved organizing the media coverage for the Victorian Bushrangers. Brittany also wrote articles, recorded press conferences and even attended Cricket games.

“I was the designated photographer at major event such as the Bushrangers Twenty20 and one day games, and the Gala Awards. The most rewarding part was being able to stand on the MCG in the middle of play and take photos,” says Brittany.

She was also required to publish articles and photos on the Victorian Bushrangers website and Facebook pages.

Brittany is well on her way to reaching her goal as becoming a sports journalist. She started her Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) course at Swinburne University in 2010 and decided to create an account for online sports publication, The Roar, where she submits articles of her own opinion.

Brittany also has had her footy match reports published on the Northern Football League (NFL) website and footy record. Her current internship with the VFL involves her attending and reporting on games across Victoria.

Her additional work with the Leader Newspapers also publishes Brittany’s match reports on the Herald Sun’s Local Footy website.

Brittany also has her own sports blog, which contains all her published work and features exclusive to her blog. She has found that her industry experience has improved her sports journalism skills.

“One thing I have learnt so far in my course is that it’s pivotal to have a blog to showcase all your work and capabilities to potential employers” says Brittany.

Brittany says interning has helped her understand how to work in an office and has become more confident with small things like answering phones, to the way she dresses.

Interning has also made Brittany think about her other career options such as marketing or PR. She has found that she isn’t confined to only doing journalism. Ideally she’d like to be a sports journalist for a leading Melbourne newspaper, along with regular sports radio and TV appearances.

Brittany’s sports industry experience is representative of her hard work and persistence to stand out from the rest. Brittany juggles university, a casual retail job, family and a boyfriend, but says the long-term benefits of interning out weigh the cost of having a huge social life.

“It’s all hard work and dedication. If you really want it, you will work hard and things will start to fall into place. It’s by no means easy but people will begin to recognize you and reward you for all your hard work”, says Brittany.

“Get out there and do as many internships/work experience as you can because it will be a huge advantage in the future. Don’t use a lack of time as an excuse because if you really want it you will put the social life aside and get your priorities straight.

You can follow Brittany on twitter. She regularly tweets live from VFL matches.
Don’t forget to check out Brittany’s sports blog and her opinion articles published on The Roar

La Trobe University is now offering a Bachelor of Journalism (Sport) because of the high demand for a specialised degree.