In just three years as a journalist for the Brisbane Times, 22- year-old Marissa Calligeros has already achieved so much both on the job and in her personal life.
Born and raised in Brisbane, Marissa has built up a big list of achievements dating right back to her younger years in primary school.
Discovering her love for public speaking and more specifically speech writing Marissa was able to obtain school captaincy during primary schooling which helped her win the ‘In-School Public Speaking competition in years five, six and seven.
During her later years in High School Marissa was also elected as a Prefect and participated in the Schools debating team as well as competing regularly in the Rostrum Public Speaking competition.
Marissa realized that she may pursue a career in journalism after she wrote a feature article on West End culture, which was published for the online news site the ‘Westender’ when she was in year 11.
“When I saw my work on the front page I thought, I could do this and I could get paid for this, so that was very much a light-bulb moment for me,” Marissa said.
“I definitely never considered myself a story writer, but what I did love was making observations about society and delving deeper into certain issues, investigating things and also the idea of not being stuck in the office all day. Journalism really ticked all the boxes as far as that was concerned.”
During her time at the University of Queensland studying a Bachelor of Journalism, Marissa obtained a job at the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance in her first year and through that organisation was able to attend seminars for budding-journalists.
“I went along to one of these seminars and there was a panel of second and third year students and they said anyone who is serious about Journalism has got to start doing work experience and to get out there and begin to build up your portfolio.”
So, it was in her second year at Queensland University that Marissa undertook internships at Quest, ABC Radio National and Channel Ten during her holiday breaks.
During her time at ABC Radio National Marissa was able to produce a package that went to air as well as receiving the opportunity to work in the call centre for the talk-back shows.
In doing two weeks with Channel Ten, Marissa was also able to go out with a camera man and cover stories as well as having the opportunity to do reader voice over pieces.
“Doing all those work experiences did honestly give me a lot of confidence and I think it was a nice eye-opener into Journalism and what it is all about. It also really confirmed for me that this was what I wanted to do,”
“Just from those work experience week’s people learn your name and it really does help.”
Upon graduation in November of 2008 Marissa was offered a full-time job at the Brisbane Times and since then she has been been fortunate enough to go out and cover stories in New Zealand, around Brisbane and even during the thick of Cyclone Yasi in far north Queensland.
“Covering Cyclone Yasi was one of the scariest experiences, I was sitting in the four wheel drive with our camera man and I was literally bargaining with God for my life,”
“Despite how scary it was outside it was a great experience, I had the laptop on my lap and was doing a running commentary of what it was like to be in the Cyclone while we were stationed in Proserpine.”
Marissa is really enjoying her career at the Brisbane Times and looks forward to developing more as a Journalist.
Marissa’s advice to budding journalists is to “become an internship-hound.”