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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
You can also check out Peter’s Rising Star articles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rochelle Barlett is passionate about fashion PR and music. She has volunteered at the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival and has assisted Melbourne label Dizingof.
When an opportunity came up for an internship with MWC Media, with clients predominantely in healthcare, education and consumer goods, Rochelle decided to apply despite wanting to work in Fashion PR.
Sometimes internships won’t always be in your preferred field (like Fashion PR) but Rochelle has made the most of her time at MWC Media and shares her experiences today on My Interning Life.
Rochelle Bartlett, 20 years old. Studying a Bachelor of Professional Communication at Monash University, Berwick majoring in PR. I will be graduating in June 2013.
To work for leading Australian Fashion PR agency, Ann Morrison PR. I also wish to pursue a career in music doing gigs on the side and releasing an EP/Album in the future.
Tell us about your internship at MWC Media?
During semester one 2012, my unit coordinator sent me an email regarding ‘internship opportunities at MWC Media‘. Knowing MWC was not a fashion PR and events based agency had me contemplating whether I should apply for the position. However, reading through the email my unit coordinator sent me it sounded like a great opportunity to work with a diverse team of media industry professionals.
I perused through the MWC website, instantly I was drawn to the Blue September 2011 campaign video. It looked interesting, fun-something different. So, I applied.
I was anxiously waiting for a phone call. I heard nothing after a week and a half, so I picked up the phone and followed up on my application. By the end of that week, I was offered an internship position and I was excited. I could not wait to begin my journey with the agency.
I commenced my internship with MWC Media at the start of July, 2012.
During my time at MWC I have been assisting with their major health campaign, Blue September: a campaign creating awareness about men’s cancers. So far I have monitored social media platforms, drafted an email for Everyday Hero fundraisers, brainstormed ideas for events and ways to ‘get blue’, researched Blue September ambassadors, retrieved contacts for media lists and added to our bank of stories to be released in the upcoming months. Although I dread the 5.30am wake-up, every day brings something different-you’re always challenged with something new.
What do you hope to achieve while interning at MWC Media (as it is not a fashion based PR)?
Although MWC is not a fashion PR agency, I still believe this is a great opportunity to learn about PR and build my skills from here on. I am fortunate to be assisting with their major health campaign Blue September, which will give me an insight to what hard work, dedication and organisation goes into preparing for a campaign. I can take these skills and apply them to the career I wish to endeavour in the future.
I believe any experience is a great opportunity to learn; whether it be something you like or love. You have to be positive and think about what you can gain from it.
You’ve volunteered at a few Fashion festivals – tell us about those experiences
In 2010 I was a direct volunteer for LMFF. This gave me insight into the fashion industry; how much time, organisation and dedication is put into producing a successful fashion event. I remember assisting with a LMFF 2010 runway show and being overwhelmed by how many faces I had recognised from studying VCE Textiles and reading fashion-lifestyle magazines: Dion Lee, Gwendolyn, Samantha Harris, Lucy McIntosh and Ruby Rose we’re amongst the familiar faces.
I was offered a position to volunteer for Melbourne Spring Fashion Festival 2010 and unfortunately had to turn it down due to an overload of uni study.
This year I was back volunteering for LMFF. I was thrilled to be a part of the team again. I knew what was expected of a volunteer, I built more confidence in myself and I had reunited with previous volunteers from 2010.
Applying for LMFF is not a ‘walk in the park’. Over 500 people applied in 2010 and this year, LMFF received over 1000 applications. Having previous or current experience in fashion, design, textiles or events will give you an advantage and get you one step closer to an interview. If you are interested in applying for LMFF 2013 start checking out their website at the end of 2012. They only give you around one month to apply, it’s better to get in early.
Do you believe it’s not what you know but who you know in this industry?
Having good connections is helpful when you want to get your foot in the door. However, I believe that having a certificate or degree as a basis will always give you an advantage; it demonstrates your expertise. It is easier to network and build connections when you know what you want and know what you’re good at. You can use these elements to ‘sell’ yourself. You never know when you will bump into the right person at the right time.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I have spare time, I love to work on my music and listen to my favourite artists for inspiration when writing lyrics.
I also love to peruse through fashion websites, online stores, magazines and my own Fashion: Australian and New Zealand Designers book, by Mitchell Oakley Smith-to see what’s on trend for up coming seasons and to read up on local designers.
Is one internship enough?
One internship is not enough. This is my first internship, but I am looking at doing a couple more before I graduate and will be along the lines of fashion, lifestyle PR. The more experience you have, the better. This is why I volunteer as well, it will help me later on when I need it most.
Rochelle shares her advice
Know what you’re good at and use those skills; know where you want to be and network.
It’s beneficial for you, and your future employers when you know what you want and have an idea of what career you wish to endeavour. This way you won’t waste their time, or your own.
Get as much experience as you can whilst studying, this will benefit you and may even get you a permanent position.
Get on the social-media-bandwagon. If you obtain knowledge in this area, it’s a massive advantage. A lot of organisations use social media to promote their business, brand, services etc. If you haven’t got to it already, do so. I only started my Twitter account one month ago and already I have learnt so much. It opens you up to another world, and again, you can connect with like minded people and build your personal contact list.
You can follow Rochelle on Twitter.
Want to volunteer at LMFF? Volunteer applications open in October each year. Visit the Event Gallery website eventgallery.com.au to register your interest.