By Rebecca Yeo:
On the 29th of August, journalism students from Western Sydney University were given the opportunity to hear the journey of ex-student Chloe-Amanda Bailey.
Chloe-Amanda graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in Journalism, and currently works as a reporter for Channel Seven News. She advised students to “Look for stories everywhere because there is a story everywhere”, using one of her first published articles as an example. She also added “There’s a story in everything, you just got to find out what the angle is.”
During Chloe’s free time while studying at Western Sydney University she pursued her interest in wakeboarding and made the Liquid Force Australia team. She used this as an advantage by writing stories for magazines aimed at the wakeboard industry. This became an example for her to tell students to “Find your niche.”
LinkedIn has become another great tool for networking, as journalism students are able to connect and gain advice on finding stories from past students who are now working in that field. A quick LinkedIn search can provide students with other past and present Western Sydney University Students.
A past Western Sydney University Journalism student found through LinkedIn is Allie Coyne, who completed her Bachelor’s Degree in 2009, and is now the editor of ITnews. She said in an email that attending Western Sydney University “equipped me with practical skills that ensured I was ready to leap straight into a journalism job”. She also found the requirements in later units “particularly valuable”.
Allie’s approach to finding and writing stories has to do with the relationships, as she said “The best stories come from relationships”. “Make trusted connections with those to ensure you are always at the centre of what’s going on. People talk. You want to ensure they are talking to you” she advised.
Allie commented on the “tighter margins and shorter deadlines” in journalism, which has resulted in employers having “less time to spend on training new recruits”. Therefore the advice she provided for current students starting out in the journalism field is to “make sure you are honing your skills while you’re looking for a job”. She also added “it’s an incredibly tough market, so you’ll need to prove your passion and dedication to rise to the top of the pack.”
Jake McCallum is also a recent graduate from Western Sydney University who can be found through LinkedIn. Jake completed his Bachelor of Communications, majoring in journalism, just last year in 2015, and is currently a presenter at NewsCorp. While discussing his time at Western Sydney University, he said in a email “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of my teachers, but only because they pushed me above and beyond to work harder and do more than any other pupil in the class”. He used his time at TVS as an example, as it began by a teacher encouraging him to complete an internship there in his second year.
As to Jake’s approach to finding and writing stories, he said “Stories come to journalists in a range of ways, some are straight forward and easy to understand but others require dedication and the thrill of the chase”. His advice for current students looking to pursue a career in the journalism field was to “Apply for every internship, every work experience and every job you can.” He added “Ask stupid questions, some of the worst questions I have asked have resulted in amazing stories”