Free advice from respected journalists, a free lunch, and free membership to the MEAA yesterday: absolutely priceless. Puns aside (and cliché’s condemned), the speakers at yesterday’s Media Pass Student Industry Day gave an inspiring insight into the profession of Journalism.
To call Journalism a profession is in fact misleading. As one of The Courier-Mail’s political reporters Patrick Lion said, “Journalism is not just a job, it’s an obsession.” For anyone who is not even a little obsessed with the wonderful world of news-gathering, the most repeated advice to come out of yesterday’s forum was probably daunting. To get your foot in the door you need to be willing to start at the very bottom. Patrick Lion certainly lived that advice, beginning as an advertorial writer for The Courier-Mail in 2003. And look where he is now.
But to have that willingness means to have a good attitude; as they say ‘attitude is everything’, especially when it comes to trying to impress the heroes of the newsroom. (If you think they are heroes only because they will be writing your pay cheque, it’s time for an attitude check.)
Hedley Thomas of The Australian was another distinguished speaker to give his precious time up yesterday. Diligent. Relentless. Analytical. Cynical. Remember those four qualities. They are certainly the qualities Thomas would have needed while uncovering the unforgiveable misconduct of Dr Jayant Patel. Although Thomas is considered an “Investigative Journalist”, he humbled the title. “All journalists should strive be “investigative”, even when doing the smaller stories.” It’s about going deeper into the story, no matter how trivial it may seem. Perhaps a better word for obsession is passion.
ABC’S Bernard Bowen, The Courier-Mail’s Craig Johnstone, and Seven’s Rob Raschke came to answer the crucial questions on what they look for in a potential employee: good attitude; the right skills; publication; acceptance of criticism; professionalism; the ability to ask great questions; a clean Facebook page; and an eagerness to learn. Oh, and you also need to be able to write a good story. (But hopefully that is common knowledge.)
One thing that I might add is, as aspiring journo’s we should consider every unpaid moment and effort, every full stop and comma (correctly placed) as an investment towards our future.